T Nation

Equipment Sharing Etiquette


Hey guys.

I'm just wondering what general etiquette is for sharing equipment. Basically, in my gym there's only one rack. My current program has me doing most of my exercises in there (as there is no bench and only 1 other barbell and that's for the oly platform). Rest periods tend to be short in between sets so it's difficult to let people work in. Generally, I'll be in the rack for quite awhile (doing Thib's wave loading program). What, in your opinion, is the proper form when someone asks to work in and it's going to negatively affect your training? I usually make the effort to accommodate others but it gets annoying if they want me to unload a few plates so they can half squat 30 kg or bench 40.



Gym etiquette is, unless you look damn near like an NPC heavy weight or some massive powerlifter, expect people to get visibly pissed at your marathon sessions on a piece of equipment.

Further, if people are asking to work in, you have either been on that equipment for a damned long time or you aren't big enough.

I'm just being real.


Fair enough, and I'm not big by any stretch of the word. I tend to have no problem with anyone who actually looks like they train working in, or sharing it or sometimes even just letting them have it; it's the people who just fuck around with 5% effort that piss me off when they stand there and stare at you. I just wish my gym would get more f'ing racks or even a bench on it's own. There are probably 5 people in total who go there who actually squat.


The reality is, if average people are fucking with you like that, they see you as average. You change most of that by making some real progress. No one asks me to work in. I mean, maybe if I am on the cable triceps press down machine because that requires just moving a pin....but no one is seeing me train chest and jumping in between sets unless they are using the same weight.

Also, your environment does have much to do with how you progress. I like my gym now. There are very serious people...and now newbs who used to be skinny who are now getting way bigger. It makes the entire mood in that place different than it would be at a gym where everyone sucks.

Bottom line, yes, you will be fucked with for taking up that much time because you don't have the overall look or presence yet to pull that off with people backing off.

So if anything, use that as motivation.


Sound advice. Time to start eating.


My advice - if you're going to do a program which involves you monopolizing a key piece of equipment that your gym only has ONE of...move to a bigger gym. Tying up the rack like that when people are clearly waiting to use it is kind of a dick move.

Speaking for myself anyway, I couldn't care less if Napolean Dynamite or Dorian Yates is hogging a key piece of equipment...if they're taking a long time and there is no other comparable equipment that I can use, I'm asking them if I can work in.


If I see someone the size of Ronnie Coleman in his prime using a piece of equipment, I am leaving him the fuck alone especially if he is in contest prep. That is real old school gym etiquette. The only variance would be if I knew him real well and was using close to the same weights he was.

People who aren't that serious about training though love to make it known how no one bigger gets any perks for it at all.

Reality is way different.


What's the big deal about changing weights? Is it that hard?




Respectfully have to disagree with this.

First off, Ronnie Coleman would likely be working out in a gym with several power-racks, and the issue of him tying one up as several gym-goers wait in line for their turn is probably not going to occur. But if for some reason Mr. Coleman was in a gym with one power rack, and he spent a ridiculous amount of time on it as I waited, I'm going to be asking him to work in. I couldn't care less if he's doing 30-rep Lithuanian dynamite squats to striate his glutes prior to a contest - if you want to monopolize a piece of equipment, either move to a bigger gym or train at home.

"Old School gym etiquette" does not exist at my gym, thankfully. I'm not going to yield shit to a bigger or stronger guy, and conversely, I wouldn't expect a smaller guy to yield to me. As long as they're both busting their ass to make progress, I'd be just as inclined to ask a 300 lb behemoth to work in as I would a 135 pound guy.


This is just my observation, so I don't know if it's universal or I just happen to randomly notice the same behavior of people in gyms around the country--

The people who normally will jump on a piece of equipment when you're using it (like if you walk away for to get a drink from fountain) are the folks who look like they don't visit the gym often. They usually don't want to wait until you're done, are afraid to ask to work in, or don't know how to do something else in the meantime. That may be a little off topic.

