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View Full Version : Stupid people in the park... do I tell them they are dumb?


Timothy Holmes
03-24-2009, 03:28 PM
When I see people doing half ROM pullups or half pushups with no scapula movement, or even hind-foot running, I feel a little guilty for not saying anything. When is it appropiate to say something? I would happily take the advice, but I know some people would be insulted/annoyed. What should I do, just ignore it?

Do you have thoughts like this? (haha, that sounds sooo wrong!) I think I need some perspective...

Mike ODonnell
03-24-2009, 03:54 PM
Say nothing.....they won't listen....just go do your own full ROM and maybe they will see and get the hint. Advice not sought out will not retain or sink in.....but reasoning they get on their own terms will.

That and people remember and retain visuals more.....not some stranger talking to them.

Dave Van Skike
03-24-2009, 04:04 PM
When I see people doing half ROM pullups or half pushups with no scapula movement, or even hind-foot running, I feel a little guilty for not saying anything. When is it appropiate to say something? I would happily take the advice, but I know some people would be insulted/annoyed. What should I do, just ignore it?

Do you have thoughts like this? (haha, that sounds sooo wrong!) I think I need some perspective...

it's never appropriate. when you feel compelled to teach, it means you have much to learn.

just do what I do and blather on message boards about shit that doesn't matter.

Xuan Mai Ho
03-24-2009, 05:10 PM
I frequently get approached at the gym by either a trainer or member who wants to give me "tips."

Here are some highlights from the globo-gym:

Mid-rep - a globo-gym trainer (unsolicited as I was mid-rep) told me that the way I was back squatting was incorrect. (I was low-bar back squatting and he wanted me to high bar back squat.) I told him that I was low-bar back squatting to which he replied "Huh? What's a low bar back squat?"

A fellow member at the globo-gym told me that I was going to blow my shoulders out doing kipping pullups and that I should go to the assisted pullup machine if I felt the need to "cheat" on my pullups.

A couple of weeks ago, a brand new trainer told me that he was a USAW coach and that he would love to give me some (unsolicited) pointers on my O-lifts. And, then he proceeded to rattle off a bunch of stuff he read in a book.

Now, mind you, I didn't see any trainers go up to the dude last week in the squat cage who was doing half-presses while balancing on a Bosu ball. So, I don't understand why these same trainers feel the need to give me their expert advice.

I try to be gracious when (seemingly) well-meaning guys try to give me advice. But, really, I just want to get my workout done in peace.

I'm sure if the people in the park wanted some training, they would seek it out.

Kevin Perry
03-24-2009, 05:21 PM
it's never appropriate. when you feel compelled to teach, it means you have much to learn.

just do what I do and blather on message boards about shit that doesn't matter.

+1

You can also start a "you know what grinds my gears?" thread and rant in there about everything that grinds your gears. I do this all the time everywhere outside the internetz

George Mounce
03-24-2009, 05:26 PM
I disagree. If you feel compelled to teach, the student isn't always ready to learn, and that is a dire situation indeed. You'd be a shitty instructor though if you didn't know when good times to teach are, and when bad times to teach are.

I have found when approached with an honest and sincere person wishing to give advice that not only helps people be safe in their lifting but enables them to accomplish more, most people are very willing to listen.

Derek Weaver
03-24-2009, 06:22 PM
Would you like being told you're dumb? Do your business the right way, and let everyone else ask for help if they seek it.

Nothing worth losing sleep over.

Yuen Sohn
03-24-2009, 06:40 PM
Leave them be and just rant about it on the internet...that's what I do :) But seriously, setting a good example through proper form and impressive results (performance, aesthetics, or both) goes a long way. They'll eventually ask for advice if they want it badly enough.

On a related note, I've only been approached for "workout" advice from complete strangers twice in recent memory: Once by a homeless gentleman on the street and then again by some random guy at LBH who proceeded to lift up his shirt and asked me to critique his belly. In retrospect, I think the first guy just wanted money and the second guy just liked showing people his belly.

Brian DeGennaro
03-24-2009, 07:20 PM
If I see someone struggling with a minute to medium sized technical issue I will throw out my two cents. Like say someone is doing front squats (I know, such a rare thing in most gyms) and I see two minute flaws that'll help him or her lift more weight then I'll definitely jump in after the set and demonstrate what he or she could've done to improve the previous set and ask themto give it a try.

Now if someone is doing something completely wrong and has no knowledge of their incompetency, then I just leave them alone. No matter how you approach them they will not accept the advice. I approach with a big smile and advice in hand but they'll snap back at you. Even if you help move their weights they won't accept it.

In short: if a person looks like they're frustrated/struggling with an exercise or you could offer a few tiny tips to improve on what they're doing at the moment then i say definitely throw your two cents in. But if that person is doing something completely wrong and is confident in their own incompetency then leave them be. They are not worth your breath.

