T Nation

Tips for a New Gym User

Hey im new to T-Nation and im only 14 but im very serious about strength training and bodybuilding. I have enjoyed many articles and forum posts on this site. Im going to join a gym soon and stop working out with the few dumbbells i have in my house. But i don’t want to look like a complete jackass and I’m also not so sure on how to use power racks, squat racks etc…

SO, what are some tips u can give me to not look like a jackass and to really work my ass off in the gym.
Whats good gym etiqutte and what should i definitely avoid doing? Thanks!

always re rack your weights
do not text in between sets
do not wear affliction t-shirts
basically dont be a d-bag

[quote]parsley wrote:

what are some tips u can give me to not look like a jackass and to really work my ass off in the gym.

read starting strength

Good gym Etiquette. Don’t be one of those assholes who bring a mobile phone into the gym with them. Few things I hate more when I’m in the gym breaking my ass and a phone goes off.

If your not sure how to use some of the equipment, either watch how some of the bigger guys use them or else ask some of those guys. Most guys serious about trianing will have no problems helping you out, I for one enjoy showing newbies the ropes, asking people who know in the gym is without doubt the best way to learn

  1. Squat racks are not for curls.
  2. For starters, do not get under any weight you are certain you can handle. If in doubt, but you wanna try it anyway, ask for a spot.
  3. What Bro said is true. The good guys are usually willing to help a newb out (just be sure to take their advice and not question everything they say).
  4. You can find several threads here on T-Nation and other forums (like bb.com) where folks talk about the most annoying gym behavior. Read them and then don’t do those things :slight_smile:

youll have many weaknesses when you first start. but you still need to work your whole body. dont go into a gym and do primarily chest and arms and expect people to take you seriously. dont be afraid to look weak. a lot of guys when they start will stick with their strong points because they are embarrassed about their weaknesses, but you need to bring up those weaknesses. whatever they may be. when you lift use the right form, id rather see a guy squat 135 ass to ground, or to parrallel then a guy who puts on five platses but only droppes his but 10 inches, which happens a lot where i lift.

and dress like your there to lift. if you go into your gym in big baggy shorts, a sleeveless compression shirt, a hat on backwars, and some lifting gloves… you just made everyone in there hate you (except the other frat boys who are dressed like you)

cool thanks. Yeah i wasn’t sure if experience lifters like to be bothered with questions about how to work the equipment or not so thanks for the heads up!

Dont curl in the squat rack, dont bench on monday, and put your shit away.

Form, form and form. Practice your form on all compound movements and don’t be afraid to ask someone who looks like they know what they’re doing for a little advice. Leave the cell phone at home. Bring a protein drink with you. Train, don’t talk.

Don’t be the guy who does nothing but bicep curls and bench press for two hours. Never wear spandex. Never wear running shorts. Never wear sunglasses. Never wear jeans (yes, I see people in the gym working out in jeans). Re-rack your weights. Bring a pocket-sized notebook and keep track of your progress. Eat right. Stretch. Do hip, knee and ankle mobility drills.

Work on scapular range of motion. Don’t bring a latte, mocha or any other espresso-based drink into the gym at any time. Don’t sing along to the music playing on your iPod.

Agree with what everyone said so far, but for me the biggest jackass in the gym is always the guy who’s not doing an exercise properly trying to show off.

So if you don’t wanna look like a total idiot, learn the exercises properly and concentrate on good form for a while since you’re saying you’re new to this. And do the main lifts like Squat, Deadlifts, Overhead Press, Bench Press, BB rows etc. In my experience, though I started when I was 14, 2 years ago, I earned a lot of respect from guys in the gym when I started doing Squats and Deadlifts and just busting my ass.

  1. Most important - think about the exercises and scheme you want to follow at home first, so you will be ready when you enter the gym.
  2. When you perform the exercises, use the weight you’ll handle easily at first. Then, you can grab sth heavier.
  3. Pay attention to form - watch others, practice, experiment - it’s crucial.
  4. Wear ‘normal’ clothes so you don’t look like D-bag.
  5. Put the equipment back when you’re done.

Remember, you’re only 14. No need to be envious of the 20 year old frat boys who can ‘‘bench’’ a bigger weight than you.(I use the term ‘bench’ loosely here as technique is rarely their priority)

I really, really wish I had started squatting and deadlifting when I was 14. Starting at thsi age while learning good form on the major exercises while eating your veggies and drinking your milk gives you potential to get seriously strong in a few years. Certianly much stronger than other guys your age.

-Don’t be the guy who does nothing but chest and arms.
-Go in with a routine
-Re-rack your weights
-Maintain solid form
-When you get dumbbells, get them and move away from the stand so others can get to the DBs
-Wear normal clothing. Athletic shorts, t-shirt.
-Don’t be afraid to ask for a spot
-Don’t flex in the mirror.
-Don’t “accidentally” lift your shirt as you wipe your face to flex your abs in the mirror.
and most importantly
-Bust your ass every minute of every day you’re in there

Dont wear gloves.

Oh yeah, I forgot one: Don’t be the loud grunter that everyone in the gym hates.

Decide before hand exactly what it is that you want to accomplish. Are you trying to get huge? bigger but with better muscle definition? are you trying to get good at powerlifting? Do you want functional strength, i.e. more explosiveness/maximal strength with minimal size gains? Do you play any sports competitively? Decide what your goal is and do some research about the best ways to accomplish this goal through training and nutrition.

By doing the research yourself, you’ll be able to absorb a lot of different info that will increase your general knowledge of both weightlifting and basic human anatomy. This site is a great place to start, but you’ll gain knowledge from everything from Men’s Health to Muscle Fitness Magazine to Arnold’s Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding Volume I and II.

Why shouldn’t i wear gloves? The weights at the gym tear my hands apart

Gloves are fine. When working with heavy stuff they are neccesary. But when you use e.g. 20lbs DBs all the time they might look silly.

[quote]parsley wrote:
Why shouldn’t i wear gloves? The weights at the gym tear my hands apart[/quote]

Your hands will toughen up. Every serious lifter has calluses

Learn how to give a good spot

Have a towel with you (Do not leave sweat on everything)

Your 14,do you work out at a high school? If so Do not be a Dbag if a team is monopolizing some equipment.