The Gym Machine 26% Of People Always Skip When No One's Looking

Going to a gym can be intimidating for a lot of reasons. But once you're in the door, you can lose yourself in your music and your workout. Most of the time, anyway. There are certain machines that just feel more intimidating than others. Whether the machine has a reputation for difficulty or it's a muscle group you don't work that often, you can feel like you're under a spotlight whenever it's time to hit that part of your workout.

And you're not alone. The feeling of being watched at the gym is unfortunately common, especially with cell phones making it out onto the gym floor as music players and progress trackers. It is so common, in fact, that when one Quora user posted a question about it, every single related question was virtually identical to theirs. People hate feeling watched at the gym.

For some, the feeling is so strong that they'll skip part of their workout if someone is looking. The specific machine varies from person to person, but we wanted to find out if one machine was more common than any other, so we asked our readers. 527 of them answered, more often than not picking one of two staple machines.

Pressing their luck

Almost 26 percent of people pointed to the bench press as the one machine they will not use if other people are watching. The Stairmaster came in as a close second with 25 percent of the vote.

It's not surprising that the bench press came in first. While the Stairmaster can get your heart pounding and make you sweat, the bench press is a little more intimidating. Lifting a weighted bar straight up in the air above you while you lay on your back just sounds dangerous. And if you don't use the proper form, it can be.

That's why Noah Bryant at Muscle and Fitness created a beginner's guide. He wants people to feel comfortable on the bench press, and that starts with the proper form. Bryant says that people who are intimidated by the bench press usually don't settle on it properly, creating a bad experience that reinforces their desire to skip it.

He recommends that people give it a shot with the proper form and see how they do. Plant your feet firmly on the floor and lay back with your butt and shoulders tight to the bench, a slight bend in your lower back. Pull your shoulder blades together and flex your lats to reinforce your upper back, and hold this position throughout your reps.

If the bench press still isn't your thing, try these alternatives from Healthline. Bench dips, dumbbell curls, and pushups — a daily favorite of Anthony Mackie's — can get you the workout you need without putting you on the spot.