Rules of the Weightroom


I am all about creating the right training environment. In order to do that you have to have rules. Athletes may view the rules as restrictive but, there really is a method to the madness. What follows are the weightroom rules I’ve developed over the years. We use this both at BU and at Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning.

Rule 1-Treat people the way you want to be treated. They don’t call it the Golden Rule for nothing.

Rule 2- No lifting gloves. I hate lifting gloves. To be honest I hate all weightroom paraphernalia. Gloves, long pants, workboots and flannel shirts have no place in the weightroom. I hate gloves because I actually hate guys who don’t want callouses. Calloused hands are the sign of a worker. I want workers. My upperclassmen used to love when a new guy shows up with gloves. They are such sadists that they let the poor kid come into the weightroom with his gloves on just to see me tell him to put them back in his locker.

Rule 3- No IPOD’s.  I used to say no Walkman’s, how old am I? I still occasionally use the term Walkman when referring to an IPOD and get curious looks from my players. Why no IPOD’s? I want unity and interaction, not each guy jamming to his own tunes. I also think they are unsafe. Some guy blaring Pearl Jam may not hear you when you say “look out I just dropped a really heavy dumbbell”.

Rule 4- No music that contains obscenities, racial or sexual references. I had trouble figuring out how to make this point clear. I knew the words I did not want to hear I just needed to be able to express it. I felt like the late George Carlin with the Seven Dirty Words You Can’t Say on TV.  I came up with this. No derogatory racial terms ( that eliminated one word easily) and no reference to sex with family members ( that eliminated the other, use your imagination). I tell the guys, “you want rap or hip hop, download the clean version at ITunes or get me Walmart rap”.

Rule 5- No tank tops for males. Yes, this is an incredibly sexist rule. Women can wear tank tops, but men can’t. We actually had a little fight over this at work and this is how I explained myself.  First, yes I know this is a double standard. I’m not stupid. However, males in tank tops spend too much time trying to catch a look at themselves in the mirror. Plus, if you allow males to wear tank tops they will continue to cut them down until there is barely any shirt left.  With females, tank tops are all about empowerment and confidence. I want the young women who train with us to be confident and like the way they look. There are far too many negative messages about body image in their lives. This is not the case with males hence the rationale for my double standard. Some of my coaches didn’t like my stance. I had to remind them that the name of the gym is Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning. When they have their own gym they can have their own rules.

Rule 6- shorts must cover both ends of your ass. This is a unisex rule but applies differently. I think it is great that a young female feels good about her body however, I don’t want to peak at her underwear every time she bends over. Exercises like hip lifts and 1 Leg Straight Leg Deadlifts become too adventurous in these cases. The opposite is true for males. For a young female we are covering cheeks for a young male we are avoiding the jail look. This is simply my old fashioned coach persona at work. Pull up your shorts and cover your underwear. Truth is you look like an idiot with your hat on sideways and your underwear showing. Old fashioned, maybe  but as above, I get to make the rules.

Rule 7 -Don’t be an _ _ _ hole. I have no use for big timers. If you want to yell and scream and throw weights, go somewhere else.  The big impression is made in lifting the weights, not in putting them down. If you lift heavy weights I promise people will notice. You don’t need to yell.

Hope you find some of this humorous and some useful.

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13 Responses to “Rules of the Weightroom”

  1. Another great blog Coach Boyle! Preach on big man. I look forward to hearing more on these rants.

  2. mboyle1959 Says:

    We don’t have trouble with our female clients and gloves, it’s just a no. However we have been doing it this way for a long time. I have a harder time with my college football players as they think lifting in the gloves they play in makes them look cool.

  3. Coach Boyle,

    Do you ever have difficulty convincing some of your female athletes not to wear gloves? From working with females in the general population I have seen many varied responses when I advise against the use of gloves. Some are fine right from the get go, but many women aren’t exactly keen on the calloused hands look………………and the worker angle doesn’t go very far in coaxing them to rethink their stance. Just curious if you’ve had many issues on this front. I would suspect female athletes tend to be easier to convince.

    The only time I’d consider pants is if doing conventional deadlifts, but since you are more inclined to use the trap bar for these, I can see how even that consideration disappears. And a pair of high gym socks could work in a pinch, although I can see how that might get someone tossed out of your weight room, hah, hah.

    All in all, the more old school approach is definitely respectable and makes a lot of sense. And as always, your results speak for themselves. Thank you for sharing this.

  4. RON SCARPA PROFESSIONAL BAREFOOT WATER SKIIER says it the best Gloves are for gardening! MIKE stay strong we are following you! If you wanna be a BODY BUILDER go to a Body Building Gym…You wanna be a ATHLETE train with MIKE!

  5. Straps for hang cleans only. I don’t believe in limiting hip power for grip strength.

  6. no gloves? how about straps?

  7. Mike,
    Love it. Esp. the Ipod stuff. Too me the focus should be on the work not on your music list. It’s no different if they’re running. The iPods remind me of all the mindless people on cardio machines slogging away with no intensity or focus yet expecting something magical to happen result wise. It ain’t happening sunshine…focus and concentration takes exactly that. You wouldn’t play your sport with an iPod, at least I hope not. Again I’m old fashioned like you.
    Bruce Kelly

  8. Funny, when we opened the gym 20 years ago, Dave set it up with serious rules. He took some heat — one of the Dungeon originals having gym rules? — and he and I locked horns on one (no books, newspapers or magazines anywhere on the gym floor). But you know what? He was right. His rules made that a GREAT place to train. People always commented on what great workouts they had there, but few recognized part of the quality was Dave’s rule enforcement.

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