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  1. #1
    Registered User JC819's Avatar
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    Power rack etiquette questions

    I'm new to squatting and having been working on my form lately. Usually I'll just use the olympic bar w/o any weights. When I start putting on weights, It'll probably be fairly light for the first few weeks. Since my gym only have a couple of power racks, I anticipate that I'll probably have to work in with someone or ask if I can work in with someone using the rack. Is there any etiquette with someone using relatively light weights within the power rack sharing with someone using alot more weights? Specifically, is it going to be a PTA to keep unloading and loading weights, repositioning the hooks and safety pins, etc each time we switch off?

    Also, when the squat or power racks on the gym are being occupied, is it ok to grab one of the olympic barbells off the bench press (there are plenty of these always free) and start practicing squat form or doing warm-up sets in front of the bench or alternatively, move the barbell somewhere else in the gym so I'm not taking up space near the bench?
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    Registered User dski79's Avatar
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    the second paragraph.... YES! as long as theyre enough bars in the place you def can grab one off the bench! its not a "bench bar" but just a "bar"! if i cant find a bar for the rack i always take the ones that are on the bench or incline or decline! when they get mad and say why are you takin the bar i simply say its not a "bench press bar"! THAT IS of course nobody is using it! or looks like theyre about to use it! if thats the case then no dont take ite
    Originally Posted by JC819 View Post
    I'm new to squatting and having been working on my form lately. Usually I'll just use the olympic bar w/o any weights. When I start putting on weights, It'll probably be fairly light for the first few weeks. Since my gym only have a couple of power racks, I anticipate that I'll probably have to work in with someone or ask if I can work in with someone using the rack. Is there any etiquette with someone using relatively light weights within the power rack sharing with someone using alot more weights? Specifically, is it going to be a PTA to keep unloading and loading weights, repositioning the hooks and safety pins, etc each time we switch off?

    Also, when the squat or power racks on the gym are being occupied, is it ok to grab one of the olympic barbells off the bench press (there are plenty of these always free) and start practicing squat form or doing warm-up sets in front of the bench or alternatively, move the barbell somewhere else in the gym so I'm not taking up space near the bench?
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    Registered User AK56's Avatar
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    Just think about respect in all your actions in and out of the gym.

    If it would be mildly annoying to you it might be massively annoying to others.

    That said:
    Moving a barbell when there are plenty should not be a problem.
    Working in on a squat routine likely would be annoying.
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  4. #4
    Registered User JC819's Avatar
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    ok, thanks. Any problems with doing light weight squats on the fixed weight barbells or is it better to get used to doing them on the olympic barbells?
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    I need about tree fiddy davisj3537's Avatar
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    If someone works in with you they'll be using your bar and safety height...if not they won't work in. You don't change that stuff between sets.


    You pay for a membership just like everyone else so as long as you are doing something that requires a power rack then no one can complain. Common things that don't require a squat rack but are abused as such-curls, OHP, shrugs, BORs...etc.
    Last edited by davisj3537; 11-19-2014 at 11:36 AM.
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  6. #6
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    " Common things that don't require a squat rack but are abused as such-curls, OHP, shrugs...etc.[/QUOTE]" i HATE that!!! but like you said they paid a membership as well! abd i guess its their right! BUT when people are curling i ask why do they need the rack to do curls? every answer i get is "cuz im isolating my biceps and dont wanna use my back" i laugh EVERY TIME inside! so then i have to explain, well if your deadlifting what you curl, then maybe you should be doing something else! lol they look at me everytine with this weird stare BUT yet dont get it! so frustrating!!
    Originally Posted by davisj3537 View Post
    If someone works in with you they'll be using your bar and safety height...if not they won't work in. You don't change that stuff between sets.


    You pay for a membership just like everyone else so as long as you are doing something that requires a power rack then no one can complain. Common things that don't require a squat rack but are abused as such-curls, OHP, shrugs...etc.
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    Personally, I avoid working in with others unless I absolutely have to. It is unavoidable at times, and in the cases you need to work in, I'd say the unwritten rule is to not make the process overly complicated. All you should need to do is rack/unrack weights. Adjusting the bar level and safety pins on top of racking/unracking is way too much.
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  8. #8
    Will squat for cookies. HealthNut12's Avatar
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    My gym has only one power rack. The only time I work in is if someone is deadlifting and I'd like to squat or the opposite. The deadlifting platform is in front ot the rack so no one has to change weights of anything, it's just a matter of space.

