Twenty Things That Piss Me Off About Commercial Gyms: Part 1

TAGS: rack, powerplate, keefe, commercial gyms, squat, barbell

This article was originally posted at Strength and Performance.


The time has come, my friends, to vent some long overdue steam on the fluffy, cotton wool-wrapped, namby pamby so called “health and wellness” centers. These places are packed full of all the latest new fangled, overpriced gizmos and overcomplicated machinery that wouldn’t be out of place in the next Star Trek movie! Such gyms make the most money from innocent, disillusioned members who pay huge amounts of cash and then don’t attend from one month to the next. Should it be allowed? I’ll let you decide!

I’ve taken the trouble of writing down just a few of my all-time pet peeves about the corporate beast and some of the cretins (sorry!) who inhabit them. Let’s start with part one and we’ll get on to parts two and three later. I’ll be welcoming comments.

Next to each point I’ve put what I affectionately call a “WTF” (what the f**k) star rating from one to ten, with a WTF one star meaning I’m mildly pissed off and a WTF ten star meaning you’d better prepare to have my full unadulterated wrath bestowed upon you!

Get a deep breath because here we go…

1) No lifting in bare feet or socks: Look, it’s very simple. Deadlifting in trainers with a heel is going to f*ck up my form and risk injury! I don’t want to get injured, so I choose to remove my trainers. I’ll face the consequences if I’m stupid enough to drop a crap load of weight on my foot. WTF: 8*

2) No chalk: Why not?? So it’s messy. Who cares? Haven’t you made enough profit this year to afford to pay someone to clean up the gym properly? WTF: 6*

3) “Easy listening” music: No, no, no! If I wanted to hear Ronan Keating and Lulu singing, ‘If Tomorrow Never Comes,’ I would have gone to see Boyzone in concert. WTF: 8*

4) “Vipr” training: This is the latest in “functional” training from the mindless idiots’ brigade. Functional? I’ll give you “functional” in a minute. How about I stick my “functional” foot up your “functional” butt?! Next time I’ll jump on a Powerplate to show you how to do a “functional” cough. WTF: 7*

5) Powerplates: This is a prime example of “gimmeckery” at its finest. Unless you suffer from MS or are doing a tiny bit of rehabilitation/stretching, I don’t want to hear the “P” word! Why don’t these so called gyms try spending the money on more barbells, dumbbells, power racks, and other useful pieces of equipment? WTF: 9*

6) People who read newspapers on treadmills, cross trainers, or any other useless piece of cardio equipment: It takes a special type of gym goer to believe that walking at the pace of a two year old while reading the latest copy of Reveal magazine will magically melt away that stubborn fat. Hmm… WTF: 6*

7) Half reps: This includes personal trainers and/or spotters who allow or even encourage half reps during a set or a 1RM. You know who you are, and I don’t care how you justify it. Unless you’re deliberately doing a rack lockout or floor press, you’re wrong! This will take up too much space if I complete my rant in full, so I’ll skip to the end. Grrrr! WTF: 9*

8) The “it’s all you” crew: Going along the same lines as point seven, it isn’t “all you” if the Neanderthal spotter behind you is bicep curling the bar for you. WTF: 8*

“Yes, yes, yes…get it. It’s all you!” (Note the half rep here.)

9) The person who asks, “How many more sets you got on there mate?” when you’re halfway through a set of heavy military presses: First of all, I’m not your “mate.” And just because you can see my eyes in the mirror doesn’t mean I want to strike up a conversation halfway through busting my ass you inconsiderate moron! How about next time you’re struggling with your partial rep heavy squat I come over and suggest you go down all the way and see how you like the distraction?! WTF: 8*


10) Personal trainers who prescribe stupid exercises for their clients: This is brilliant! The stupidest exercise I’ve ever seen in my entire training life was this. I hope I do it justice. The client was holding a medicine ball with outstretched hands while performing a sideways jump into a squat on to a Powerplate that was vibrating on full speed!

What a great way to waste a few minutes of your life! I’m anticipating a sharp intake of breath, a long sigh, or spontaneous laughter from anyone reading this. If you don’t see the problem here, please do not leave a comment below (WTF: 10*).

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