elitefts™ Sunday edition

Commercial Gym Nightmares

I had no choice, so I walked into a commercial gym yesterday at peak hours. I wasn't doing anything "heavy" – just military pressing as my main exercise – but I had some other shit planned and really wanted to bust my ass and get as much work done as I could in an hour. Fat chance of that happening in a busy commercial gym, I know, but I had to try.

So, I warmed up for about 15-20 minutes on the treadmill and with some bands, then moved to one of those "step down" squat racks where you can stick the pins in wherever you need them. It's not a bad setup, and I can usually get plenty done. The problem in this place (a common problem with most gyms of this type) is that the layout isn't exactly conducive to training the way I want to...unless no one is in there. When I'm training by myself, I need space – mostly because I'm lifting a lot heavier than most (or all) of the people around me, but also because I'm always very aware of what's going on around me, and I don't understand why other people don't need a buffer zone around them.

All Are Created Equal

In this place (I use it on some weekdays when I can't drive 30-40 minutes to my real gym), there's also no "order of precedence" when it comes to exercises. I can have a relative shitload of weight on the floor and be deadlifting (the good thing about this particular commercial gym is that they don't really mind), and some dude will come over and ask if I have a lot left. Then, when something opens up, he'll set up his bar and proceed to do cheat curls with 5's on each side. Sorry, but not all exercises (or workouts) are created equal. That always gets on my nerves.

As I'm getting my shit ready to military press, I see some dude carrying a bench, and he puts it down RIGHT behind me. Then he goes and gets this little waist high stand and puts it behind the bench, and takes a 40 pound fixed barbell and lays it on top of the stand. This is going on like three feet behind me, and about a foot in front of a T-bar row and a chest-supported row (they're behind the "squat racks").

He then proceeds to start doing skull crushers. Now, there's a whole area with dumbbells and flat benches that's specially dedicated to this, but this guy has decided to plant himself in the middle of a highly trafficked area that the gym obviously wants to keep clear for people doing free weight exercises. Nobody can get through the bottleneck, but the guy is still standing there, oblivious, with this whole setup.

I'd ordinarily say something, but in this case, I just wanted to get through my sets and be done with it. The best part of the whole thing, I think, is that the guy didn't even move the shit. He just left it there, fixed barbell and all, when he was done.

Commercial Gyms: Where 98 percent of the people walking in the door shouldn't even be there.