    I understand that everyone pays for membership but if I'm doing bicep curls in the rack (and yes, I have) if I see someone eyeing the rack I will let them use it and finish my curls with somewhere else. I feel that squats and other exersices that need the rack for safely and can't be done anywhere else should be given first priority.
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  9. #9
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    I've only had one issue at my gym with the lower rack and of course it was some guy doing curls with 10lb weights on it. I've had issues lately with forward lean on the squat so really wanted the safety. Asked guy nicely how long he had and he said 3 sets so I put stuff down and went off to side to stretch a little. Came up to me and asked me to leave.

    If you work in with someone you need to reset their weight for them. Usually they will help but don't jack up the weight and expect them to remove all the weight. Just my 2 cents
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    if you curl in a power rack you're an a$$hole.

    if you ask to work in and you expect the other person to strip the bar for you... you're an a$$hole.

    if you ask to work in and you move the pins or hooks...you're an a$$hole.

    if you ask someone "how many sets you got" ...stare someone down for 10 minutes, then proceed to do curls/rows or pulls... then you're an a$$hole.
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  11. #11
    Black Knight Jimthegiant's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by JC819 View Post
    I'm new to squatting and having been working on my form lately. Usually I'll just use the olympic bar w/o any weights. When I start putting on weights, It'll probably be fairly light for the first few weeks. Since my gym only have a couple of power racks, I anticipate that I'll probably have to work in with someone or ask if I can work in with someone using the rack. Is there any etiquette with someone using relatively light weights within the power rack sharing with someone using alot more weights? Specifically, is it going to be a PTA to keep unloading and loading weights, repositioning the hooks and safety pins, etc each time we switch off?

    Also, when the squat or power racks on the gym are being occupied, is it ok to grab one of the olympic barbells off the bench press (there are plenty of these always free) and start practicing squat form or doing warm-up sets in front of the bench or alternatively, move the barbell somewhere else in the gym so I'm not taking up space near the bench?
    Taking a bar from a bench or rack which isn't in use is fine.

    Working in with someone using different weights depends on the individual. Doesn't hurt to ask. I nearly always say yes because I take quite long breaks and switching weights doesn't bother me but they ALWAYS have the right to say no. Only time I say no is to people who don't return the favour.
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  12. #12
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    Originally Posted by Yodums View Post
    Personally, I avoid working in with others unless I absolutely have to. It is unavoidable at times, and in the cases you need to work in, I'd say the unwritten rule is to not make the process overly complicated. All you should need to do is rack/unrack weights. Adjusting the bar level and safety pins on top of racking/unracking is way too much.
    ^ This
    Originally Posted by JRMoore82 View Post
    I've only had one issue at my gym with the lower rack and of course it was some guy doing curls with 10lb weights on it. I've had issues lately with forward lean on the squat so really wanted the safety. Asked guy nicely how long he had and he said 3 sets so I put stuff down and went off to side to stretch a little. Came up to me and asked me to leave.
    The guy asked you to leave? Like the area you were stretching in?

    F*ck that, if I'm waiting for a person to finish up on some equipment, I stay within eye sight of it. If leg day and I'm waiting for a rack, I usually go a little bit away and start stretching and warming up myself. If other type of equipment, I'll go use something else but keep eyes on the equipment, so I know when they finish and they aren't trying to flag me down to let me know they're done (people in the gym are usually good about holding equipment for you if you asked to have it next).
    Originally Posted by Jimthegiant View Post
    Taking a bar from a bench or rack which isn't in use is fine.

    Working in with someone using different weights depends on the individual. Doesn't hurt to ask. I nearly always say yes because I take quite long breaks and switching weights doesn't bother me but they ALWAYS have the right to say no. Only time I say no is to people who don't return the favour.
    ^ This. Plus I won't allow a pair of guys to work in with me. One person is no problem to work in with me. Two people, nope, I won't do it. I'll just let them know how many sets / how much time I have left.
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  13. #13
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    Originally Posted by chazzy1864 View Post
    ^ This

    The guy asked you to leave? Like the area you were stretching in?

    F*ck that, if I'm waiting for a person to finish up on some equipment, I stay within eye sight of it. If leg day and I'm waiting for a rack, I usually go a little bit away and start stretching and warming up myself. If other type of equipment, I'll go use something else but keep eyes on the equipment, so I know when they finish and they aren't trying to flag me down to let me know they're done (people in the gym are usually good about holding equipment for you if you asked to have it next).

