Lots of articles are out there full of information on what you should be doing inside your local gym, but not as many take the time to warn you off bad, destructive, annoying, or dangerous behaviors. There are a lot of ways to make a gym a worse place for everyone, yourself included–and most of them expose you to the most risk. So the next time you’re in the gym, make sure you’re not doing any of these five gym habits you should never do, for everyone’s sake.
Don’t add weight before you perfect your form. This one is mostly about protecting yourself from hubris, but adding too much weight and having to bail from an exercise can cause trouble for everyone else, as well–you don’t want to damage gym equipment, whack your spotter with a few hundred pounds, or distract someone mid-movement by falling and sending something heavy flying. Make sure your form is perfected at a given weight before you even think about upping the ante with more plates; everyone else aside, poor form plus extra weight is an excellent recipe for putting yourself in the hospital.
Don’t hop into exercises or onto equipment you don’t know. Don’t know how a machine works? Seen power cleans done at a distance, but never done one yourself with someone to help you? Maybe don’t start experimenting freeform, then. This is a great way to injure yourself, injure someone else, or damage gym property. Furthermore, you’re going to be wasting a lot of time and effort doing things ‘wrong’, time you could spend much better getting someone to help you learn to do the new exercise correctly.
Don’t work out sick or injured. Unless a doctor has specifically told you to do a certain set of exercises to recover faster from an injury, you shouldn’t be in a gym hurt; working through the pain is an excellent way to turn ‘chronic pain’ into ‘permanent disability’. Working out sick also exposes you to an increased risk of injury and slower recovery…and it’s incredibly obnoxious to trek your sickness in and coat every surface you work out on with whatever infectious particles you happen to cough, sneeze, or drip. So take your sick self home and get some rest.
Don’t skip warmups. Skipping warmups makes you more likely to get hurt, more likely to suffer days later from serious DOMS, and more likely to misjudge what you’re capable of and make mistakes. All of these things suck for you, and a few of them can suck for the rest of the gym, too–so warm up, please.
Don’t be obnoxious. This is more a lesson for life than the gym, but seriously. Don’t listen to blaring music on speakers when headphones would suffice. Don’t leave your stuff strewn across multiple machines. Don’t make lots of extra noises; there’s a difference between making noise, even a loud one, from the strain, and being that guy who’s more or less screaming every movement because he wants everyone to stop and look at how awesome he is. If it would annoy you if someone else did it, don’t do it.