Many people, regardless of specific goals and level of fitness, find the gym an intimidating place. Newbies are apprehensive about trying things out, scared that they’ll get things wrong, anxious about looking stupid in other people’s eyes. And there is a lot of equipment and different types of machines that may seem alien to new gym goers. On the other hand, some people push themselves way too hard, and others let their egos get the better of them, lift too much weight, and suffer the consequences. It’s how injuries occur, truly disgusting injuries that could affect that individual physically, but also scar those who witness them mentally, scaring them away from the gym. Read about the stories in this article, and it’ll probably have the same effect on you.
The gym environment can be a pretty scary place. Sure, you get these gyms that are more like health clubs, gyms that look all nice and pretty, light and airy inside – these are much more welcoming places than those hardcore muscle building gyms. But wherever you go, whatever the atmosphere in the gym is like, sometimes things happen, things that are completely out of your control, that could end up scaring the bejesus out of you and make you run for the hills.
Whether you hear about it, actually see it, or go through it yourself, these stories are bound to make you think twice about going through those gym doors again. Some of the people in this list have encountered really horrific situations in the gym. They’ve been injured, hospitalized, traumatized, and one person actually died. Thank your lucky stars you didn’t witness these events, but reading about them will probably have the same effect of keeping you away from the gym. If you want to then use this article as an excuse for skipping your upcoming gym session, that’s fine, tell your buddies to read it and they’ll understand – they’ll be in the same boat!
15. Crushed To Death
The bench press is undoubtedly the king of the upper body workouts. It’s used as a means of comparing strength: “how much do you bench, bro?” is a saying that’s heard a lot around guys who lift and have a bit of muscle. That’s because it’s a compound exercise that allows people to lift heavy, and consequently people feel the need to load up the bar and just got as heavy as possible in order to give their egos a boost and feel like the main man (or woman). Whether that’s what 22-year-old Kyle Thompson did or not, we don’t know, but he certainly went heavy. You can see from this pic of him squatting that he was a pretty big guy, and had enough weight loaded on the barbell to claim his life when it crashed down on top of him.
It really was a freak and horrific accident. It occurred late last year at the Elite Edge Transformation Center in Ankeny, Iowa. Kyle was benching, didn’t have anyone to spot him, and the weight ended up slipping and ultimately ended up crushing him to death. He suffered severe internal injuries before passing away later in hospital. Understandably, those in the gym who witnessed the event were horrified. Everyone ended up meeting with grief counsellors, but still, it’s the worst thing that could happen in a gym, and was probably enough to put a lot of those gym members off from returning, and certainly bench pressing, again.
14. Jens “The Beast” Dalsgaard Suffers Hemorrhagic Stroke
Those of you who follow all these bodybuilding and fitness personalities online will certainly know of Jens “The Beast” Dalsgaard. He’s somewhat of a celebrity in the bodybuilding world and a successful businessman too, and he’s certainly a recognizable figure with his huge body and all those head tatts. It doesn’t take a genius to work out why he’s called The Beast! But even the bodybuilding beasts who walk this earth are prone to getting into serious strife in the gym. Look at Jens and you’d think he’s made of Teflon, but in 2016 he ended up in hospital while visiting an expo in the UK.
Jens is a busy dude, so before he ended up in hospital, he was flying around the place, meeting people, doing what he does best, but neglected to take on enough fuel. He hadn’t eaten or drank enough fluids, but when he touched down in England and met up with all his buddies, he was eager to hit the gym. But just three reps into his first set of incline presses, he just stopped, couldn’t push any more, and his body just crashed and shut down. He had a seizure, he said he felt like his brain was being crushed, and then nearly exploded. When the emergency services were called they found out he had a brain bleed. It just goes to show that you need to be smart when training in the gym, you need to take precautions. If this can happen to guy with decades of training under his belt, it can happen to you too.
13. Sylvester Stallone Starving Himself
Sylvester Stallone has got one of the most impressive physiques on the planet. He’s been pounding the iron for over half a century and the results are there for all to see. What’s remarkable is that he has managed to maintain his level of fitness and train like an animal pretty much throughout his career, balancing working out with all of his other commitments, like killing it onscreen. Even today he could give any youngster, any younger bodybuilder, a run for their money, and he’s 70. Yes, 70!