Dave Van Skike
03-24-2009, 08:13 PM
..i didn't mean to be glib in my first response but every once in a while i remember stuff that has been posted on the internets before. this is the best thing i could come up with the last time i thought about what to do when you see really bizarre stuff in the weight room or observe what you think is someone "doing it wrong"...

I have run into this same problem at both of the places I lift. It's a tough one but I try to employ the rules of home ownership.

Clean up your own backyard.

Lead by example. Be an absolute technician with your own form. People recognize skill when see it.


Know your neighbors

Get to know the trainers on at least a friendly conversational basis. People are not ignorant on purpose (not usually). If you have a relationship with them it's a lot easier to ask them why they teach in a certain way. As a big plus, you may learn from them and they from you. Side benefits ensue, a trainer at my gym lets me keep my kettlebells there.

Buy a fixer in the best neighborhood you can afford.

Quit your gym and go lift someplace where people are smarter and stronger than you. It's profoundly unhealthy to be walking around thinking you're the only one who knows shit. Most people don't get better unless pushed. Empty your cup and go someplace where you can learn, not where you feel the need to teach.

Garrett Smith
03-24-2009, 08:16 PM
I met my wife at the college rec center by asking her if she'd like some help/advice with her behind-the-neck pulldowns (that some L.A. trainer had shown her)...I had that scenario (hot girl doing bad pulldowns) set up in my head for a long time, and she stepped into my trap. :D

Note that I asked her if she'd like some advice. If she said "not really", I would have left her alone.

Timothy Holmes
03-24-2009, 10:22 PM
Dave, that's exactly what I wanted. I really like that post.... I just felt bad because the 'issue' was easily 'fixed' and would reap benefits, especially for the older exerciser... quality of movement and all that... I guess what they were doing was far better than nothing at all...

That's awesome, Garret. So, don't do it, unless she's hot and struggling and doesn't mind the interuption ;)

Jay Cohen
03-25-2009, 01:53 AM
it's never appropriate. when you feel compelled to teach, it means you have much to learn.

just do what I do and blather on message boards about shit that doesn't matter.


Dave, that is very wise. Do you know the source of the quote??
Thanks.

PS. I need that tattooed on my arm, forehead or at least a Post It Note placed somewhere in view at all times...........

Dave Van Skike
03-25-2009, 08:46 AM
Dave, that is very wise. Do you know the source of the quote??
Thanks.

PS. I need that tattooed on my arm, forehead or at least a Post It Note placed somewhere in view at all times...........

well...that particular arrangement of words was my own but I'm sure the idea is old.

Gant Grimes
03-25-2009, 11:44 AM
it's never appropriate. when you feel compelled to teach, it means you have much to learn.

just do what I do and blather on message boards about shit that doesn't matter.

I have run into this same problem at both of the places I lift. It's a tough one but I try to employ the rules of home ownership.

Clean up your own backyard.

Lead by example. Be an absolute technician with your own form. People recognize skill when see it.


Know your neighbors

Get to know the trainers on at least a friendly conversational basis. People are not ignorant on purpose (not usually). If you have a relationship with them it's a lot easier to ask them why they teach in a certain way. As a big plus, you may learn from them and they from you. Side benefits ensue, a trainer at my gym lets me keep my kettlebells there.

Buy a fixer in the best neighborhood you can afford.

Quit your gym and go lift someplace where people are smarter and stronger than you. It's profoundly unhealthy to be walking around thinking you're the only one who knows shit. Most people don't get better unless pushed. Empty your cup and go someplace where you can learn, not where you feel the need to teach.

Wisdom!

Arden Cogar Jr.
03-25-2009, 01:17 PM
Wow, Dave said it perfectly.

I personally never offer advice unless it's asked. Then it's all holds barred.

I likely need a lesson in "tact" or however that's spelled. Diplomacy is a learned skill.

My favorite is "Let's start with what you're doing right." Askee- "well, what am I doing right?" Coach - "Not much." :D

All the best, Arden

Gant Grimes
03-25-2009, 02:36 PM
My favorite is "Let's start with what you're doing right." Askee- "well, what am I doing right?" Coach - "Not much." :D

All the best, Arden

At my last tournament, I drew the guy who always wins these things (and has beaten me before...quickly). I had the following conversation with my coach.

"Feel his feet and hips. He loves to throw the drop knee, and he'll circle around to move you into position. He's also got a great sumi gaeshi, so don't rush. Also, watch for the back grip. He's tall, and he loves to reach over you. That's how he sets up his hip throws, which are excellent."

"Great, coach. So what are his weaknesses?"

"Hmm. Well...he's pretty good."