Anybody who trains will understand that throughout the course of a workout, it is very common to have to interact with somebody else.
“Excuse me, do you mind if I jump in with you for a few sets?”
“Excuse me, was anybody using this equipment?”
Arnold talks about the comradery of the gymnasiums he trained in in the 60’s and 70’s in his new book ‘Total Recall’ and how there was always a culture of unity, even amongst direct bodybuilding competitors. Now, we dont have anything vaguely similar to that and we arent even in competition. An interesting comment was about how the massive bodybuilders at Gold’s gym, the premier location to train at the time, never bumped into eachother in such a confined space. They worked together.
But why it is such an issue for some people, I will never understand. For example, just this week, I was training chest and back, which involved supersetting, or going from a chest exercise, to a back exercise, with a short rest period after the completion of both. When we left to go and do our back exercise (deadlifts) we left behind an adjusted incline bench, with my water bottle on it, a gym bag directly behind it, and two sets of weights - 45kg dumbbells and 40kg dumbbells on each side of it.
Now, would you say it would be reasonable to assume that this bench was currently in use?
When I turned around to go back to our bench, a man in his late 40’s had, somehow, with assistance, put all of our weights back, moved our things away from the bench, and placed his towel on it. What the fuck? Why would you not wait around or ask somebody else if it was in use? Why would common sense not TELL you it was in use!? Considering the fact he was much older than me, he doesnt even have an excuse. If it was a strutting 18 year old eyeballing everyone I would not have been surprised. I wanted to go up to this guy and say to him: you cant seriously think that somebody wasnt using this. Whats wrong with you? Of course, not wanting to get into an argument with this old moron, we just took our weights back off the rack and relocated to another FREE bench that was available.
On another occasion, I asked this girl nicely if I could jump in and do some dips while she was just resting on the pads inbetween her sets on knee raises.
“Excuse me, do you mind if I quickly jump in and do a set of dips while you are resting?”
This particular station has thick grips which makes it slightly harder, and I prefer using it. The way she looked at me and said “what? ummmm….okay” told me I must the most unreasonable person in the world, and she ended up moving to the other dips station directly behind me. The part I dont understand is, we could have both used that station at the same time. Why did she feel the need to run away like I had just told her to fuck off? Or even if she had just said: “That’s okay, ill just use this station over here, I dont mind.”
I must admit though, this isnt a fair representation - there are a few out there that are pleasant to train with and will happily oblige. But it is quite clear to me this is now the minority of individuals, and it is probably going to get worse with increasing concentrations of filthy roider try-hards wearing AAA supplements merchandise, hyping up the latest fad supplements whilst trying to lift too much weight in an incorrect fashion.
Is this going to be the continuing legacy of the gymnasium environment going into the future? Only time will tell.