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'Lady' asks stranger for space at gym; he says 'I'll just wait until you're finished.'

'Lady' asks stranger for space at gym; he says 'I'll just wait until you're finished.'


Working out is hard enough, and few people enjoy the added challenge of being surrounded by complete strangers.

When a frequent gym-goer found that a 'lady' was making him wait longer than usual, an altercation ensued. So, he came to Reddit's 'Am I the A-hole' forum to ask:

'AITA (Am I the a-hole) for telling a lady not to do hip thrusts at a bench?'

u/FinancialHigh writes:

Yesterday I was at the gym, and I noticed this lady who was doing hip thrusts at a flat bench. This looked weird, but regardless I went up to her and asked how many sets she has, to which she said one. As a result, I decided to wait until she's done with her exercise.

For those of you that don't workout, a flat bench press at any gym is 90% of the time being used, and most of the time you'll have to wait in line. It looks extremely bad to do any other exercise that can be done at a different spot where people don't have to wait. However, I let the lady do her exercise.

That's twice he's said that.

She then tells me with attitude 'Why don't you do another exercise until I'm done?' to which I say, 'I'll just wait until you're finished with your set.'

She tells me I don't know gym etiquette and that I'm impatient, to which I respond with 'Maybe you shouldn't be doing hip thrusts at a flat bench if you don't want people constantly waiting.' She then reports me to the staff.

The staff essentially saw where I was coming from, but does note that people can do any exercise at any machine. I told her I was aware, which is why I waited until the lady was done.

I'm asking AITA (am I the a-hole) because two other people who overheard the conversation said I was rude.

This story isn't just about unsolicited advice, it uncovers a debate about a key part of gym etiquette. Who is in the wrong according to experts?

All though majority ruling was YTA (you're the a-hole), Redditors were extremely mixed in their responses.

The_Ren_Lover thinks:

YTA. From your post, it seems like you took an unnecessarily rude approach from the start. The woman was there first and, as the staff said, she had every right to do her hip thrusts on the flat bench. Whether she had 1 set left or 10, she’s a member of the gym and can use the equipment how she likes.

As you mentioned, 90% of time there’s a wait, so you have to be patient like everyone else if the bench is being used as opposed to judging and being rude after a minuscule conversation and no wait. If she, the staff, and 2 others think you were an AH, you’re probably just an AH.

kitx38 says:

YTA. Simply for this response 'Maybe you shouldn't be doing hip thrusts at a flat bench if you don't want people constantly waiting.' Also, for someone who works out 5 x a week and lifts respectable weights, people can do any exercise they want on the equipment. The gym is a public space that everybody pays to use.

FinderOfPaths12 defends OP:

OP isn't saying that the person shouldn't do hip thrusts at a flat bench; he's saying that she should be prepared to have people itching to use the equipment and bothering her with questions about how many sets she had left.

Any time I've worked out on a flat bench, I've been asked multiple times how many exercises and sets I have left. I've been asked by people if they can work sets in. I've had people set up shop right behind me, staking their claim for when I'm done. It's standard protocol. Her annoyance with that norm is what he's saying is the issue.

ChimericalTrainer agrees:

Wow. People really struggle with IF/THEN statements, don't they? He didn't just come up to her and demand that she not do hip thrusts at a flat bench. He said (after hearing that she only had 1 set left), 'Okay, I'll wait until you're done' and she had a problem with that.

So, in response to her unreasonable demand, he said, 'If you have a problem with [X perfectly normal thing], you shouldn't be doing these exercises here.'

And he's right. If she has a problem with people waiting behind her for a highly-sought-after piece of equipment, then the answer is to not do those exercises on that piece of equipment. Not to be rude about it to other gym members who are following gym etiquette & behaving perfectly normally.

But FuerGrissaOstDruaka sees the woman's side:

Her comment was a polite way of saying OP was making her uncomfortable and she needed more space. Or she was politely telling them to back off because she was feeling rushed. OP chose to insult the woman’s intelligence by stating she “shouldn’t be doing hip thrusts on a flat bench if she doesn’t want people waiting”. Some interesting parallels with victim blaming there.

Now was OP “hovering” or staring too much? Maybe, maybe not. The only people who can tell us that are the two involved because what proximity I can tolerate is not necessarily what others can/will.

And Old_Duck6716 thinks they've got OP's number:

YTA. You started out seemingly polite-nothing wrong with asking how many sets they have left. Most people won’t lurk directly by but if it’s only one set left it’s not unreasonable, you can stand nearby as long as you’re not staring at them directly/hovering/directly in their line of sight.

Why you're the a-hole: from the start you’ve made it clear that you don’t feel like this lady belongs. You insinuate that you did her a favor when you “let the lady do her exercise” This entire entry drips of condescension and I’m sure it came across in your communication with her. I’m doubtful that you yourself used good etiquette when you approached her, you certainly didn’t in the conversation.

Later, OP clarifies:

I wasn’t staring at her. Maybe I should’ve been clearer in my post. I was waiting in an area beside the bench, but not directly in front of her or watching her. Essentially the point was for anyone walking by to know I’m waiting for the bench.

From flying_pancake3:

NTA (Not the a-hole), I don't understand where any of the commentors are coming from. The criticism seems to be: 'You should have done exactly the same thing, but somehow have it turn out nicely.'

So, what do you think?

Is this a case of a creepy dude or a fussy Karen at the gym?

Sources: Reddit
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