9 Rookie Errors That Even Experienced Gym-Goers Make
Here are 9 mistakes you shouldn't still be making...

April 20, 2015

Ok so you’ve just walked into your new gym. You immediately feel everyone’s eyes, scanning you down, detecting whether or not you’re a possible threat or just another gatecrasher. You try not to make direct eye contact with anyone, even the cleaners mutter under their breath, “shame…poor guy”. You are riddled with insecurity.  Here are some tips on how not to be seen as a rookie.


Listen, if it’s too heavy…it’s too heavy. The weight isn’t magically going to defy gravity and make you look like Hercules. If you can’t lift a weight, using full range of motion just go lighter man. What’s the point of doing a half press or a half squat? You’re not impressing anyone.

The Fix:

Try use a lighter weight and focus on form as well as full range of motion. For exercises like squats – squat all the way down until your ass is past 90 degrees and then extend back up.

Spot Me!

Again. If you can’t press or pull a weight by yourself for at least the first three sets. DO NOT ask someone to assist you in getting the weight up. Often, it becomes more of an exercise for the guy who is spotting rather than the guy being spotted, as your buddy doesn’t want your pride to be shattered and ends up doing half the work himself.

The Fix:

Only ask someone to spot you on your final few reps. You should only really need someone to spot you every once in a while. It’s like a get out of jail free card. If you keep going to jail man…maybe you deserve it if the barbell strikes back. Asking for a spot should be something that really hurts your pride! It’s only ok when you’re on your final set. Only when you’ve completely maxed out your tank in the sets prior, with perfect form, full range of motion and the right amount of intensity.

Bro Reps Are For The Weak

Ok so now you’ve finally got to the point where you want to find out if you’re getting somewhere in your training. You ask a buddy to test you and count the reps that you are doing. “1…2…3…Go!” your gym bro shouts. Off you go, smashing it! Smashing it! Smashing it! Smshing it.. .smshng it…smsshh.…”Come on Bro!”…“You’ve got 10 more in you!” Fatigue starts to set in and you think you can sneak a few half reps past your bro.  Hold it! Bro Police here. Just don’t do it. You’re only cheating yourself.

The Fix

Bro Reps are always going to happen. The bond between people who lift together runs deep. If you don’t want to cheat yourself, tell your buddy, “Listen here man…take a look at my form and tell me if I’m cheating ”Tell them not to take it easy on you. You’ll earn respect their respect and it will be way more fulfilling once you honestly smash the workout.

 Excessively Loud or Weird Breathing Sounds

Listen. Leave it to the Kung Fu experts. You are only exempt from this rule if you’re the alpha male in the gym. Then you can do whatever the hell you want. If you’re the newest tenderfoot however, there’s no need to make any unwanted enemies.

The Fix

Don’t feel limited. Gyms are places to get out of your comfort zone. If you feel like you need to breath a little harder, do it in good measure and make sure the type of training you’re doing warrants your excessive breathing. There’s really no need to become a human siren. We know you’re working hard. No need to broadcast it.

Using ALL The 5KG Plates In The Gym. Do You Even Math?

There’s always that one guy, when you’re looking for a 5kgs weight plate, which has them all stacked on his barbell. It doesn’t look like you’re lifting more weight dude.

The Fix

Be considerate. There’s not an infinite amount of 5kg weight plates lying around.

Why On Earth Would You Put Clips On The Smith Machine??

No explanation needed. Don’t.

The Fix

Just don’t do it.

Curls At The Squat rack

Unless you have a 100kg strict curl. Step away from the squat rack. You can pretty much do curls anywhere in the gym.  Squat racks are where boys are turned into men. How dare you interrupt this sacred process?

 The Fix

Look around the gym. Adapt to the natural order of things. Squat where everyone squats and use the appropriate equipment in the designated area. There’s no need to go against the grain, especially if you’re a fledgling.

Invading Someone’s Personal Space Bubble

Don’t be that guy. I’m over here, doing what I need to be doing to join the cast of 300 and some guy starts doing lunges directly in front of me. Come on man…Surely you’ve seen me over here crushing it. I mean my muscle pump is phenomenal, so you’re either blind or you’re trying to start something, boet!

 The Fix

We’re all on a mission at the gym. Understand that the gym was not specifically made to train you alone but is a place where people are trying to become the best possible version of themselves. Don’t be the guy who stirs up trouble or ruins someone’s workout. Be aware. Find your own space and if you’re not sure whether another person’s using that space, just ask politely, you’ll gain respect and maybe a hello the next time you see them.

Doing CrossFit or Olympic Lifting At A Commercial Gym

 There’s a time and place for everything. The place to do CrossFit is at a CrossFit box. Not a commercial gym. It requires a completely different set of equipment and a big amount of space. Would you start pretending you’re in the swimming pool and then start practicing your freestyle crawl in the area where people are trying to lift some weights? No. Respect the general rules of the gym you’re at.

The Fix

Do some research as to what you think would be the best form of training for you. If you want to do CrossFit, look up the nearest CrossFit box and try out a beginner’s session. If you want to do explosive type training at a commercial gym, look for a designated area, or try to find a big enough space so you don’t make any enemies.