T Nation

This means war.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, my gym has shafted me and other lifters by removing the pull-up bar/dips equipment. I spoke to the manager today, asking why it wasn’t there and he replied ‘Because only 10 people used it’. He did reveal that they had a pull-up bar in storage, but the space wasn’t available. He also explained that it was a ‘struggle to keep the squat rack’ (I’d have gone mad if they’d removed that), again stating that few people used the squat rack. I didn’t verbally assault his misguided decision, but that’s what I’m going to do when I next see him.

It occurred to me, after observing the gym, that the reasons for the small number of people using the pull-up/dips bars/bench and squat rack is that the personal trainers are so poor.

Firstly, no attempt is made to introduce members to these items of equipment. They completely disregard the compound exercises like squats/deadlifts/pull-ups/dips, instead opting for isolation exercises or machine based exercises. It appears that they have all this new equipment (mostly 2nd class crap which isn’t needed), but instead of having clients use free-weight/compound exercises, they force them onto their leg adductors/leg extensions/pec decks, instead of having them do the previously mentioned ‘money’ exercises. For example, I saw a late-20’s male doing a machine bench press when the decent bench press was available. What is the point of this? I noticed the small green card lying next to him, with the instructors prescribed exercises on, so I can only assume that this is what he was told to do. Can he not lift a 20kg barbell?

Secondly, only a very small percentage of the people in the gym actually improve. I have to attribute this to the poor level of instruction they receive, and their lack of education. How difficult is it to do 1 dip or 1 pull-up? Why can’t the instructors help people to achieve the basic strength to do this? Again I have to assume that it’s because they can’t do their jobs effectively.

Thirdly, the customers receive almost no education from the instructors. I regularly see new clients being shown around the gym to do various exercises. The instructor offer very little advice, and when they do it?s commonly bad. After demonstrating a lateral raise, one instructor commented how the exercise focused on the triceps. They don?t explain anything about tempo, technique, rep selection, nothing. Even when the client is performing the exercise for the first time, the instructors sometimes focus their attention on something else, when bad form is happening right next to them. And they always have them on the same shitty program, every person. It goes: Pec deck, lat-pulldown, lateral raise, bicep curl, overhead tricep extension, lunge, leg extension, leg curl, cardio. And the customers rarely break a sweat, they make it look easy. Some woman was doing lat-pulldowns today with 15kg, for about 20 reps, and the instructor did nothing, the woman didn?t look like she was trying.

Every day I see the same shit happening. Today was an old man doing 1 arm dumbbell rows with a range of motion of about 6 inches. Then there was another woman doing half-rep lat-pulldowns. And then the jackpot walked in: Partial-rep Pete. As soon as I saw him I knew what was going to happen, it I was right. He walked straight to the bench press, knocked out a warm up set at 20kg/44lbs, began some crazy stretched, loaded the barbell up to 100kg, and proceeded to do 8 reps with a range of motion of about 3 inches, while moving his head like a chicken. Why is this shit still going on 8 months after I left? Doesn?t anyone tell them what they are doing wrong? Why don?t they start up some sort of ?Gym Police? to detain all the idiots and give them an education? The chump doing the 3inch benches is still as skinny as he was when I first joined that gym 18 months ago.

The idiot has also moved the squat rack so that there is now no mirror in-front of it, so I can?t check my form. This makes me so angry. I considering having a t-shirt made with ?Where is the pull-up bar?? on the back to wear around the gym. Hopefully I?ll gain a few more people to fight for the cause while giving this problem some publicity.

I?m going to tell all of this to the manager, he needs to be told. He says they are under-staffed, but I?ve received inside information that is good at golf. Why is he spending hours reducing his handicap when his gym is going to the dogs?! Hasn’t he noticed that the trainers are shit and so few people actually make any progress? What the fuck is he doing with his time apart from playing golf?

I?ll keep you all posted. I can?t move gyms as all the others in the area are just as bad. Shit happens but I?m determined to stop it.

Cange Gyms…Tell him then show him with your feet.

The goal of gyms like this is not to get people in shape, but to make money. In order to do so they have to make customers think that they’re getting in better shape, whether they are or not.

Are you sure that there are no better gyms in the area? Find the first big guy walking around and ask him. That might work.

Also, any chance you can make your own at home?

Don’t waste your time.

If there is another gym that is better, just go there instead.

If there isn’t anything else, there’s little point in antagonising the manager to the point that he kicks you out.

Either way you need a new gym.

On a side note, if the power rack is decent enough, you can just set the pin or the bar at the top and use whichever. The pins are generally a bit wider and give you a better grip workout. Also, I like to use the top square shaped cross beams sometimes or else do towel type pull/chinups in order to further work grip. It will only remain your week link for a short time if you work it enough.

Nathan, where is this gym, if you don’t mind me asking? Believe me, you are not alone. I would venture a guess that there are more people on this board that have similar problems than don’t.

Case in point, at the Gold’s where I work out, the trainors are exactly the same as the ones you describe. They tell you to squat in the Smith amchine because it’s easier on the knees, they tell you pulldowns are superior to any other exercise for you back, they frown upon deadlifting and they insist on people using machines for chest. It’s awful and it makes me angry, but unfortunately most of the people out there won’t come to the gym if it means they have to work hard, so they tailor workouts that way.

I’ve asked why there is no power rack, no cage, no dedicated chin up bar, no GHR, reverse hyper etc and the people who work there always have the same answers: a) nobody else asks for those, b) never heard of those or c) are you trying to get bigger? The last one was said to me when I told them I was changing gyms this summer and never coming back. The guy told me they have the best gym in the city and I must be an idiot for not agreeing.

Another reason for all the machine lifting is that clients are less likely to get hurt that way.