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Gym Etiquette: Dumbell Racks (A "how To" Article)

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How to Use the Dumbbell Rack

Dumbbell-rack-300x200.jpg
Today we are going to talk about a topic that is apparently extremely difficult for many gym goers to grasp. This topic is something that on the surface sounds very simple and straightforward but somewhere along the line becomes extremely confusing. The topic is Proper Use of the Dumbbell Rack.

What is a “Dumbbell Rack”? Well that’s a good place to start – a dumbbell rack is a piece of equipment where dumbbells are stored when they are not in use. In most gyms this is located along a wall in the free weight area. Finding it can sometimes be confusing, as evidenced by the dumbbells left laying all over the place by people in many gyms. Take a look at the photo up above… that is what a dumbbell rack looks like.

Now that we know what it is – let’s talk about how to use it. When you look at it, if you arrive at the gym early enough in the morning, you may notice that the weights are arranged numerically in order from lowest weight up to highest weight. Often times there are numbers printed on the rack to indicate which weight goes in the specific spot on the rack. When you use a set of dumbbells, you return it to the spot on the rack where it came from. Simple right? Apparently it isn’t that simple because so many people just can’t get it right.

Allow me to give an example of how easy this is to do, for those that are having a hard time following the concept:

These are the dumbbells I was using today for an exercise:
IMG_1895-300x300.jpg

When I finished I looked at the numbers printed on the dumbbells, matched that number to the same number on the rack, and placed my dumbbells in that spot:
IMG_1896-300x300.jpg
Boom! All done! Very simple, and you don’t even need to know what those funny symbols printed on the weights or the rack mean to be able to match them up, it really is THAT SIMPLE.

What do you do if there aren’t numbers printed on the rack for you to play the matching game with?
This may be difficult, but if you look at the rack you will probably see a spot where the dumbbells are supposed to go as indicated by missing dumbbells. If not, someone may have stolen your spot in which case you can look at the other numbers and use your knowledge of the numerical system that you learned in elementary school at figure out where in the sequence your dumbbells should fit.

Quick Quiz

Can anyone spot the mistake that this person made?
IMG_1897-300x300.jpg

If you said “Some idiot doesn’t know how to count!” – you are correct! This person clearly did not make it through elementary school, because they do not understand that 70 does not come directly after 40. In this case they also failed at the “match the numbers” game, which is also something that most people can also accomplish while in elementary school. The proper way to handle this situation, if this was where your dumbbells were supposed to go, is to comment very loudly about how “some idiots apparently don’t understand how to count” while moving the dumbbells that don’t belong with an angry look on your face. It is also acceptable to substitute other words in place of “idiots” in the verbal portion.

So there you have it, a simple instructional article on how the dumbbell rack works! Hopefully this has been educational. I can only hope that the people at my gym take the time to read this, and maybe learn a thing or two… but I won’t hold my breath.

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Excellent article. And I for one can count so I ALWAYS racked correctly and when a guy racked an 80 on the floor I tossed it gently in front of him, almost got in a fight with a roid troll. ( I'd have lost as he was a big violent troll) but being of Celtic heritage I have no concept of an a$$ kicking... Needless he racked his weights, and steered clear of the "angry little elf" till I moved on to Arizona and learned to relax a bit.

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Good article. At my gym I'd be happy if people put the dumbbells in the wrong spot on the rack. At least they would be there. The dumbbells at my gym keep getting stolen.

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Excellent article. And I for one can count so I ALWAYS racked correctly and when a guy racked an 80 on the floor I tossed it gently in front of him, almost got in a fight with a roid troll. ( I'd have lost as he was a big violent troll) but being of Celtic heritage I have no concept of an a$$ kicking... Needless he racked his weights, and steered clear of the "angry little elf" till I moved on to Arizona and learned to relax a bit.

Haha! Nice!

Good article. At my gym I'd be happy if people put the dumbbells in the wrong spot on the rack. At least they would be there. The dumbbells at my gym keep getting stolen.

That's crazy! We're lucky that they usually replace broken or missing dumbbells fairly quickly.

On a side note - I forwarded this to the general manager at my gym... he found it extremely entertaining and let me know that he intends to order some new signage for the weight area and add an "etiquette manual" to the membership packets that new members get. Woohoo!

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