Don’t Do It In The Gym

This is not a complete gym etiquette article. I won’t tell you how many laps you can acceptably hog the auto belay for or how to tell that V1 crusher that they’re going to blow up every tendon in their arms if they keep doing weighted hangs. Instead, this a mini “Don’t Do It In The Gym” rant.

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PG-13+ Try Hard Sounds…Sure Adam Ondra and Chris Sharma are famous for screaming their way up 5.15s, but please don’t be that person who screams, grunts, and, worst, moans, their way up anything in the gym. An occasional try-hard grunt or quick “ra” sound is okay, but yelling your way up a climb is incredibly distracting for everyone else. And, to put it bluntly, if I close my eyes and can’t tell the difference between your try-hard sounds and an X-rated adult film….you’re doing it wrong, especially if you’re on toprope.

Taking Off Your Clothes…Sometimes the gym is beastly hot (73+ degrees Fahrenheit) and the only way you won’t sweat off the campus board is to pop top. Other times, everyone else is wearing light jackets to belay, and you’re the only shirtless human in the building. In the case of the latter: Please don’t. No one wakes up thinking, I can’t wait to go to the climbing gym to admire that shirtless guy/girl’s abs, so if you’re wearing significantly less clothing than everyone else in the gym (a beanie does not count toward how much clothing you’re wearing), please consider putting on at least a tank top.

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While acceptable in my old college basement, this is not gym-appropriate attire. Photo: Julia Haas

Weight Vest Misuse…I once witnessed a fit twenty-something running laps on one of the autobelay 5.5s with a weight vest on…If you don’t know why you shouldn’t do this, just know that you shouldn’t. The reasons have very little to do with science (besides it being an ineffective training method for most climbing situations expect hauling backpacks up lots of easy climbing terrain) and a lot more to do with not looking like a gumby.

Belayer Mistreatment…Not everyone is a good belayer, but you should never alert the entire gym that you’re currently blaming your failure to send an indoor route on your partner. More simply: Do not yell at your partner for anything non-life-threatening while at the gym. They are likely not the reason you can’t haul your out-of-shape, tired, and/or grumpy self up the wall, and, if they are, don’t yell–just find another partner or get psyched on bouldering.

Bouldering Mat Snuggle Sessions…New-to-climbing couples take note: I feel mildly nauseous every time I see you cuddled up together on the bouldering mats, arms around each other’s shoulders and noses half-an-inch apart. You are not at a drive-in movie theater; it is not dark; you are not invisible; you are in public; you are not cute.
– XOXO Liz (Maybe I’m a cynical jerk…)

So, feel free to snuggle, wear weight vests for normally chill activities, exercise in your underwear, yell at others for things that are really your fault, and make sex sounds somewhere else, but, please, don’t do it in the gym:

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