Today in the office gym, this guy was doing Olympic movements with bar. And for every lift, he was impulsively flexing his belly and was getting in clearly awkward position. Which is dangerous considering the amount of weight he was lifting. I tried to explain to him that he should start with less weight and perfect the posture first. The guy got angry for telling him the correct way. And I wouldn't have corrected him if it wasn't dangerous.

How should I react to these situations?

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    Sometimes, the how is just as important as the what. How did you comunicate to him that advice? Was there a big difference in ages between you and the guy? Commented Sep 11, 2017 at 10:43
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    A better question would probably be how to properly give the advice in the first place. After they've rejected it is too late to be trying to fix it.
    – NotThatGuy
    Commented Sep 11, 2017 at 13:48
  • I believe that this post may be similar: interpersonal.stackexchange.com/questions/3654/…
    – Abhigyan
    Commented Sep 11, 2017 at 14:46
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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Catija
    Commented Sep 11, 2017 at 21:20
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    Hey, I know this is an old question but IPS changed a lot since then and this kind of "what should I do" question is no longer a fit here (I just wanted to let you know since I voted to close it).
    – Ael
    Commented Apr 12, 2019 at 10:57

8 Answers 8


Smile and move on.

Do not let your kind approach being bothered by people refusing to take advice. When people reject your kind advice, there is nothing much you can do.

Since you have done your part (proper advice on how dangerous that is), it's on them to choose whether to take advice or not.

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    I'm sorry, but I'm downvoting this until it gets edited to include something to back it up. Just making a statement without any support for it does not constitute a good answer for this site. I'm happy to retract the vote after it gets some backup, though :)
    – Mithical
    Commented Sep 11, 2017 at 19:08

Does the office gym have some kind of supervisor? If so, you should inform that person of the problem. It is really their responsibility to confirm the proper usage and safety for those using the equipment.

That doesn't mean you can't suggest a better/safer method to someone (assuming you are qualified to do so). But don't tell them ("The guy got angry for telling him" as you said); a polite and friendly suggestion usually works better.
But if they ignore your advice, let it go.


I almost never help these people as they often respond as they did in your example. Just walk away and feel content that you offered help. It's their flaw, not yours. Sometimes you can even use them as a bad example for friends/people who appreciate your advice.

I'm wondering how you told him. In my experience, this type of person has a super fragile ego. If you wish to help them, simple rephrasing might do wonders:

"Hey man, I see you can press an impressive amount of weight! But I also noticed that your technique has a bit of room for improvement. Can I give you some quick tricks?"

That emphasized the amount of weight they're doing, which often is their way of measuring progress/skill, and thus not an "attack/insult" on their skill. They want the quick solutions, and to look muscular as quickly as possible.


Something to consider when offering advice about anything physical...

Not everyone is built the same way, and people can be sensitive about it if it seems like you're pushing a one-size-fits all solution on them. Advice meant for a statistically average person can be dangerous to people with unusual builds, and stress all the wrong muscle groups. For instance, someone who is very barrel-chested may wind up benching with their neck muscles if they use an average-width bench grip (yikes!). As for stomachs, some men have big bellies even when they have a six-pack, so you may have misinterpreted what was going on. (I knew a guy who was built like this, and he hated going shirtless at the beach even when he was the fittest person there, because he was embarrassed by his belly. I don't think he would have liked having someone at the gym point it out.)

If you feel you must give advice about lifts, focus on which muscle groups, etc, should be feeling stress, and which shouldn't. Or perhaps, "Doesn't it hurt your ___, doing it like that?" You can express your concern in a neutral, pleasant way. If your guy's 'awkwardness' was due to an unusual build, you probably came across as a self-appointed expert on someone else's body.


So there are several general trainers in the gym, and some personal trainers.

You've not mentioned if that person has hired a personal trainer. Well, if he has, it's the trainer's job to see how and what he is doing. So, a good approach would be to go to his personal trainer and ASK (not tell) if that is the correct posture/method of doing the exercise.

