Gym Staff Stopping Me Deadlifting

My gym is in a leisure centre attached to a school on the second floor. Ever since I’ve started working with weights between 450-500lb, every time I deadlift I’m getting told off by staff. Other guys lifting these sorts of weights have complained to a regional manager about it but are pushed back with “it’s not a strength and conditioning gym”, and perhaps worst of all doesn’t allow people to bring in their own crash mats let alone purchasing some for everyone to use.

“Join a new gym” is of course the best answer. The problem is I live in a small town and the closest one would mean traveling 10+ miles and paying almost 3x times as much.

A little bit of good news in this story is powerlifting isn’t a long-term goal of mine, I just want to continue moving forward in strength and muscle. I thought the easiest solution would be to rack-pulls below the knee, but maybe that’ll be just as noisy. I also hear that damaging the pins or the bars is a potential risk. How likely is that?

I already do a few RDL sets earlier in the week. Maybe hit them twice a week in different rep ranges? Maybe rotate with good mornings? I don’t know. I’m just ranting really because the situation has pissed me off.

Would love to hear some of your guys experiences be it getting around the noise issue, or dropping the deadlifts out of your program.

IDK man, you ever see videos of people yelling during their sets? Thats me. I’m the guy whose yelling… can’t relate.

I did this when I moved over to Jordan Peter’s stuff and just use RDLs. The only thing I’ve noticed is that I’m looking bigger and no longer feel like my vertebrae are trying to fist-bump weekly.

If pulling 4-5 plates off rubberized flooring is loud, how loud do you think slamming it on metal pins would be? Yes, it is damaging to both the rack and bar.

I’ve often found that these gyms have a more hardcore crowd, which makes me work harder and make more gains. Get what you pay for, I guess.

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Do RDL one day and SLDL the other.

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I guess my question is are you dropping the weights? From a bodybuilding perspective you get more benefit from lowering the weights slowly. If you could deadlift into the 500’s without excess noise would it still be a problem?

Andrew is correct about rack pulls if you are dropping the weight (which I still think is poor form if trying to build muscle.) If you are not rack pulling 700lbs, the noise of dropping the weights over represents your power. And rack pulls can be done quietly if you try.

I, for one, never made noise (screams, grunts, etc.) but was all mental focus when deadlifting, especially in meets.

My guess at if you quit dropping the weight, you wouldn’t need to drop the deadlift.

This is most likely to occur if one side hits before the other. Most all the bent bars that I have seen were due to one side hitting before the other. And I worked out where there were more bent bars than straight bars. In fact, finding a straight bar could be a challenge.

I have seen where a bar with 405lbs on it was left in the rack overnight that yielded. Another bent bar in the gym.

The YMCA that I worked out in the very early 1970’s had been the training gym (2nd floor) for Joe Dube (Super Heavyweight Olympic lifter.) He had bent many of the bars, but he was dropping 400+ pounds from overhead.


Yeah, I’d fully expect I’d be able to put more effort into the rest of my workout on that day, avoid the little deadlift “hangover” and have a more balanced training economy for hypertrophy. It would be a big shift of mindset though as I love lifting the heavy weight.

The racks in my gym actually have a thick rubbery type coating so the smash of metal isn’t as much of an issue… but it’d still probably be loud.

Definitely the kind of thing I’m considering.

Controlled to around knee level and then let gravity “help” the rest of the way. I feel like controlling that kind of weight deeper than that could be asking for trouble. It’s what I’ve always read/been taught also. Dropping the weight to allow me to feel safe in controlling the full eccentric might defeat the point of why I’m doing the exercise to the point I have to question if it’s worth it from a hypertrophy/strength view and a fatigue view. I have thought about Dorian-type deadlifts though. I’d have to lighten the weight on that too.

Following on from the point above, I feel like I could put a heavy rack pull down gentler for two reasons; less range from top to bottom meaning less momentum through gravity, and easier to control in terms of safety because of that.

I just played along with what was asked of me.

I understand the concern about the noise. Why yes, of course I will be happy to put some extra squares of horse stall mats on top of the horse stall mats.


Maybe they are just jealous an tryin to steal your joy.


This makes absolutely no sense to me. I should mention that no one taught me how to deadlift. I found that a controlled negative was the most efficient bar path. When I did the positive I wanted to reverse the path to lift the most efficient, therefore the most weight.

Unlike the clean and snatch there is no plyometrics involved in the descent of the deadlift. With the deadlift you should be able to control the entire descent to the ground, and as slow as you wish every inch of the way.

I seems illogical that any portion of the negative is more dangerous than the positive. Plus why miss the strength benefit of controlled negative in the first 50% of the movement. If you’re stronger at the start, the bar will be moving faster when you get to your sticking point.


I rack pull 500 without damaging anything - you just gotta place it down like @RT_Nomad


I don’t contest any of that, it’s just not how I was taught or how seemingly the majority of coaches or lifters do it. “Controlled drop” has always been the method I’ve seen, but not to the point of lowering the bar so slowly as for the descent not to make a decent amount of noise. I believe the ever popular Starting Strength deadlift method was always to just below the knee and then let gravity help the rest of the way. Alan Thrall is probably the first video a lot of people these days watch on deadlift form when starting out and he does exactly the same from what I recall. These reccomendations are in line with 99% of what I see.

I remember a C.Thib article where he talked about doing slower eccentrics with good logic (on my phone so not gonna seek it out), but I remember thinking at the time that unless you know form is impeccable, it’s not worth playing around with until extremely confident - even if you are stronger on the eccentric. That fatigue would carry over into the rest of your set giving you less reps on the concentric part of the movement, the part of the lift relevant to competition. I made a point here a long while ago about an easier/safer eccentric being another benefit of the trap bar due to the elimination of the knees being a factor.

People will often cite the RDL being much better for hypertrophy over the conventional not just because of the more lengthed hinge muscles, but because of an increased focus on the eccentric. This is because the eccentric on the conventional is very rarely considered a part of the main movement. Be that right or wrong. I actually agree with you implying you’re missing 50% of the all-around potential of the lift.

@TrainForPain That’s the direction I want to go towards. Where do you pull from? I’d guess just below the knee to midshin? I believe I would feel comfortable doing that as I have always descended fairly slowly into that range of motion anyway.

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Ok. I’ll do it.

Respect your surroundings and go somewhere else.

I had the gym manager (a passive aggressive little prick) said to me about the banging, he said “if your strong enough to lift the weight, you should be strong enough to not drop it”. I said “listen little man, its called a deadLIFT… not deadLOWER, secondly…i take the slam outtve the bar, thirdy…id use the deadlift platform if i could, but it usually has wee dolls in hot pants using it to preform endless sets of hip thrusts!!”

Last week, i got told not to use chalk, i said "god forbid the cleaners you pay have something to actually clean, i normally see them standing about doing fuck all…so no, i wont stop using chalk!!

Fuck em…its a gym, not a library or church. If they banned me ive plenty other options.


Yeah I usually use the lowest pin, which is about midshin for me. It’s right about where I miss that first pull that is quad and am right into hip extension

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Sounds like you’re dealing with some real Gains goblins. What a shame!

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