T Nation

Advice or shut up?

What do you guys/gals do when you see people with crappy/dangerous form, shut up or help? The staff/trainers at the gym I train at NEVER correct anyone and I often see people with really bad form, I’m not talking so much about boof head guys doing curls or 1/4 squats but normal people doing squats with semi rounded backs and the angle changing through lift etc. I normally say nothing, yesterday there were these two women doing squats as above, going 1/2 way down and getting less R.O.M. each rep, they had their drink bottles on a box that would have been perfect to do box squats on. I was tempted to say “take all the weights off use the bar only do some box squats and just focus on improving form and R.O.M. for a while”. I said nothing but was real close to it. I know its a pain when dorks give us dumb advice “don’t squat/deadlift, you’ll hurt your back/knees” but with others, say something or shut up?

Can we please stop beating a dead horse? This subject is brought up all the time, and it isn’t worth the effort to worry or even think about it. You don’t see lawyers, doctors, or any other professionals offering free advice about their areas of expertise. Unless these people ask for your help, ignore them. Besides, it is far more productive to concentrate on your own workout. These people are usually the types who need to learn the hard way, or just will never learn at all. My suggestion: Don’t sweat it; let them do their thing (regardless of how weird that “thing” is).

I understand what you are saying. It is tough to know when to say something, because many people get mad if you try to offer help, but then again they could seriously hurt themselves. I guess the best thing would be to be polite and try and give them a suggestion and they can take it or leave it, but at least you tried.

Keep it to yourself and stop worrying about what other people in the gym are doing- it will save you a lot of headaches :slight_smile:

If you’re going to give advice, ALWAYS preface it with,“Do you mind if I give you a pointer?” If they give you the “drop dead” look, then just go about your business. If they’re receptive, then go ahead and give your advice.

if you are polite and curteous, i doubt they would have been anything but thankful for some help. just becareful to avoid the ‘dumb girl’ tone (i.e. you’re a dumb girl and i have to tell you how to do that cause i’m a man) if they act at all stand offish then back off, smile and go about your business. the only thing you need to be aware of is that if you help them this time they may continue to ask you for advice. i guess you’d feel a lot worse if you were standing there watching and one of them actually hurt themselves, right?

98 % of population consists of morons, trying to help them in any way is a waste of time.

I used to work at a swanky private gym. And every-so-often, you’d get some serious lifter or bodybuilder in there who was passing through town and needed to get a session in, so they’d pay the guest fee and drop in. There was this one guy we liked to call “Killer” because everytime he did squats, he’d work up to 405 and do quarter squats while just screaming his head off like someone was trying to stab him to death. Anyway, one night, this older guy, probably late 40’s came in. The first thing I noticed was HUGE thighs on a relatively thin frame of around 5’10" and maybe 170. So this guy walked up to Killer and asked if he could work in. Killer says “Shit, sure, what do you want to start with?” And the guy said “Lemme warm up first, I don’t want to pull anything,” walked up to Killer’s 315, popped it out of the rack and did a quick set of 5 olympic style squats. He paused the last rep until his ass almost touched the floor and bounced it up a little, racked it and said,“What are YOU starting with?” That night, Killer learned how to full squat 135 for three brutal, mind-scrambling reps of pure agony from a senior national level competitive weightlifter, and we never heard a peep out of him after that. The other guy worked up “moderate” triples with 550.

So, the lesson I learned was never to give advice unless someone asked, keep my mouth shut, and live and train by example. After that OL'er dropped by that night, the power racks suddenly became packed for the next week or so and everybody wanted to learn full squats, but none the of trainers knew how to do them, so people had to start learning for themselves. All this from some guy who dropped by for a quick squat workout and never made a noise. Beautiful.

The single best reply to a post I have read in a long time.

Some interesting responses, the other eric, that would have been awesome to see, thanks for that.

I firmly believe that any advice given to someone who is not seeking advice is time wasted. This applies to all aspects of life, not just training. Even if they dont give you a look of death or tell you to fuck off, it doesnt mean they will follow your recommendations. In which case was a waste of time. Actually… the only time I gave someone advice, even though he didnt ask for it, Was a newbie. Well I’m pretty sure he was a newbie. He was about 16 years old, scrawny as fuck, and he has doing LEG PRESSES on the standing calve raise machine!!! I couldnt help it… that to me was a cry for help. Anyways Take care.

Roman is right. Smile, feel superior, and then get your mind back on your own workout.

I laugh or grin and go back to doing my workout. I don’t care what other people do. They can live and learn on their own.

I’d like hear if something really was wrong in my form. I remember when I had just started to do deadlift seriously I was thinking like “this is going great…”. Quick glance to the side mirror and I see a rounded back. Yepee…

If I have my friend with, I sometimes ask him to watch at my form. The thing is, he for example bounces the of his chest while benching. So he isn’t really reliable.

Then again, I usually don’t say anything if I see somebody using bad form. Why would I? They wouldn’t listen anyway.

I don’t give advice because I might be wrong. When I do the unusual exercises called out by the Limping program, I’m sure half the gym wants to give me advice.

Don’t say a word for 3 reasons:
a) if/when he gets injured, there’s one less person to crowd up your gym
b) if you do give advice to some moron, it’ll give him the impression that it’s OK to give advice to other people; so now you have this idiot going around sharing advice with anyone he thinks is doing something wrong
c) you’re wasting valuable squat time.