The gym hosts a variety of people, from long-time gym rats to new-year new-me newbies. But regardless of your gym experience, it is vital that you are aware of proper gym etiquette.
Gyms usually won’t inform you on what you should or shouldn’t be doing. At most, the gym will hang signs next to the water fountains or disinfectant sprays stating you should wipe down the equipment and re-rack your weights.
Unfortunately, many gymgoers don’t adhere to these rules. They toss the weights around the gym and leave sweaty equipment for the next guy. For those who are new to the gym, or those who have been shamed for their wrong behavior, I have compiled a list of 6 essential gym rules. Follow these rules to better yourself and give everyone in the gym a pleasant experience!
1) Clean Up After Yourself
No one wants to start of their workout by wiping down a bench and un-racking 315 pounds. Cleaning up after yourself means wiping down and disinfecting the equipment after you’re done using it, and re-racking any weights or dumbbells you used during your workout.
This allows others to jump right into their workout without having to clean up your mess first. You also end up helping the staff by allowing them to go home earlier at the end of the day.
2) Check Your Ego at the Door
There is nothing worse than seeing a young guy coming into the gym with his bros, making a b-line to the bench press, loading up double the amount of weight that they can handle, and then proceeding to quarter rep the bar while the others cheer him on.
This type of behavior is extremely annoying for everyone else in the gym and will build absolutely zero muscle mass. Instead, check your ego at the door and only load up as much weight as you can handle with proper form and range of motion. This will allow for proper muscle fiber recruitment and won’t piss off everybody else.
3) Offer to Spot Others
It’s impossible to always have a training partner to spot you during your workout. If you see a fellow gymgoer who looks a bit unsure of himself going into the next set, don’t be afraid to ask if they need a spotter. Who knows, maybe you will make a friend and have a training partner in the future!
In the same vein, don’t hesitate to ask for a spot if another gymgoer looks like they’re resting or unoccupied. I would much rather spend a minute spotting someone than helping to lift a barbell off someone’s neck or chest. It’s all a matter of safety and helping out your fellow gymgoers.
4) Don’t Interrupt a Set
I get it, sometimes the gym gets overcrowded and all your favorite equipment is in use. It’s completely acceptable to ask fellow gymgoers to work in or ask them how many sets they have left, but just make sure they are not in the middle of a set when you do so. They will also be much more likely to say yes if you wait until they’re done with their set!
Another thing to look out for is giving enough space to others in the middle of their set. Lifting safely requires you to focus 100% on the exercise, and having some clown walk right next to you in the middle of a squat or deadlift will throw you off resulting in a less than optimal set, or possibly an injury. So, don’t be that clown.
5) Don’t Break Equipment
Dropping weights is loud and distracting, but that isn’t the main reason why most gyms won’t allow you to do it. Most machines and complex equipment have many smaller parts that can easily break, and weights not specifically created for Olympic lifts, such as bumper plates, are not designed to be dropped every set or rep.
Dropping weights puts extra stress on the equipment, requiring more maintenance or quicker replacement for parts. This costs the gym money which is then passed down to the members in the form of maintenance fees or increased membership rates. Save yourself and others some money and don’t drop the 90-pound weights after a set of incline dumbbell presses.
6) Be Nice to Newcomers
Everyone was once a newbie to the gym. It is easy to judge those who perform exercises wrong, hopelessly wander around the gym, or are too afraid to ask for help. Whether you remember it or not, you used to be that guy.
If you see someone who doesn’t quite have the confidence you possess around the gym, don’t be afraid to be that helping hand they need. If you see someone struggling to figure out a machine, show them how to use it. If you see someone looking around, ask them if you can point them in the right direction. Be that guy you wish you had when you first started your fitness journey!
In general, gym etiquette is all about creating a safe and pleasant environment for everyone using the gym. As with all things in life, not everyone will follow these rules, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t either. Set a good example, and others will follow.
If you’re a newbie to the gym and would like some help building muscle, make sure to check out my post on the most effective foods for muscle building. And if you’ve been training for a while but haven’t seen any progress, check out my post on things you may be doing wrong!
I hope these 6 gym etiquette rules helped you with quickly assimilating to gym culture! Is there anything you just can’t stand in the gym? Let me know in the comments!