My Gym Rules by Peta

I don't think that anyone I know would characterise me as OCD. 

In any way. 

At all. 


At time of writing I have 3785 unread emails, and I admit to being the progenitor of our recent clinic chat "You can wash your hair with dishwashing liquid but you can't wash dishes with shampoo." (the residue just doesn't rinse off and it ends up making food taste like Jojoba or Desert Oasis or one of those other beauty product words we all pretend to understand. You're welcome.)

However ... I do get a bit twitchy in the gym. I just like things done a certain way - and I could be wrong here but I don't think I'm alone. So for the purpose of this blog I am appointing myself as chief spokesperson for The Society for People Who Are Annoyingly Particular About Gym Stuff But Not Necessarily Other Stuff. Membership is free.

Our charter applies exclusively to gyms that you may have to share. If you have a home gym then feel free to watch the world burn. But if there's a chance that someone else may enter, these are our terms: 

The Po Po are here

The Po Po are here

  1. Use the smallest possible number of plates.

  2. Load the heaviest plates closest to the centre.

  3. Put them back where they go, neatly and in order. (When the Society gets a crest, this will be translated into Latin and overlaid on a flaming banner held up by furious baby angels.)

One more thing: use matching sets. ie: if your gym has some yellow 15kg plates and some that are black - don't just grab one of each. If you want the #liftscience : different manufacturers may make plates that are ever-so-slightly different in weight, width or diameter, which would lead to your barbell being imperceptibly unbalanced. The real reason is by taking an unmatched set you are inflicting that eyesore on everyone in the area, and also potentially forcing someone else to use an unmatched set as well. 

I'm aware of how petty it sounds but honestly it's enough to disrupt our AGM... if we had one.

Now, the exceptions:

Obviously if there’s not enough plates for everyone in the gym or you’re doing a workout that involves sharing a barbell or limited changeover time then you have to improvise and break some rules.

And sometimes it's cool to chuck small plates on each end as you go - for instance you might want to add a 5kg to a 15kg plate to make up 20kg, if you're going to end up with 25kg plates on there by the next set. However, try to avoid doing your working sets with 5kg plates, if you can - the lighter plates are often in shortest supply and someone else might need them. Also some 5 kilos are made differently to other plates and are not suited to being dropped on the floor.

However, NEVER EVER: End up with more than one 5kg at each end. Or 2.5kgs. Or to a lesser extent 10kgs. The only plates it's totes OK to double/triple up are 20kg and 25kg. So you don't need to have more than one of any plate until you get to a hundo kegs, big dog. 

To conclude with a working example, here are our options for loading a 20kg bar up to 60kg:

OPTIMAL = 1x20kg at each end

ACCEPTABLE = 1x15 + 1x5kg at each end

SHADY =  2x10kg at each end

NOT COOL = 1x10k + 2x5kg at each end.

GTFO =  1x20kg at one end, 1x10kg + 2x5kg at the other

Let me know what you think in the comments ... or if you wanna fight I’m at Unit 11, 3 Bromham Place, Richmond on Mondays, Thursdays and every second Friday. 


Peta works as our Head Remedial Therapist and S & C Coach. She’s in the VIC state team for Surfboat Rowing and owns the world record for the 1km Ergo at 30-39yrs Female category. She can also hipthrust 200kgs. You can book in with her at Evolutio here