If he doesn't have a personal trainer, there are general trainers who can be asked for help by anyone without hiring them. You could go to one of them and say that it looks dangerous how 'X' is doing those lifts. Is that how they should be done or if X is wrong, would you like to go point it out to him that he's not doing it correctly. Maybe, also show him how it's supposed to be done.

  • This method avoids any direct communication with X.
  • It also makes 'X' pay heed to what the general/personal trainer says, as he is more likely to listen to them than anyone else.
  • Also, it is the job of the general trainers to help people with their posture. So, they would gladly choose to help you (rather X, in this case).

If 'X' still chooses to ignore, there's absolutely nothing you can do.

  • Public trainers at a gym? Since when?
    – Weckar E.
    Commented Sep 13, 2017 at 9:07
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    @WeckarE.: Not public, general trainers (that have been hired by the gym). They are there to help anyone in need. Since when you ask? Since long. :)
    – Sachin
    Commented Sep 13, 2017 at 9:22
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    I only ever visit "use at your own risk" gyms, so I suppose the cheaper approach prevents them from hiring any. Still, interesting.
    – Weckar E.
    Commented Sep 13, 2017 at 9:44
  • I would say that for anyone just starting should hire a trainer, to help you understand the exact posture and how your body reacts to the regime. Once you get a hang of it, you may decide to go to a "use at your own risk" gym
    – Sachin
    Commented Sep 13, 2017 at 9:47
  • My culture is very anti professional aid, whether it is medical, legal, or otherwise. I doubt there are even trainers available if I wanted to hire one.
    – Weckar E.
    Commented Sep 13, 2017 at 9:49

Just say to yourself you did the right thing. It's pretty natural to get angry when someone points to your mistakes, I know this happened to me as well. At least you can be sure your advice didn't go unnoticed, even if the behavior didn't change (it may take time for the guy to accept his mistake). I wouldn't alert anyone else right away, since that would only shame him more, unless there's a significant risk of trauma with long-lasting consequences.

If you see the guy later on doing the exercise the right way, just say hi. You may get your well-deserved "thank you for the advice" belatedly.


You've already done all that you are obliged to do - more than that in fact. Advice on how to use equipment safely is not solicited nor required by this person, so offering it is a step beyond what you actually needed to do for him - if you wish, you can let it go and move on.

If your concern is for this person's well-being and safety, and you really care about them (for whatever reason), you can go even further beyond necessary and offer to spot for them - even knowing that they're using an inappropriate technique - so that if they do injure themselves, you'll be able to help them when it happens.

Again, this is beyond what is necessary - you don't technically need to interact with them at all. But if you're committed to helping them, you could offer this in addition to what you've already offered.

If they stilly say no - well, that's their decision. Pressing it would be rude, so the only thing you really could do at that point is to move on.


Keeping to tell someone who has already made up their mind how to do things rarely helps. However if he is interested in gyming, he's probably checking out places and communities online which are about gymming. Instead of telling him, go on there (anonymously if you want) show videos of people doing it the wrong way where it goes horribly wrong and they get injured. Even if that guy doesn't care about your advice you probably help at least some people to make sure they do the exercise right.

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    So the guy got angry from just a word of advice, and you're suggesting to the OP to knock it up a notch? That might as well get their smartphone smashed. Commented Sep 11, 2017 at 17:00
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    The initial unsolicited advice was not wanted. The response to that should not be escalating it with a video presentation. This is the complete opposite of what should be done, and really, really bad advice.
    – user5561
    Commented Sep 11, 2017 at 23:27
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    @mathreadler - that is wrong on so many levels. No means no. If someone isn't interested, they aren't interested. It doesn't mean bombard them with more and more graphic detail. Let it go. Walk away.
    – user5561
    Commented Sep 12, 2017 at 6:36
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    @mathreadler : I think what I did was not a bad thing. I told him politely. Still he got mad. If someone is so disrespectful, Is it worth wasting our time by going on other social/digital platform to tell him? Commented Sep 12, 2017 at 8:32
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    @VDevD - you're initial mistake was telling him. Politely or not, you should always ask if they'd like assistance. If they say no, leave it. Not much more to do without coming across as a bit of a berk
    – user5561
    Commented Sep 12, 2017 at 9:50

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