Saturday, May 27, 2017

The First Rule of Lifting

On Tuesday, I stopped by my gym on the way home from work, ready to get my badass on. My list for the day included three sets of landmine dead lifts. The landmine bar is a 45-pound bar that is fastened to a lever on the floor at one end. The other end is for lifting. I placed a 35-pound plate on it. It's not my heaviest dead lift, but it had been a while and I didn't want to hurt myself.

I had just started my first set when an older white guy walked past me and started setting up in the corner. I didn't pay attention to him other than to briefly take notice of someone walking by me. Well, I didn't pay attention to him until he walked up to me, pointed his index and middle fingers at his eyes, and then pointed upward while looking right at me.

One of the most basic rules of gym and lifting etiquette is Thou Shall Not Interrupt The Lifter Mid-Set.

I ignored him.

Everyone I've told this story to gets absolutely incensed that this dude walked right up to me while I was lifting. It's not even that his advice was silly, at best, but that he interrupted me while I was concentrating on my form.

When I finished my set, he tried again. "You should look up when you lift," he started. "You see, when--"

I finally looked at him. "I didn't ask for advice, thank you."

"Well soh-reeee!!"

I ignored him.

I have seen people at my gym do some remarkably weird-looking exercises, and I'm not entirely sure these exercises have any real merit when it comes to muscle-building and/or fat-burning. But here's the thing--we're all there to get our workout in and how people choose to do that is up to them. I would never dream of interrupting someone unless I saw them doing something with form that could seriously injure them--and even then, I'd likely find a trainer and tell them so they can intervene.

But to walk right up to someone mid-lift and try to engage them in conversation? So rude.

And by the way he spoke to me, I'm convinced of two things: 1) He believed Little Lady would appreciate Wise Old Man offering his wisdom (she doesn't, and his "wisdom" was unfounded because I was focused on my form already and where my eyes were looking was not going to help or hinder it), and 2) He would never walk up to a male gym-goer he doesn't know and do the same thing. He'd wait.

I watched him a little through the rest of my workout. While I finished two more sets of dead lifts and moved on to a complex that included clean squat thrusts, lunges, and bench presses with a barbell, he stood around adjusting his weight lifting belt and gloves, loudly calling out to people he seemed to know, and then standing around chatting with some guy. In the entire half hour of my workout, I didn't see him do one lift.

At least I know he won't bother me again.

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