New Year’s Tip: Gym Etiquette Rules

If you’ve made the decision to intensify your gym routine in the New Year, you should know that almost all gyms have a set of “unwritten” gym etiquette rules that new gym-goers and veterans must follow if they want to be liked and respected by the rest of the members.

What happened to gym etiquette? No matter if you can deadlift 10lb dumbbells or a bar with 600lbs, a little common sense and good gym etiquette should go without saying … just be sure to follow these gym etiquette rules. NO EXCUSES!

  1. This should go without saying, but RERACK YOUR WEIGHTS when you’re done with them. Don’t be that guy that leaves 8 45lb plates on the leg press machine when you’re done using it.
  2. If you use chalk to improve your grip on pull-ups, deadlifts, bent over rows, etc., don’t be that @$$hole who claps your hands so you can dramatically see chalk fly everywhere. You’re not LeBron James … Just rub a little bit of chalk on your hands, rub your hands together, and get to work.
  3. If you live in a snowy or icy climate, wear different shoes into the gym than the ones you plan to work out in. Don’t be that guy who tracks snow, slush, dirt, ice, salt, and everything else into an area that people expect to be clean and safe.
  4. If you take your shoes off to have a better surface for squats or deadlifts, AT LEAST keep your socks on. No one wants your bare sweaty feet all over the ground they’re doing pushups or ab exercises on. C’mon, a little gym etiquette people.
  5. Don’t violently drop your weights if you can control it. Be respectful of the other members – they could be total newbies or senior citizens who could easily get freaked out by this.
  6. And to go along with the point above, don’t slam the cables back into place when you’re on the cable machines. There’s nothing worse than sharing a cable machine with someone else, doing different exercises, and feeling a huge BANG as the other person flings the attachment back into place. This can easily cause injury and is a huge distraction to others in the gym. Just don’t do it.
  7. Wear deodorant. That’s all.
  8. If you’re an extremely sweaty person, use a towel. If they aren’t provided by the gym, bring your own. The other members will appreciate not having to see and feel your sweat all over the machines and weights.
  9. Almost all gym facilities have antibacterial wipes or paper towels and cleaning sprays. When you’re done with a piece of equipment, clean it off. Reason #1: No one wants a staph infection. Reason #2: It lets the other person know that you’re finished with the piece of equipment.
  10. Don’t use 5 different machines at once if your gym is super busy. We get it – you want to superset exercises together and make the most of your time. But so does Sally, who is just trying to learn her way around the equipment. Use 2 machines or pieces of equipment at once, and be courteous of other members trying to get a good workout in during a short amount of time.
  11. If you’re using a bunch of different plates, don’t be the dude who puts them back in the wrong spots. Put the 25s where the 25s go. Put the 5s where the 5s go. Put the 45s where the 45s go. Don’t make Sally take 95lbs off of the rack just to grab a 10lb plate. This is just common courtesy and good gym etiquette.
  12. Do your exercises away from the dumbbells. We get it; you want to stare at yourself in the mirror. But make room for people who want to grab another set of dumbbells. Don’t stand right in front of them and start doing shrugs. You don’t need a mirror to get a good pump.
  13. Give people their space. We like the 5-foot rule. Give people 5 feet of space, as often as you can. Nobody wants to get tripped or smacked in the face just because you have no idea about personal space.
  14. When a powerlifter or serious bodybuilder is getting ready to max out, don’t walk right next to them or block their view. Even though we mocked people staring at themselves in the mirror, sometimes serious lifters use the mirror to watch their form on a super-heavy-lift or a 1-rep max on a big movement, such as the squat or the deadlift.
  15. Leave people alone if you can tell they’re serious about their workout. The gym is a great way to meet like-minded individuals, but it’s not a social club. Some people only have 45 minutes during their day that they can make it in the gym. Don’t distract people by striking up a long conversation and not letting them get back to their workout.
  16. If somebody asks you for a spot on their big lift, ask these questions to ensure you’re both on the same page:
    • “How many reps are you going for?”
    • “Do you want a lift off or not?” (help taking the bar off the rack)
  17. Don’t do curls in the squat rack, unless you want to become a viral internet meme. This is common gym etiquette. The squat rack is made for squats. You don’t need a place to rack your bar before and after curls. If you can’t deadlift the bar from the ground and set it back down gently, you shouldn’t be doing curls in the first place.
  18. Guys, don’t make the girls uncomfortable by staring at them when they’re trying to get a good workout in. Say hi, and smile, but keep your head down and focus on your own workout. If you want to briefly talk to her, choose your time wisely and don’t linger.
  19. If you use your phone during your workout as a timer, calculator, for music, or tracking your workouts, that’s one thing. But DO NOT talk on the phone loudly and be distracting to other members. If your phone call can’t wait, go to the waiting area, or go outside and make it snappy.

From the seasoned pros to the newbies, a little gym etiquette goes a long way to create a better gym environment for everyone. Try these nutritional tips before you hit the gym.

Did we miss any crucial gym etiquette rules? What are your pet peeves in the gym? Let us know in the comment section!