    ^ This. Plus I won't allow a pair of guys to work in with me. One person is no problem to work in with me. Two people, nope, I won't do it. I'll just let them know how many sets / how much time I have left.
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    Ask if you can have the rack next, wait patiently without wandering too far off, and when you get the rack, take all the time you need. Don't let other people work in if you don't want to.
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    I'm the first guy to ask someone if they want to work in when I'm using a cable machine, doing preacher curls etc. but please do not ask me to work in while I'm squatting. I've had to wait 15+ minutes on occasion for a squat rack, but once I get it, I prefer to be left alone until I'm done. Just my 2 cents.
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  16. #16
    Will squat for cookies. HealthNut12's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by NicktheStick View Post
    if you curl in a power rack you're an a$$hole.

    if you ask to work in and you expect the other person to strip the bar for you... you're an a$$hole.

    if you ask to work in and you move the pins or hooks...you're an a$$hole.

    if you ask someone "how many sets you got" ...stare someone down for 10 minutes, then proceed to do curls/rows or pulls... then you're an a$$hole.
    I know this a huge taboo. I was at the gym and I wanted to do barbell curls in the rack. There was a guy nearby and I said to him, "do you want to use the rack, I'm going to do bicep curls in it. I know it's a huge jackass move but if you want to use the rack I'll go elsewhere." He laughed and said, it wasn't a problem, he curled in the rack too and it was only a jackass move if someone was waiting for it. We were the only two people in the gym. (It's close to empty when I go.) I curled and didn't feel like a jackass...much. lol

    I know people frown on it and I understand why. Which is why if anyone is nearby I double check. And if anyone wants to use the rack, it's theirs. And the only curls I do in the rack are barbell curls. Dumbbell curls in the rack......no excuse. And I have heard of it being done although I have never witnessed it in my gym.
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    Originally Posted by NicktheStick View Post
    if you ask someone "how many sets you got" ...stare someone down for 10 minutes, then proceed to do curls/rows or pulls... then you're an a$$hole.
    I had this happen to me a few months back. Once he started doing his curls I just gave him a "really?" look.

    My school's gym only has 1 power rack. It's not a full cage, but has an adjustable safety catch. It is also the only place to do OHP without needing to clean the bar off the floor. As long as someone is not using it for Squats, I do my OHP in it. It also has a guide for a movable bench, so I also do my Bench in there as well (since I am usually the only lifter in the AM). Again, if someone else needed/wanted to use it for squatting I would have no problem using the other bench, that has no safety pins (especially since if I was in trouble there would actually be someone there to help lol).
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    either train at a time when the gym wont be crowded or plan on waiting for the rack.
    most people will be nice about it, but if you're squatting 95 pounds and they're doing 405 for reps, it becomes a pain to switch.
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  20. #20
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    Originally Posted by HealthNut12 View Post
    I know this a huge taboo. I was at the gym and I wanted to do barbell curls in the rack. There was a guy nearby and I said to him, "do you want to use the rack, I'm going to do bicep curls in it. I know it's a huge jackass move but if you want to use the rack I'll go elsewhere." He laughed and said, it wasn't a problem, he curled in the rack too and it was only a jackass move if someone was waiting for it. We were the only two people in the gym. (It's close to empty when I go.) I curled and didn't feel like a jackass...much. lol

    I know people frown on it and I understand why. Which is why if anyone is nearby I double check. And if anyone wants to use the rack, it's theirs. And the only curls I do in the rack are barbell curls. Dumbbell curls in the rack......no excuse. And I have heard of it being done although I have never witnessed it in my gym.

    I mean.... I can go take a giant poop in the shower and no one will ever know. That doesn't mean it's acceptable. I can justify it to myself, and strangers on the internet, I can even find other shower crappers that also think that their behavior is OK... but deep down inside, I know damn well that I'm a horrible disgusting pig that knocks out stinky logs in the shower.

    Curling in the squat rack, under any circumstance, is like taking a big hot steamy deuce in the shower. It's never OK.
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    Originally Posted by NicktheStick View Post
    I mean.... I can go take a giant poop in the shower and no one will ever know. That doesn't mean it's acceptable. I can justify it to myself, and strangers on the internet, I can even find other shower crappers that also think that their behavior is OK... but deep down inside, I know damn well that I'm a horrible disgusting pig that knocks out stinky logs in the shower.

    Curling in the squat rack, under any circumstance, is like taking a big hot steamy deuce in the shower. It's never OK.
    This may have changed my life. Even I wanted to I couldn't curl in the power rack....all I'd be able to think about is taking a dump in the shower. I'm postive your post just broke that habit. (Curling in the rack, I don't poo in the shower.)
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    I will gladly take a big hot steaming deuce in the squat rack if no one needs it for lifts that require the safety catches.

