T Nation

Gym Protocol / Public Gym Workouts

Question #1: How long have you been working out in gyms that cater to the public?

Question #2: Do you think a gym should allow members to block another gym member who has a desire to use the same machine (in this case a hack squat machine) for the sole purpose of keeping their heart rate up? Or, is blocking a machine for any reason at all permissable? Or put another way, if someone comes up to you and asks, “Hey do you mind if I work in with you on this machine?” do you think it’s proper, do you think it’s justified to respond with, “No, you can’t work in. You’ll have to wait. There are other machines you can use. Please go use another machine.” Do you condone that type of attitude? Is it right, or is it wrong?

Note that when answering question #2 I am not referring to cardio gear like a Lifecycle or a treadmill. I’m referring to weight machines; things like the bench press, the hack squat, the lat pulldown machine. Okay? Thanks.

#1 - 10 years
#2 - you can say no, but offer a brief reason as to why you need to keep the machine to yourself. Also offer to flag them down when you are done so that they get the machine next.

[quote]jisboss wrote:
#1 - 10 years
#2 - you can say no, but offer a brief reason as to why you need to keep the machine to yourself. Also offer to flag them down when you are done so that they get the machine next.[/quote]

Hi jisboss,

I think there’s a slight misunderstanding. In this scenario the person wanting to use the machine would not want it all for himself. He would want to share it with anyone who is currently using it.

As an example, lets say the gym is crowded and many of the machines are being used. You see a machine you want to use (or need to use) but 1 or 2 people (2 people who may or may not be friends) are already using it.

oh ok i had the roles reversed.

if the member truly is keeping his rest to a minimum to keep his heart rate up then having someone else come to work in could mess with his program. it takes time to swap weights and have another person do a set. the person might attempt to change weights fast and get their set done quickly, but it does interfere with the other persons routine.

I have to agree. I don’t work out in a public gym, I use military gyms, but if someone is doing timed reps, someone working in may upset them. Unless they are tying up 3 machines while they are doing it, then it seems reasonable. People like this are usually done in a fairly quickly anyway.

If i need to rest between sets i have no problem letting someone work in and help them change the weights, but if i’m doing short breaks then i tell them i’ll be done quick and will get them when i’m done.

If it is a public gym then there should be other ways to approach an exercise besides one machine…dumbbells, barbells, machines(gasp), kettleballs, bodyweight exercises, etc. Also, routines that are in specified order are great - however life tends to get in the way sometimes. It may be necessary to work out of order on occasion.

In this example - if I want to use the hack squat machine and it is occupied with someone who is not taking breaks, I would just head towards the free-weight area and grab a barbell. If there isn’t any available barbells, then I would grab a two dumbbells (I assume one can do a hacksquat with two dumbbells under the arse). If neither of these options are appealing to me, then I’ll do another lift and come back to it. If there is no other lift in my routine and I don’t want to drop my heartrate or momentum by waiting - then I’ll do another exercise that isn’t on my routine and come back to the hack machine.

As you can see…there are many options in even a crowded gym.

I have found that for the most part, those who want to work in with me are those who have to take off nearly have the weight I am using. The guys who are trying to “hit” all the machines are the ones usually pull this bit.

To them, I just point to another piece of machinery and send them on their jolly way.
The few guys that really get under my skin are the ones who load up a bar or machine on one side of the gym and go over to the other side to talk or do the cable machine and then come back to be shocked that someone else has commandeered it.