Sly’s bulked up now and again – the 2008 Rambo movie is prime example of a time where he’s packed on muscle – but he’s generally renowned for being ripped beyond belief. We first got a glimpse of just how lean he is during those earlier Rambo movies. During those times, training for those films, he pretty much killed himself – sometimes he actually very nearly killed himself – in the gym. He’d train like a pro bodybuilder, under the watchful eyes of professionals, lifting a huge amount of weight and doing tons of sets, but with barely any fuel. He’d eat a couple slices of burnt toast, have coffee shots, and a can of tuna a day. Every other day he’d add in a piece of fruit for some sugar just so he wouldn’t pass out, which is what he felt like doing pretty much all the time. It was a seriously unhealthy diet, but that’s the price he had to pay in the gym and with his diet to achieve that ripped, lean physique he’s become so famous for.
12. Pop Goes Those Blood Vessels
Dave Crosland is a mutant, a freak, a mass monster, there’s no other way to describe him. Pretty famous in the UK, and recently the world, for being one of the biggest guys around, Dave has achieved popularity and some level of fame not only because of people flocking to him because of his size, but also because of his openness in regards to training and taking drugs.
Because of his sheer size, the weight he lifts, his lifestyle, and the amount of drugs he’s constantly pumping into his system, Dave’s had some serious injuries in the past, but those who saw him when he appeared on a BBC documentary must have been freaking out. If you saw it happen in the gym, you would be. It would definitely put you off going to the gym for good, but those around him in the gym seemed to be used to it as it was probably a regular occurrence. I’m talking about when Dave’s head started bleeding.
He was on a BBC documentary doing a piece on steroid culture in the UK, and as the show’s presenter walked into the gym, all that could be heard was Dave screaming, trying to get those final few reps on the leg press machine completed. As he was pushing, blood vessels under his skin began to pop and he started to bleed, due to his blood pressure increasing because of the amount of weight he was lifting. Reggie Yates, the presenter looked seriously freaked out! It probably scared him away from going into another gym for quite some time.
11. Rubbish Plumbing
Here’s a story that someone posted on one of those fitness forums. Half of you reading this will probably find it funny as hell, but the other half will appreciate just how horrific a scene it must have been. Put yourself in the gym as you’re reading this and you’ll probably rip up your gym contract and never return.
There are some pretty nice, snazzy gyms, but there are also some really poorly-maintained gyms too. You pay your gym fee and the least you’d expect is for there to be a drinking fountain, that’s a must. In this gym, there was a water fountain, but on one occasion, instead of providing water, it was spurting out sewage – is that disgusting or what?! Someone didn’t realize, so wanting to hydrate after a workout, took a sip, drunk it, and you can guess what happened next. He instantly vomited all over the place, and seeing the sick all over the gym floor, a couple of people who witnessed the incident were sick too, leaving a pile of vomit on the gym floor and sewage still spurting out of the fountain. The smell and scenes in that gym must have put quite a few gym goers off from ever returning.
10. Diarrhea Comes Gushing Out
Those of you who live the health and fitness lifestyle and have your diets in check will know that on occasions, you end up getting the runs. It’s all that healthy food, all those vitamins and minerals, all that fibre from the tons of veggies you’re consuming that can make you rush to the toilet. Supplements also tend to play a major part in causing an upset tummy, and consequently loose bowels. If you use a supplement that doesn’t agree with you, a dodgy protein powder for example, things aren’t going to be pleasant. But since you’re living that whole lifestyle, feeling like your arse is going to explode isn’t enough to put you off from a hardcore gym session. It’s all well and good going to the gym when you’re in that predicament, but be smart about it – the one thing you shouldn’t do is squat.
This horror story centres around a guy who’s doing his thing on the squat rack. In the middle of his rep, another gym goer recalls hearing a sound. He looked over at the guy squatting and pretty soon figured out he had just cacked his pants. He was wearing shorts too, so that runny brown stuff could be seen running down his leg and ended up on the gym floor. Needless to say, the people who witnessed it bolted out of the gym and left the guy who pooed his pants on his lonesome.
9. EZ-Bar Smash
This is a common problem in the gym and it’s something that’s on a lot of “gym fail” videos. People, in their haste to work out, fail to securely clasp the weight on whatever bar they’re using, and consequently, plenty of funny stuff ends up happening. Funny for you and I, but occasionally, what happens isn’t so funny but truly horrific. No one would’ve been giggling about this accident.