    + I'd rather curl in the squat rack then continually watch people perform what they allege to be a squat.

    ++ I tend to actually just straddle a flat bench and curl off of those safety catches. More flat benches than squat racks in my gym.
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    When I used to curl 135 for reps in the squat rack nobody said anything. Those safety bars are great for heavy curls.
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    Originally Posted by chazzy1864 View Post
    ^ This

    The guy asked you to leave? Like the area you were stretching in?

    F*ck that, if I'm waiting for a person to finish up on some equipment, I stay within eye sight of it. If leg day and I'm waiting for a rack, I usually go a little bit away and start stretching and warming up myself. If other type of equipment, I'll go use something else but keep eyes on the equipment, so I know when they finish and they aren't trying to flag me down to let me know they're done (people in the gym are usually good about holding equipment for you if you asked to have it next).

    .
    Ya. Said I was bothering him. Nicely said I was just waiting since he said he only had a couple sets. He felt like I was mad dogging him. Told him why I needed the rack and asked why he couldn't just have curled with the 60lb bars or in the crossfit racks (the ones that have the bar rack but that's it) and told him I am just waiting (No one at our gym holds **** for no one. It's a free for all.) I was probably 5-6 ft away from him so I wasn't on his ass or nothing man. *shrug. Who knows.
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    Originally Posted by Tommy W. View Post
    When I used to curl 135 for reps in the squat rack nobody said anything. Those safety bars are great for heavy curls.
    If your curling some godly weight I would be inclined to agree. But the guys with a 5lb or 10lb plate.........come on man
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    I would argue that doing OHP in a rack is the only safe place to do it (heavier at least). Have yet to have anyone complain of me doing OHP in a rack anyway. If your OHP is pretty low though, you probably don't need a rack, but I routinely do close to or 1 plate or heavier, and you can't even get straight bars that go that heavy in my gym anyway.

    And yes I think I would be inclined that I would be okay with someone doing STRICT 135+ lb curls in the rack (once again for safety, since you really don't wanna be dropping that crap on the ground at that point), but if you're gonna haul it up like you can't even curl 50 lb strict, then yes I'm gonna call you out.
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    Originally Posted by JRMoore82 View Post
    If your curling some godly weight I would be inclined to agree. But the guys with a 5lb or 10lb plate.........come on man
    I think it makes those guys think they're powerlifters because they're using the power rack
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    Smile

    If I see someone waiting whilst I'm on the rack, il genuinely ask them if they wanna work in, as I don't mind the company. The only time I won't is if they are very short, as I'm 6'3, so they won't be able to take the bar from my height. Il always let them know though how many sets I have, as some people find it awkward asking.

    If I'm waiting for the rack, il just go over and ask how many sets they got, as it don't bother me asking. This isn't to rush them, this is so nobody else jumps in ahead of me when the guys finished.

    Fortunately I know most of the regular guys that go down the gym at the same time as me everyday, so working in isn't a problem. My gym isn't really a massive bodybuilders gym either, the most I've ever seen anyone squat is 140kg, and that was only the once. So most guys that work in with me are lifting a similar amount of weight, so changing the weights isn't a problem.

    As for curling in the squat rack, I believe there should be a sign up saying no curling in the rack in all gyms, as it really is a joke.

    I don't mind when people are doing deadlifts, rows, OHP or heavy shrugs in there , as I think a power rack is kind of needed for those exercises. But curls is taking liberties.
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    Originally Posted by JRMoore82 View Post
    If your curling some godly weight I would be inclined to agree. But the guys with a 5lb or 10lb plate.........come on man
    There are always guys that curl 5 or 10 lb plates in the squat rack at my gym. I think they do it because 1) they like curling the barbell since it is appears to be a heavier weight, and 2) because it is easier to put the barbell down onto the safety bars instead of the ground. Pretty annoying if you want to use the rack for squats
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    Originally Posted by NicktheStick View Post
    I mean.... I can go take a giant poop in the shower and no one will ever know. That doesn't mean it's acceptable. I can justify it to myself, and strangers on the internet, I can even find other shower crappers that also think that their behavior is OK... but deep down inside, I know damn well that I'm a horrible disgusting pig that knocks out stinky logs in the shower.

    Curling in the squat rack, under any circumstance, is like taking a big hot steamy deuce in the shower. It's never OK.
    Only time I think it's ok is if your gym doesn't have heavy enough barbells i.e. my gym only goes up to 100lbs I've seen some guys rep 185lbs for sets. But now if you are curling 65lbs in that shyt, you gotta get the eff out and go home.
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