-By Richard Ellis, O + A Adventure Correspondent
Gents, drop the Blender Bottles, leave your gallon water jugs by the preacher curl bench, and for the love of God, CrossFitters, put your shirts back on. You’re not even sweating yet.
Now huddle up: We need to talk about grunting at the gym.
As someone who goes to a box (shout out to CrossFit) and does some solo work at a conventional gym, I get it. To hit that final rep, sometimes you have to make noises that sound like the lovechild of Thor the Thunder God and the Hulk singing Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” during his first colonoscopy.
That said, you can’t always grunt when something is difficult. If you’re the guy who grunts on every rep of every set, someone across the gym is wishing horrible things upon you and your offspring.
So, to prevent further abuse of the grunt, I humbly propose some rules:
1. You must be doing a compound movement. Deadlift, squat, bench press, overhead press, Olympic lifts, dips, pullups, etc. are acceptable grunting maneuvers. Tricep kickbacks and exercise band external rotations are not.
2. You must be using a lot of weight. In other words, no grunting during your warmup set. Your body weight is, relatively, a lot of weight for pullups, but not for walking lunges. Actually, never ever grunt during walking lunges.
3. You must look angry. No smiling when you grunt. Is that even possible? No, I just tried. Apologies to everyone else at the coffee shop.
4. You must be on the second to last or final rep. Yes, that means if you’re doing a one-rep max, you can grunt every time! Mazel.
5. Don’t look at other people for 30 seconds after a grunt. You’ve seen that guy who grunts, drops the barbell, and then looks side to side at the nearest strangers. He has small hands or some other insecurity. Own the grunt, or don’t grunt.
6. Talking to yourself is an acceptable warning signal for incoming grunts. You can brace people for a grunt by swishing air and then saying something like:
“C’mon, you got this”
“Ok, here we go”
“C’mon, get it up”
7. Arrrr, Rahhh, Hahhh, and Harrr variations are the preferred man grunts. Urrr, Eeee, Uhhh and Ihhh (“I” as in “icky”) are not. A source tells me one Park City gym goer grunts his rep count. Sir, unless you’re the Cookie Monster, that’ll be enough.
8. No post-grunt accomplishment celebrations. Unless someone else has acknowledged that your grunt led to something worth celebrating. Pacing back and forth is a form a celebration – and very disconcerting for everyone around you.
Ok, huddle is over, gents. Keep calm and grunt on.