Lifting Etiquette

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Article written by Matt Falk
Lifting etiquette? Whaaa? Yeah, it’s a thing. It’s not so much a set of written rules, as it is a code of sorts to train by. Lifting crews are like weird little families, and unless you want Christmas to get awkward this year, I would suggest taking a quick read. All of these should be no-brainers, but then again, I’m fairly certain there’s a large population of people out there without one.

1. Be On Time.
If you train alone, this does not apply to you. However, for the vast majority of lifters, BE ON TIME.  Your partners may not be relying on you directly, but as a member of whatever team, organization, or crew are affiliated with, you owe it to the others to be there when they are. Being on time is a sign of respect, and respect has to be earned. Setting up for strongman events is work in itself, and if you show up thirty minutes late after your partners have been setting up a deadlift medley with 2,000 pounds of plates, they are going to be pissed. I support them.

2. Be Engaged.
This is quite possibly the absolute most important thing you can do. If you are not ready to give it 100%, you need not show up. If you are sick, you probably shouldn’t be there in the first place. Creating a deep and vast black hole of energy on your platform is not only annoying, but also blatantly disrespectful. When someone is about to take a PR attempt, you had better be paying full attention, slapping their back, and getting in their ear. If said lifter responds better to silence, then shut up. They put in the hours and sweat to earn a few seconds of your time. Demand this out of your fellow lifters as well.

3. Be Helpful.
Also see: not being a jackass. Unless you hate the crew you train with, offer a hand. If you’re done with your set, help someone else load their bar, wrap knees, or baby powder some thighs. If your lifting career has been a solo mission… You’re a dirty liar. I’m sure you have received help along the way. Now is your time to reciprocate the favor.

4. Be Clean.
This might seem odd in a community where bleeding, puking, or peeing mid-workout is not uncommon, so I will clarify. You know that guy who fails to put anything away during the workout and “forgets” to do so before they leave? Don’t be that guy. Put your plates and equipment back when you’re done. I love having to unload bars that are across the gym from the weight tree! Said no one ever.

5.  Be An Equal
One of the most rewarding aspects of training (personally), is watching others grow as lifters. If you’re the strongest, most seasoned person in your crew, step out of the spotlight for a second and remember where you started. Unless you are a legitimate world record holder, someone out there is destroying your total and laughing while they do it. Don’t let your ego outgrow your weight belt.

While most of these general principles date back to preschool, they can easily be overlooked when training gets hard. Just remember why you’re there, take a deep breath, and laugh at how incredibly jacked you are.

  • Hey man,

    I love this article! There aren’t nearly enough people who understand gym etiquette, lifting etiquette or really, common courtesy.

    I’ll be sharing this for sure. Keep up the good writing!

  • Good shit, Brandon, as always.

  • Also, if you see someone struggling with a weight, don’t tell them to go down. Why not offer to spot them for a few reps?

    This one is personal for me as I had a guy stand and watch me from two feet away as I rolled a failed bench down my stomach.