Brennan, who works for the Under Armour clothing company, recalls something he witnessed in the gym one day. He was in the weights section and there was a guy doing bicep curls with the EZ-bar – the bar that’s shaped in a kind of Z shape – next to him. He hadn’t put the clips on to stop the weight plates from falling off, so inevitably, a plate fell off which caused the bar to become uneven and the heavier side to crash down onto the guy’s foot. That would seem painful enough, but when he took his shoe off, he found one of his bones had punctured through his sock. He’d even broken four of his toes. It was like something straight out of a horror movie.
8. Machine Mishap
Like I said in the intro, if you’re a novice gym goer, it’s a good idea to get someone who works there to show you what’s what and how to use certain machines safely and effectively. Sara failed to do this and she paid the price.
When Sara first joined the gym, her goal was to lose weight, so she was only really interested in the cardio machines, the treadmills, cross-trainers and whatnot. She didn’t have a clue what all the other machines were for and wasn’t confident about stepping away from the safety zone of the cardio area. But once day she eventually worked up the courage to try something new. She made her way to the ab machine and started doing crunches, but failed to lock the weight in place. Mid-set, the head support whipped back, her face was smashed to pieces, her nose broke, lips were split, gums were cut, and there was blood all over the place. It looked like a murder scene, and put her, and a lot of others I’m guessing, off going to the gym for quite some time.
7. “The Barbarian” Brothers
“The Barbarian” brothers, consisting of twin brothers David and Peter Paul, are actors and were a pretty big deal back in the 80s. Their acting abilities weren’t anything to rave about, but they achieved fame and popularity due to their bodies. They were avid bodybuilders, truly huge guys with impressive physiques, and it’s because of this that they got a number of film roles.
This is a story that’s told in Gregg Valentino’s – a celebrity in the bodybuilding industry, deemed to be one of the most hated men in bodybuilding, and formerly the guy with the biggest arms in the world – book, Death, Drugs, Muscle. In his younger days, Gregg and the twin bros worked out at the same gym. On one occasion, Gregg brought his girlfriend to the gym. The bros were working out and were at the squat rack. Now, any gym goer who lifts heavy weights will know, that sometimes you need some motivation, you need to get pumped up for a heavy set. So, the brothers began slapping each other, even spat in each other’s faces, and began shouting, which needless to say, really freaked Gregg’s girlfriend out. Then they started screaming at Gregg, ripping into him about lifting light weights – all gym banter, but Gregg’s girlfriend was about to run at this point.
She ended up running after she went to wait in the locker room, and witnessed one of The Barbarians heaving up the contents of his stomach all over the locker room floor. That was the final straw; she bolted out of there screaming in horror and never returned, and Gregg, not wanting to miss a workout, didn’t run after her, just sat there shaking his head and continued doing his sets.
6. Head Over Heels
This is another one of those stories that shows you’ve got to be prepared in the gym, no matter what you’re doing, even if you’re just sticking to the cardio section. When around machines, there’s always the possibility that things could go wrong, especially if you’re quite naïve or if you’re a novice gym goer.
You see this type of thing in movies or on TV all the time, tripping on the treadmill, usually after a guy’s looking around at a girl or something and is trying to act cool, and is propelled back and sent sprawling into the wall behind him. This man wasn’t looking at a girl, he was just adjusting his headphones. Next thing he knew he’d tripped on the treadmill and was sent crashing back into the treadmill behind him. But he didn’t learn from his mistake. That mishap didn’t deter him from using the treadmill, the next one probably did. On another occasion his laces were too long, and he clumsily ended up tripping, he gashed his elbow open, blood was pouring out all over the place, and he had to have three stitches.
5. Horrific Leg Break
If bones are going to break when in the gym, it’s either going to happen as a result of an accident, dropping weights, or because of leg training. I don’t want to deter anyone from leg day in the gym, but if training legs, especially if you go heavy and are doing an exercise such as squatting, there’s an increased risk of freak injuries occurring.
But what’s remarkable about this video is that the woman wasn’t training heavy – she was just going through the motions – and she was leg pressing using the machine, but still suffered a horrific injury. She was casually leg pressing, seemed to be putting in a bit of effort, when at the top of her rep, her left leg just folded and snapped back the other way, and seemingly broke in two. It was actually filmed, and those who’ve seen it will have yet another excuse for missing leg day.
