The Many Rules of Gym Etiquette

Gym etiquette is something that every gym member must ultimately learn. Deep in the underbelly of every gym is a secret code that is followed by generations of gym goers. Only the battle-tested men and women of the gym know the importance of the code and how it should never be broken. Newcomers must quickly adapt to the increasingly strict laws of gym etiquette or face the consequences. Without the golden rules of gym etiquette, the gym is no longer safe, for anyone.

Ok, so maybe I exaggerated a little bit. Actually, maybe I just completely made that up for fun. Although it is nowhere near the intensity of that first paragraph, gym etiquette actually is a very real thing. If you are not familiar with gym etiquette, I’m here to explain some of the rules and regulations that serve to make the gym a much more pleasant experience for you and everyone around you. So without further adieu, I present gym etiquette 101.

Read the Rules!

This is probably the easiest rule to follow for proper gym etiquette. Most self-respecting gyms will have gym rules posted on the wall. These rules can be different at every gym, but there are a few main rules that most gyms like to follow.

Don’t Drop the Weights

When you see this rule, it is referring to dropping weights you are using from a standing position onto the gym floor. It seems a little strange that I would need to explain how this is something that is a bad idea, so if you already know that dropping heavyweights from a standing position is a very bad and dangerous idea, I’m going to skip the details of this one.

One thing I will point out is that this rule is usually geared toward people doing deadlifts. For whatever reason, people sometimes drop the bar while they are doing deadlifts and it makes a loud crashing sound. Now if this drop is due to a safety concern then I am all for it. Unfortunately, this drop is usually done by people that actually want to be heard by other gym goers in an attempt to try to look “cool”. To these people I say, “You do not look cool, in fact, you look the opposite of cool”. The gym rules are there for a reason, so if you follow this one, that’s a huge step toward having proper gym etiquette.

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Re-rack Your Weights

In my opinion, this is the most common rule of gym etiquette that gets broken. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to the gym and found the gym equipment I want to use loaded with hundreds of pounds of weight. I then have to remove all of this weight just to start my workout. This is probably the most annoying thing a person with no gym etiquette can do. The removal of heavyweight from a gym machine is something that you should not have to do if you didn’t put the weight on yourself.

I have no idea how people think this is an ok thing to do. Most gym rules clearly state that if you add weight to a piece of gym equipment, you need to remove it when you are done. Yet some people completely disregard this aspect of gym etiquette and leave the weight for others to deal with. Not only is this an inconvenience for the next person to have to deal with, it is a serious risk for senior gym members that must try to remove heavy weight that they should not be lifting. I can’t tell you how many times I have had to help elderly gym members remove hundreds of pounds of weight from equipment that some self-centered gym member had left on them. If you want to have gym etiquette, this is one of the most important rules to follow.

Wipe Down the Equipment When You Are Done Using It

If you look for them, most gyms have a spray bottle of disinfectant on the wall along with towels right next to it. I wouldn’t say that all gyms have them, but most big brand gyms will. They are there for you to use to wipe down a sweaty bench or machine after you are done using them. This is the most hygienic aspect of gym etiquette. When people workout in the gym, they usually sweat. When they are using a bench to workout on, their sweat gets all over the bench. I don’t know about you but the last thing I want to do when I go to workout is to workout in someone else’s sweat. This rule falls under the category of the grossest gym etiquette rules to break.

Trust me, you do not want to be the person that leaves a machine or bench soaking wet with sweat. No one will be happy about that. Not only is this an important gym etiquette rule it is a very important hygiene rule. Germs and diseases can easily be spread in gyms and this is one measure in place to prevent that. Although it’s not a perfect system, I’m very grateful when other gym members wipe down the equipment they use.

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Don’t Be a Hog

One of the worst things you can do in the gym is hog all of the equipment. Gyms can be very busy at certain times of the day and some people resort to hogging all the equipment they can. This is a very frustrating aspect of improper gym etiquette. You do not want to be the person that sits down on the bench, grabs every dumbbell they can find and surrounds themselves with them. This is going to lead to angry fellow gym members. Proper gym etiquette means that you are respectful of yourself and others.

The best thing to do is to use gym equipment as quickly as you can while the gym is busy. Everyone came there to workout and it isn’t fair for one person to decide that they deserve to have the gym equipment all to themselves. If everyone has a faster-paced workout during the crowded gym times and shares the equipment with others, everyone will have proper gym etiquette that will make the gym a much nicer play to be in.

This is Just the Beginning

Proper gym etiquette is something that we can all follow to make the world a better place. Without gym etiquette, we probably wouldn’t last as a species on earth. Since the beginning of time, man has strived to follow proper gym etiquette in an attempt to further the advancements of the human species. Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit again, but you get the picture!

These are just a few of the many aspects of gym etiquette. Today I touched on the most common gym etiquette issues that you might find at your local gym. Most of the gym rules are easy to follow once you know what they are. Sadly, the list of gym etiquette mistakes is growing every day with the expansion of technology. Make sure to check back for all my updates on gym etiquette because this list is only going to get bigger.