Azerbaijani Gym Etiquette
Azerbaijani Gym Etiquette Reviews
Nov 26, 2007
While I have never competed in any bodybuilding/power-lifting competition, I do consider myself to be knowledgeable about weightlifting after partaking in it so much the past 22 years. One of the first things that was instilled in me during my extremely humble beginnings in the gym was that of etiquette. All of the old timers were intent on how to do things in the gym. First, you not only re-racked your weights (aka putting thinks back where you got them) but you put them back where they were supposed to go. There was no placing of 10-pound weights for the bar marked 5-pound weights. Second, you always asked before automatically assuming that someone had vacated a piece of equipment. Third, you always asked if you could work on a piece of equipment if someone else was using it. Fourth, if someone asked, you almost always gave him a spot. Fifth, shut up and lift, if you want to socialize go to a bar. While there were many other unwritten rules in the gym, etiquette transcended all geographical locations with North America. Well, that was the way it used to be before the strip-mall gyms seemed to sprout up throughout the wastelands of suburbia. While gym etiquette sometimes seemed very passé in the 21st century gym, there were still a few of us that still adhered to an “iron” code of conduct.
Lifting weights in Azerbaijan is different. First, if you are between sets on a piece of equipment and not sitting on it, someone might just jump in for a quick set without asking. This can get aggravating when you are doing a heavy set on the leg press and someone unloads all of your plates and do not reload them. Occasionally you might have someone who jumps on and refuses to get off. Second, very few people re-rack their weights and many people leave their weights behind as momentary testimony for their testosterone-induced studliness. (Actually, most of the gyms I went to in Vegas were like that, too.) Third, there are a lot of people who stand around and tend to get in the way. This tends to be with the case with male high school and college students. Fourth, one should not try to correct those with less knowledge in the gym as this will offend their trainer. This was especially true in Naxcivan where some kids were practically performing CPR on themselves while benching. The first time I saw this, I tried to tell the kid how to do a bench press correctly but was quickly reprimanded by his trainer. After that, I only gave advise when asked. The best thing to do is just remember things are different here.
Finally, for the most part, women are allowed in the gyms in Baku and there is one gym close to my home that is for only women. On the other hand, gyms in other areas outside of Baku are usually exclusively for men. I have mixed emotions about that policy. On one side, everyone should be able to lift weights if that is their choice. On the other hand, knowing how stupid men can be in the gym, myself included when I was younger, in their attempts to impress the ladies, that policy has probably saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills. Guys always decide that an extra 40 kg is no big deal if they think a woman is watching them. Too bad most women are not impressed when a guy injures himself.
Part of the An American in Azerbaijan travel blog
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