4. The Most Hated Man In Bodybuilding
Someone once wrote an article on Gregg Valentino, calling him “The Most Hated Man In Bodybuilding” and it stuck. Plenty hated him because of what he did to his body and what that did to the sport; he had the largest arms in the world a remarkable 30 inches at their biggest– that’s the size of a lot of people’s waists! – and got so huge, not only by training like a man possessed, but also by pumping his body full of steroids. Every type of steroid he could find, he took, and he’s been very open about doing so. But when you put so many drugs in your body and use your arms like a pincushion, stuff’s going to happen.
One day Gregg recalls he was training in the early hours of the morning in the gym he owned. There were some more of his buddies there. Some had brought back girls they’d met at the club they’d just come from and were doing the deed on one of the machines, there were a couple of his cop friends there too, and his girlfriend at the time was also there. It was like an animal house. Gregg, though, was actually training, or trying too. At the end of one of his sets, his arm felt sore to touch, red hot. His girlfriend began massaging it, when all of a sudden, loads of puss began spurting out, landing everywhere. Just imagine that scene; on one side of the gym you have two couples having sex out in the open on some of the benches, and in the midst of all that you have a couple of jacked police officers training, then you have the guy with the largest arms in the world with puss squirting out of his arm, going all over his girlfriend. Crazy stuff!
3. Knocked Out
These compound movements and exercises – deadlifts, squats, bench press – are great for packing on size, allow you to go heavy, but going heavy brings its own risks.
Those of you who workout and lift heavy weights would know that from time to time, your muscle’s just fail. It’s called training to failure, and it’s actually what you want to achieve, and what makes the muscle grow – train to the point of failure, then get a spotter to assist you with a few more reps, those are the reps that will build the muscle. But the key thing in such a situation is to have a spotter, either your training partner or someone else around at the gym, just helping you squeeze out those final few reps. You may be able to get away with not having a spotter for certain exercises – if you’re bicep curling for example, you can swing and use your body momentum to get the weight up – but for those compound movements, having someone spotting you is integral.
The guy in this story didn’t have a spotter, pushed too hard when bench pressing, didn’t know his limits, and ended up paying the price. Mid-set, he reached failure, dropped the weight, and it came right down on his face, instantly knocking him unconscious and smashing out a load of his teeth. The person who witnessed it was horrified, as were the other gym users who were in the weights section at the time. The guy who was knocked out was never seen at that gym again.
2. Calf Raises
You may be thinking, how the hell can anything happen to someone on a calf machine? It’s a pretty simple movement, and there aren’t many variations to it. All exercises are pretty much the same and consist of that same movement. But fail to hook the machine, and disaster could strike, especially if you’ve stacked up a lot of weight.
That’s what happened to the individual in this story. He hadn’t hooked the machine properly, so as he finished his set and was preparing to get off, the bar at the top came down onto his collar bone and snapped it. He was instantly flattened and his body crumpled to the ground, seemingly bent in half. His friend thought he was finished, that he was dead. He lifted the weight off him and his friend on the floor was struggling to breathe. Emergency services were called and he ended up having a bruised spleen, broken collar bone, three cracked ribs, compression fractures on three discs, and he was just in a real mess. Four years down the line and he still hasn’t recovered, and apparently, hasn’t been back into the gym
1. Another Treadmill Story
This is a horrific injury if ever there was one. It just goes to show that falling on a treadmill can have disastrous consequences; it’s the machine the majority of people feel the most comfortable with using, but still, care needs to be taken. Treadmill mishaps make a lot of “gym fail” videos, but this is more than just a gym fail – it’s a true gym horror story.
This story is told by a guy who was on one of the neighbouring treadmills that day, and he saw everything that went down, literally. A fella next to him was running, doing his thing on the treadmill, when he tripped and fell down on the treadmill. As he was being taken backwards, he somehow managed to get a couple of his fingers caught between the belt and the roller. When the machine was eventually turned off and his fingers were pried free, two of his fingers were sticking out at a really horrible angle, bones had pierced through the skin, and there was blood absolutely everywhere. You’d think he’d be screaming in pain at that point, but apparently, he got up and simply said, “I think I broke my finger.” You think!
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