If I'm using both sides of the jungle gym, it's no skin off my back to let someone jump in to do pullups or if someone wants to jump in on one of the cables (if they're going to put my attachment back). They usually ask 'how many more sets do you have'. I usually offer to let them work in. It's just a pin.

I ain't unloading 10 plates per side off the leg press though. (To be fair, no one has ever asked me to work in on the leg press).



Ouch. Well, I guess I was "told". I only hope with proper machine-based training and caloric surplus to reach your levels of awesome-osity.


Proper gym etiquette is : you share.*

If your training program/style means you monopolize the power rack for an hour, then who's to say you can't ?

A proper gym should take that in consideration when stocking up. The advice to "move to a bigger gym" isn't always feasible depending on a number of factors for a lot of people so really you have to make to with what you have. If possible, choose your gym and training times wisely.

Personally, I'm always willing to share (as per proper gym etiquette) and that HAS resulted in my rest periods or training groove to be compromised. That unfortunately comes with training at a public gym.

Working in a gym myself, someone better have a decent reason to refuse to share a piece of equipment.

*This does not, however, apply to people who do shit they shouldn't be doing (i.e. curling in the rack, talking to his buddy or texting etc. in between sets), some common sense has to be applied.


LOL. It's just the truth. Why deny it? Of course most guys who aren't that big would say what you did. That is WHY you are saying it. You are saying it because you DON'T have twenty 45lbs plates on a leg press that some newb is asking you to move for each set of his one plate. You are saying it because you probably do get people asking to work in whereas I can't even remember the last time that happened.

That isn't about who is "awesome" and who isn't. It is just the freaking truth.


The one thing that annoys me is when people start a dumbbell collection in the middle of gym rush hour. No I don't mean a couple, but 4-5 pairs of DBs all sitting around their chair.

If you're going to do that, prepare to share your shit.


I don't mind people asking me to join in at a cable station. When I bench it's a different story; only when they are of the same strength level.

Something that really irritates me, is people who just take your stuff when you just turned your back.


I think you're delusional. Perhaps you envision yourself in the bygone Muscle Beach era, leisurely sunning yourself with other bodybuilders in a park, where your level of muscular development determines what space you get on the communal towel, but those days are over. Nobody with balls exceeding the size of grapes would have any qualms about asking to work-in with you. Your gym must be filled with pussies. Either that, or nobody cares to use the Cybex Isometric Rhomboid machine that you've parked yourself at for 30 minutes.



Dude, it isn't about being scared. Why would someone with sense in their head walk up to the guy benching 6 plates a side unless they were also using close to that much?

The weak guy in that scenario would be the clueless one who was inconviencing someone else.

What is delusional about that?

I posted that pic above of Ronnie. You would walk up and ask to work in? Are you fucking crazy?

Who are you fooling?

What, will you be the one removing the 40+ plates from the rack each set?

LOL Like I said....I know the types who hold that stance.


Whether or not somebody is heaving Herculean weight is completely beside the point here, although I will admit leg-press is the ONE station I would never ask to work-in on (nor have I ever been asked by anyone), as the removal and addition of plates is too big a pain in the ass.

If my gym had ONE bench press station, and some powerlifter with 600 lbs on the bar was monopolizing it for 30+ minutes, you're damned right I'm going to ask him to work in. I'll remove and reload his plates, but there is no way I'm going to pussy-foot around and waste half an hour of my time waiting to complete my workout.

Your initial point was that YOU, Professor X, never get asked by anyone for a work-in, which you attribute to "old school gym etiquette" (whatever the fuck that means), whereas "less serious types" - a group that you implied I belong to - have to deal with this inconvenience.

My point is that anyone with any balls will NOT give you preferential treatment in the gym based on your size and strength, and that in a public gym setting, you share the equipment, no matter who you are.

Do you even use the power-rack or bench press stations? The reason why nobody asks you to work in may be right there...