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Gym Etiquette Tips

Proper gym etiquette basically amounts to being considerate and not annoying others in the gym.  Most rules of etiquette are common sense, but some are specific to the gym environment and not so obvious, especially to those new to working out.  I’m sure no one wants to offend or annoy others due to lack of knowledge about gym etiquette.  Follow these 22 tips to be an ideal gym member, loved by all!

  1. Clean up after yourself – no one wants to lie on your sweat mark, look at your pile of trash, or walk through the trail of mud that came off your boots. Wipe your sweat off the equipment and don’t leave a mess in the gym.
  2. Dress appropriately – wear something clean that doesn’t expose yourself and others won’t find offensive. Common sense goes a long way here.
  3. Watch your mouth – Avoid foul language, especially F bombs. Don’t make fun of others who are in the gym trying to better themselves.
  4. Re-rack your weights – and return mats, plyo boxes, exercise bands, foam rollers, etc. to their designated location. The other members shouldn’t have to put your weights away before they work out or go searching for equipment because of you.
  5. Come to work out – being friendly and sociable is encouraged, but don’t sit on a piece of equipment for 10 minutes while you’re chatting about your date with Sally or playing with your phone, especially if the gym is busy. When catching up with friends, be sure to step out of others’ way or consider taking it to Starbucks.
  6. Stay home when you’re sick – we know you’re tough enough to work out while sick, but be considerate and keep your infections at home. If it’s minor enough to come in and work out, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze and wash your hands often.
  7. Share! – try not to spend more than 15 minutes or so on a piece of weight equipment or 45 minutes on cardio (30 when the gym is crowded). If someone asks to “work in” with you on a weight machine, be courteous and say “yes” or “I’m almost finished” and wrap it up.
  8. Offer a spot – if someone looks unsure about their next set of presses or approaches you to ask for a spot, offer to help. The standard way to spot is to keep your hands under but not touching  the bar, help just a little when the bar stops moving on the way up, and grab it if the bar starts crashing back down towards them.  If they’re bench pressing, ask if they want a lift-off too.
  9. Give others some space – don’t jump on the treadmill right next to someone when there’s an entire empty row available. Same goes with the dumbbell rack.  Don’t spread your stuff all over the locker room while you’re changing.  Space, people.  Space.
  10. Know when to leave others alone – headphones/earbuds in the ears are a general sign for “don’t talk to me”. If someone’s ears are free, don’t strike up a conversation while they’re in the middle of a set or a sprinting on the treadmill.  Wait until they’re taking a break and had a chance to catch their breath.
  11. Avoid walking between the mirror and a lifter during a set – it’s rude to distract someone while they’re concentrating on their form and could potentially cause an accident.
  12. Don’t offer unsolicited training advice – it might be tempting to enlighten someone with your superior training knowledge, but many people find it annoying and most won’t follow your advice anyway. Unless you’re witnessing an accident waiting to happen, keep it to yourself.
  13. Tell the instructor your limitations before class – if you’re new to a class, have an injury, or know there are some exercises you shouldn’t do, let the instructor know before class begins. An experienced instructor may be able to modify the exercises for you.
  14. Don’t be the classroom Diva – follow the instructor’s routine, not your own. If you want to be the instructor, try asking the owners for an audition.
  15. Don’t be late to class – aim to arrive at least 5 minutes early to get settled in and find your spot.
  16. Don’t pimp your products – business solicitation at the gym is not appreciated.  Be courteous and let members work out in peace.
  17. Don’t stare at or hit on gym members – the gym is not the place for that. It usually makes people uncomfortable.  This goes for ogling group classes as well.  If you’re unsure whether you’re staring too much, you probably are.
  18. Don’t bring junk food into the gym – the gym should be a safe haven for dieters and healthy eaters without the temptation of pizza or snickers bars.
  19. Don’t do curls in the power rack – curls can be done just about anywhere in the gym, while heavy squats, shrugs, and other exercises can only be done safely in a power rack/cage. When you do curls in the power rack, chances are you’re making a serious lifter angry!  If the gym is empty and multiple racks are available it’s a different story – curl away.
  20. Get in and out of the changing room – don’t take forever in there, or worse, wander around naked which can make others very uncomfortable.
  21. Avoid excessive screaming/grunting – grunting is acceptable during a big lift or the last few gut busting reps of a tough set. Grunting loudly through an entire workout that includes 30 pound cable curls and tricep pushdowns is unnecessary and distracting to everyone else in the gym.
  22. Avoid dropping or throwing weights – there are a few scenarios where dropping weights is Okay, such as weightlifting on a platform with bumper plates intended for that purpose or a dropping dumbbells (in a controlled manner) that you can’t safely lower on your own. Dropping weights out of laziness or throwing them in an alpha display is abusive to the equipment and could get others hurt.

Long list – test on Monday!

Hopefully a few of them were new to you.  If you know of any others, feel free to post them below.

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