T Nation

The Gym Advice Dude


So i was at the gym yesterday deadlifting. I am running 5x3x1 for Powerlifting, and was on my 3x3x3 day. I am warming up to my first working set of 3, which is at 315 and a random guy comes up to me and says "You are a lot stronger than what you are lifting. You can do a lot more if you improve your technique."

Im thinking, "i would sure hope so, considering that 315 is 70% of 90% of my 1RM'" but i just nodded politely and said "yeah, i am just working up to my heavier sets." The gym advice dude than began to describe to me how i should be working, and proceeded to come over and attempt to show me how to deadlift on the bar i was on. His form was poor, and his advice was not something that i had a lot of respect for, though i did keep an ear open just in case. I am glad he stopped doing what he was doing to come over and lecture me, because it gave me a little extra motivation, but at what point is enough enough?

As a band of powerlifters, i am sure someone has dealt with this before and has a better response than a simple head nod and thank you dipshit.


That recently happened to me benching. Guy was spotting me kept pointing at my nipples and telling me to hit there, and I was going to low. I just thanked him and kept doing what I was doing.


My personal favourite is a gentleman I see at the gym weekly who 'knows how to squat and bench'. He has now come to me three times I think to let me know that I should squat like him... He says it's really bad technique to go below parallel and moving quickly is cheating because it doesnt put strain on the muscles... Note that I regularily squat well into the 400's and he is usually lifting 1 plate.... The same guy also came to me while benching to let me know that arching my back is cheating, even though he always lifts his ass while benching... sigh...


I honestly do not understand these types of people. I've had several people over the years approach me and try to instruct me how to do things. It annoys the shit out of me but I usually just nod and say thanks and eventually they leave.

The ABSOLUTE most annoying thing is when people are spotting me on bench and they grab the bar to help me when I don't need it. Whenever I have someone spot me now I look at them and say, "I will tell you when I need help. I don't care if the bar isn't moving UNTIL you hear me say it DO NOT touch the bar. You might as well keep your hands behind your back for most of the set."

I know it probably makes me sound like a douche but I'll be damned if I wait a whole week just to have my bench sets ruined because some guy doesn't know how to listen.


This is why I keep my mouth shut in the gym, unless specifically asked. I like to think I have some kind of inkling about what I'm doing, but I'd much rather learn than teach at this point.

For instance you might tell a guy to use strict rowing form, when his intention is to do Kroc rows, etc. Or better yet, like the above examples, you might just be plain wrong. Also some people legitimately feel that quarter/half squats are better. Fine by me, I'll be doing full squats on the other rack.


Mm, yeah, I've definitely had problems with bench spotters. Especially recently, they have their hands on the bar for the last two-ish reps the whole time. Irritating, but my own fault for not giving good spotting instructions.


I don't listen to anyone weaker than me. Arrogant and ignorant I know, but just my thoughts


Hate when people try to tell me how THEY think I should do things. Even if the advice is sound doesn't mean it relates to my current goal.

"You look like you could use more toning. You should stick to 10-12 rep counts."
"umm thanks old guy cheating on your 25lb dumbbell curls but with this current exercise I specifically planned lower reps to work on strength"


Nod and say thanks, continue with death metal. Not much else to say.


One of the best I can remember is when I was doing some rack pulls after my main lift. One of the members of the gym comes up to me along with an employee and they ask me to keep it down. I looked around before I even said anything and just said " Show me how to do the lift while keeping it down and I will do my best". They both looked at each other and just walked away.


+1 its not arrogant at all. the whole sport is about learning and getting better though time. strength follows that. eventually you get strong enough that no one says shit to you.


Actually I never realized this till now. I used to get critiqued a shitton when I would DB press with the 70's but this past year using the 90's and the 100's, no one as said anything to me. So to remedy gym advice dude situation, get stronger lol


Love this one.

The easiest and most polite way of moving on that I have found is to simply say "I am glad that you have found a way that works for you, I want to give this routine/exercise (meaning the thing you are doing) a go and see how how I respond, thanks."

If you want to go a bit more technical you might say something like "I am following the advice found in Starting Strength (or quote some other source) and I am happy with the results I am getting with this method right now"

If somebody just can't get the hint and you want to essentially draw a line in the sand you can say "unless you can do more weight than I am doing with the same form I am not really interested in your opinion", the person will likely not talk to you again but there will be that weird friction in the gym for a while (which you might enjoy).

Finally if you just want to blow somebody's mind say "you know, I totally agree with you, but I am following what this douche-bag on T-Nation, Tim Henriques, says because I want to hurt myself to prove that he is wrong." See what they say to that. Odds are they will nod briefly and quickly walk away backwards, mumbling something nonsensical in the process.

The good news is that when you get really strong, or if you start training with a group of similar minded individuals, pretty much no one approaches you then.

Good luck with it


Commercial gym problems?

I kinda agree with matsm.


You can always appear less approachable if you feel that someone is about to mess up your workout. There are many ways to passively scare off folk that feel like you've asked for advice when you did not.

I am all up for a thread to list those methods :wink:


OK, so dilemma. I dont want to be that person, but I see someone doing squats where their knees are traveling forward and then they put on their chopat strap to finish their leg workout. Do I tell them that if they squatted correctly they might not have the knee pain? So far, I haven't found time to interrupt my workout.


I don't understand this problem. Maybe the people in DC are just so passive and awful that they don't have an opinion one way or another on working out, but I have never once in my training career had someone come up to me and offer me unsolicited advice. Not once.

I am a pretty big guy naturally at 6'5, but I have a hard time believing it is just because I'm so big and awesome nobody bothers...maybe I just look like a pissed off motherfucker nobody wants to talk to?

That's ok with me!


It depends...are you jacked? Do you look like you work out? Do you have a resepctable squat?

If the answers to these 3 questions is at least "SOMEWHAT", then you are fully authorized to help someone out. The best approach to keep someone from getting pissed is to start small talk and follow up with "do you mind if I offer a couple tips I've found help me out?" Then go into whatever corrections you want...everyone wins in this scenario

If the answer to either of these 3 questions is at all debatable, then dont detract from your workout and keep lifting until you look like you spend some time in the gym....


mean mug...with a massive beard


See, that's my rule. If you are bigger or stronger than me, then i'll listen to whatever you have to say even if I disagree. If you're my strength level, i'll listen to your perspective. If you're weaker than me and smaller than me, i'll be polite until you start derailing my workout for minutes on end or acting like a douche, and then I'll tell you straight to shut the hell up until you're as strong as I am. I don't have time to waste.

Naturally I am not talking about ppl asking questions, or even giving a passing comment with my mention of derailing my workout, I am talking about the know-it-all. I won't have any mercy whatsoever if you're being that rude to me. On the other hand, that never really happens anymore because i've paid my dues. So just get stronger :wink: