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PostPosted: Fri Mar 19, 2010 1:26 pm 
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I started wondering about it on the train on the way home from the gym today, whether I should start telling people that are doing exercises with bad form that they do indeed have bad form, or not.

It's not very often I see people doing exercises with form that's so bad I almost feel compelled to act, but when I do, wouldn't it be the right thing to do to tell them, seeing as they can injure themselves if they continue what they're doing?
In case it's not obvious; currently, I leave them to their own thing. Some people just seem so sure about what they're doing that it would be hard to tell them they're doing it wrong without coming off as a pompous ass.

What do you guys do? Do you point it out to people, and if so, how are your instructions normally received?


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 19, 2010 2:31 pm 
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IceDane wrote:
I started wondering about it on the train on the way home from the gym today, whether I should start telling people that are doing exercises with bad form that they do indeed have bad form, or not.

It's not very often I see people doing exercises with form that's so bad I almost feel compelled to act, but when I do, wouldn't it be the right thing to do to tell them, seeing as they can injure themselves if they continue what they're doing?
In case it's not obvious; currently, I leave them to their own thing. Some people just seem so sure about what they're doing that it would be hard to tell them they're doing it wrong without coming off as a pompous ass.

What do you guys do? Do you point it out to people, and if so, how are your instructions normally received?


I think it's only appropriate if they're in actual immediate danger of injuring themselves or someone near them, or if you already know them. If you're feeling compelled, you might ask a trainer to speak with them (not that they necessarily know good form, but in a gym they have authority).

Keep in mind that some people use variations on exercises, so "bad form" may well be intentional.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 19, 2010 3:06 pm 
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i say just keep it to yourself. Guy actually came up to me tonight and told me I was doin my one arm dumbell rows wrong. Thing is, I was doing rear delt rows and had to explain to him it was a different exercise.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 19, 2010 4:00 pm 
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I've asked "what exercise is that?" on maybe one or two occasions someone was doing something really odd.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 19, 2010 5:04 pm 
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I used to try to help people, but that never turns out well. So now I just say screw 'em.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 19, 2010 6:40 pm 
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I'm with Ironman on this one.

Two supplemental thoughts:
When I had been training for a couple of years, I wanted to tell people what was wrong with their form. After I looked at my motivation, I realized that it was less than because they were going to get hurt and more for my ego. I wanted to prove how much I thought I knew.

I recently commented on two people's form, both regulars at the gym who I know well. The first guy was having back issues and we were discussing his squat. He didn't ask me to, but I watched his form and it was perfect. I told him I had no clue as to why the squat was hurting his back. He reacted positively. The other guy, he frustrates the hell out of me. He basically has a 1/3 bench and is always having problems with his shoulder and is always bitching about it. He is one of those guys who knows everything. One day two weeks ago, he was bitching about his shoulder. I got a lot of crap in my life right now and was in a bad mood. I watched him bench and then lit into him. I told him what I thought his problem was (basically I think is that when he piles on the weight, he goes too far down and since he never benches to his chest he screws up his shoulder). Later on that night, I felt like a total mule. The next time I saw him in the gym I apologized.

Anyway like Ironman says, it usually never ends well.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 19, 2010 6:55 pm 
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hoosegow wrote:
I'm with Ironman on this one.

Two supplemental thoughts:
When I had been training for a couple of years, I wanted to tell people what was wrong with their form. After I looked at my motivation, I realized that it was less than because they were going to get hurt and more for my ego. I wanted to prove how much I thought I knew.

I recently commented on two people's form, both regulars at the gym who I know well. The first guy was having back issues and we were discussing his squat. He didn't ask me to, but I watched his form and it was perfect. I told him I had no clue as to why the squat was hurting his back. He reacted positively. The other guy, he frustrates the hell out of me. He basically has a 1/3 bench and is always having problems with his shoulder and is always bitching about it. He is one of those guys who knows everything. One day two weeks ago, he was bitching about his shoulder. I got a lot of crap in my life right now and was in a bad mood. I watched him bench and then lit into him. I told him what I thought his problem was (basically I think is that when he piles on the weight, he goes too far down and since he never benches to his chest he screws up his shoulder). Later on that night, I felt like a total mule. The next time I saw him in the gym I apologized.

Anyway like Ironman says, it usually never ends well.


I know what you mean regarding the knowledge thing, and I thought about it as well, but as I've not been doing this for a very long time, I'd say that I'm rather humble, so that's not my motivation. Some of the cases I might have been thinking of might not even have been 'bad form' as such, but rather guys that are doing bicep curls like mad with way too light weights, while talking to their friends about how they "love the pump" and "feel the burn" and "feel this is going to make them bigger."
A part of me recognizes myself in them when I was younger, and back then I'd have loved having someone to give me a few hints on what might be smart to do for strength gains and so on.

On the fool who knows everything, well, I know that one as well. One of my best mates always talks about wanting to get serious in the gym and so on, then he goes on to show up for the gym like 3 times a month at most, doing whatever he feels like doing, doing ridiculous volume and amounts of exercises for each muscle group and talking about being there for several hours.
Being his friend, I can tell him that his ideas about strength training might not be the .. most optimal ones to have without coming off as a douche, but even in spite of the fact that I've gotten results with how I generally do things, he will at best listen for a while until some other random guy he knows tells him that the best way is to do something entirely different - the type that shows up in jeans and deodorant and wax in his hair, and then sits around doing bicep curls and bench press for the 2 hour workout or something.

