How Do You Handle Corrective Criticism?

Have you ever been approached by someone in the gym to critique what you were doing?

How did you or how would you react ?

My story,

I was in the gym yesterday doing barbell back squats (3x8x245). After I finished my second
set a trainer who works there approached me to inform me that I had an external rotation issue.

He explained to me what was going on and immediately instructed me on doing side band walks to help fire up glute/hamstring activation so that I could get them more involved in
my squat form. He approached me rather cautiously but I assured him his comments were welcome and most appreciated.

Now, for the record, I know some trainers and/or gym rats have much to be desired but this guy
is 6’2/ 255 lbs. / 8% body fat . He obviously knows what he is doing and saying.

So…my question is…how do you take to criticism in the gym ?

Firstly if a trainer gives you advice on your squat that is more involved than stance correction and ‘neutral spine’ etc, then they are likely to be half decent conditioning coaches regardless of their weight and body fat percentile.

To be able to coach the squat correctly doesn’t require that you are a certain BMI, as this is NOT a bodybuilding requirement but one of a sports conditioning trainer.

Anyway… I haven’t been approached myself, but i have made the mistake of approaching someone when i wasn’t working. I simply do not offer assistance to people unless they ask now (unless i am working somewhere for that reason - which is rare these days), as simply put - people hate being told what to do or that they are wrong.

Clearly as a professional i dont approach someone saying they are wrong, but no matter how you fluff something up, that IS the gist of it and too many have ego’s that dont take kindly to constructive criticism.

I personally would listen intently and take the lesson i needed with both hands. It is a freebie and chances are if someone is confident enough to advise a total stranger they probably have something worth listening to at least :wink:


If it’s useful, apply it. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s fishing for more business, though.

I got it one time from my boss who is a pt because I was doing dumbbell rows wrong(ish). I was rowing 100lbs DB with was rotating my back down towards the weight and rowing it back up with good muscle contraction. She came over and said “Your cheating you know” I said “What using straps?” “No your form” I was like “Ya I know”. But I didn’t want to give up the weight I was doing.

And yes I know how to properly DB row but I did get a good back contraction which in my books, counts if that’s what I’m looking for.

If it is legit I thank them and follow.

If it is not I thank them and ignore them.

If it not and they are making fun of me I crush them, burn their house down and kill their dog.