You may not realize it, but courteous acts in the weight room help you build muscle as well as respect. They may also help you cultivate altruistic habits away from the gym.
To get you started, here are some examples of good gym etiquette.
Immediately racking your weights following Bench Presses, Squats and Deadlifts can actually be counted as an additional set. The energy involved in loading and removing heavy plates from the bar and carrying them back to the rack enhances upper- and lower-body muscle growth and grip strength and also engages core muscles.
Bonus: Racking weights as an extra set also helps shorten workout time and saves time for the next lifter, since the bar is already free of plates.
Wiping Down Equipment
Who wants to sit or lie on a sweat-soaked bench? Wiping machine handles, a bench, or an exercise mat after use is not only courteous but also sanitary. Using disinfectant sprays (if available) also keeps the equipment germ-free—promoting a healthier weight room environment.
Not Monopolizing Equipment and/or Space
Hogging a bench, squat rack, or machine for extended periods in an overcrowded gym while others wait is selfish and possibly counterproductive. Performing several sets of each exercise with long rests between sets lengthens your workout and the wait time of others who want to use the equipment.
Taking shorter rests between sets or doing supersets, for instance, and quickly moving to another area for other exercises boosts exercise intensity, improves endurance (a sports performance enhancer) and wins you the respect of others.
Volunteering to Spot Another Lifter
Finished your workout? Make it a point every training session to volunteer to spot for a teammate or even a stranger on certain lifts—e.g., Dumbbell Overhead Presses, heavy Squats or Bench Presses. Not only are you promoting safety and courtesy in the gym, you're also motivating others to complete an extra repetition for strength and size gains.
Assisting a Novice Lifter
Just as volunteering to spot others is courteous, taking the time to show a novice weight trainer proper exercise technique to prevent injury and optimize building muscle is also a selfless act. Another deed that promotes good karma is suggesting and/or demonstrating exercises or movements that have improved your sports performance.
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