Being stubborn and close-minded will not get you very far. But thankfully, those of us who are smart enough to seek information in places where there are people who know more about the subject than we do don't have to worry about that.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 19, 2010 8:25 pm 
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I will tell you someone coming up to me uninvited better be bigger and/or stronger than me. I may sound like a jerk, but it is hard to take unsolicited advice from someone who hasn't walked the walk. I mean... maybe I'm wrong but someone that is just re-saying what they read without trying it out, just kinda puts me off. (If I'm asking for advice it is a different story.)

I had a fat fella come up to me and suggest a belt etc after I was pulling from the floor. I ended up laughing in his face. I've seen farm animals in better shape than this guy and he spits in the water fountain. My point was, if he has never picked up 400lbs, how does he have any idea what it takes to pick it up, let alone 450...


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 20, 2010 12:17 pm 
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Hoosegow brings up a good point. If it is someone who asks for advice or brings up related topics in conversation, then I will say something.

When I was new to this sort of thing, there was a guy at the gym that helped me with deadlift form. I appreciated that because I knew I was just doing my best to imitate what I saw online. I am ok with that, but most aren't and they think they know it all.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 5:57 am 
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i've never been in the habbit of just going up to someone and helping them out without them asking. Mostly because when I first started lifting I had a big hit for myself and I hated it when people done it to me - unless they were 'heyooge'. Anyway, I learned my lessons eventually.

If someone asks i'm all for helping them out. I've done it quite a lot for a few years now. The questions i get are always related to strength or injury. I've had guys who look much better and are much bigger than me ask advice on getting stronger or to look at their DL or Squat.

At the same time, i'm not big - 5'7, 180. It does amuse me slightly when someone who doesn't know me offers some bogus advice. I can understand it. Especially since i'm not a tank top wearing guy, normally have baggy-ish t-shirts on, so I won't look like much to most. I've been told i'm going to get 'air lifted' out of the gym before. That was amazing. I can't bring myself to get all that angry. Think i'm too immature or something. I find it funny. It happens less as more people get to know me but, it used to be a regular occurrence that, when doing SPEED WORK, i would get told I should SLOW DOWN. I love that aswell. Me and a training partner have a long standing joke about that one and like to imitate olympic lifts with an ultra slow tempo.

A new thing that does get me angry is people giving my beginners stupid advice.

Anyway, to get more on topic - If you're 'correcting' someones form, you're basically going to tell them to lift less weight. That rarely goes down well. Even if someone approaches you and you show them a better technique and tell them just to keep it light for now and groove the new movement, they most often still won't do it. Someone smarter than me said "people don't ask for advice, they ask for clarification". If you don't tell them that what they want to hear, they'll often just switch off. As such, I now just dish out little 'tidbits'. If they bite, i'll spend some time with them. If not, then i've not wasted much of my own time.

KPj


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 8:41 am 
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I have very little experience with this. I only ever have to fix form on people at work (my own clients, who have to listen), at DeFranco's (rare, but sometimes I'm paired up with someone and we coach each other a bit), or in my MMA class (we are a team, and we are expected to help each other). I've yet to have someone come up to me in a commercial gym.

But if I'm working out and someone else sees me lifting and has a comment, here is how I'd like to be approached.

First, ask me if it's okay if you comment on my form and/or exercise selection. Don't just do it.

Second, ask me what I'm trying to do. If you think I'm doing my rows wrong but I'm doing them explosively on purpose, it won't go well if you just assume. Same if I'm doing one-and-a-half rep speed skater squats, or doing some other exercise variation. Maybe it's the wrong technique, or maybe it's a different exercise.

Third, offer to help me if I want it, and let it go if I don't. I'm a grown-up. Treat me that way. Don't tell me I'm an idiot or curse me out or light me up because I didn't listen. Offer me help but respect my right to decide I don't want it.

Finally, be polite. Actually, this should be first.

Remember you're confronting a stranger about something they believe is right and correct. Don't try to batter them into submission. Just offer, politely, help and advice to get them where they want to go.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 10:22 am 
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I have found people, especially the hyooge, to be extremely polite and basically never coming up to me to discuss form or why I'm not bigger or anything like that.

I did have a few people come up to me and say good job on the weight loss. (I was a regular, who went from 230 to 160). But that was positive. And really very few people came up either. I could also kind of tell that showing up regularly was approved of...just could sense it. But no remarks really...


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 11:06 am 
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My issues are a little more with people, especially women, who want to sit on the equipment in between sets. I've tried being gentle, asking to work in, getting the instructor even once. But it's just not worht it. It startles them and some of them actually really honestly think it is normal to sit aon the apparatus. We have some gym rules posters, but...the ethic is still not there. Liked it better in San Diego where there was a big "No Parking" sign.

Now, I usually just rotate the workout and change my order if someone is using the machine. (And usually the huge are much more willing to welcome working in, then the old or the female.)

I have found that making a little bit of a joke helps. I'll say "I'm going to need to drop the weight a lot". This makes them smile whether they are obviously much stronger OR weaker than I.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 11:20 am 
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In my gym is pretty normal to stay where you are between sets.... There's also no rules against it.

I've never heard of anyone not letting you work in, though. That seems bizarre. Sometimes i'll 'work in' with a group of 3 other people who are deadlifting, for example, and it's not unsual for me to have 3 people with me - taking it to about 7 people deadlifting. Works out better than you would think.

If they don't let you work in just 'hover'. It makes people nervous without being a blatant a$$hole. That's what I do when the Bicep Brigade are pumping their gunz for 40 minutes in the 'curl rack''. I just go over and stand beside them, staring at them every now and again and, every few minutes i'll 'politely' ask "do you have many sets left?" and i'll say "take your time".

KPj


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 2:02 pm 
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seems like we're all pretty much in agreement. Only help people if they ask for help.

Personally I LOVE it when people ask for my help, appeals to my ego.


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