There are many different types of gyms, but there’s a basic format for gym etiquette. Regardless if you’re a veteran or signed up yesterday, following these rules will earn you the respect of your fellow gym mates. Check back to this page periodically, as we will update this list as we come across more and better rules.
If you’re not so easily offended, check out BroScienceLife to listen to the Brofessor get into the nitty gritty of gym etiquette. Gym etiquette starts with you and not with others.
It can be difficult to change someone’s mind if they been brought up to believe they’re always the only person in the gym. However, you can set an example for others by avoiding confrontation and remaining as respectful to others as possible.
Table of Contents
Try not to stare at other people
The gym is full of good-looking, well-built people. No one is going to deny that.
Furthermore, seizing the initiative to improve oneself is an even greater attraction factor for others when you think about it. But remember, you’re there to improve yourself. If you’re there with a buddy, you two are there to support and improve each other. In the end, no one else matters.
You’re inevitably going to see people that are bigger, faster, and stronger than you. You might watch what exercises they do in order to be just like them. It seems harmless, but remember, no two bodies are exactly the same. Furthermore, lifting at the gym is not the only part of the process to building a better you. Eating healthy and consuming lots of muscle building protein are huge factors in bodily improvement.
Staring at people is awkward for both parties. Focus on you and you alone.
Rerack your weights
This is perhaps the most agreed upon rule in gym etiquette. We all have that one friend who just downed a bottle of pre-workout and is ready to smash every lift and machine he or she sits down on. They may even leave their bumper plates on bars, dumbells near the benches, and kettlebells on the platforms.
Whether they’re just too engrossed in their workout, forget, or just don’t care, these are huge no-no’s.
You may be there only for your own self-improvement, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t respect other’s right to self-improvement. Reracking weights shows that you are experienced and respectful of others. In our minds, these facts earn you some major brownie points.
Be respectful of gym employees
Gym employees are there to help your experience. Regardless if it’s just someone at the counter or a trainer, be respectful of that person’s time and duties. If the weight room is closed for some reason, don’t take your frustration out on employees. It shows that you have a complete lack of awareness.
Ask questions if you’re unsure about an exercise or workout. Some trainers and instructors have taught classes and exercise science for years. As my first boss once told me, it’s better to ask a stupid question than make a costly mistake.
You’re not the only one in the gym
Rarely are you the only person in the gym. You may have better luck early mornings and late nights but still, some people may have the same idea as you to avoid large crowds.
Yelling and screaming obscenities when lifting large amounts of weight isn’t going to earn you many fans. In fact, it might just establish you as a disrespectful because other people trying to focus on their workouts as well. We get it, lifting hundreds of pounds is going to take a lot of breath and strength. It also isn’t too hard to keep yourself in check.
Help a fella out
I know what I said about staring at people and being at the gym for only your improvement. However, if you notice someone leaning too close over the bar when deadlifting or struggling with weight, please help them. There are enough injuries in the gym because of people trying to lift too much; we don’t need people getting injured for mistakes that could easily be fixed.
There are enough injuries in the gym because of people trying to lift too much; we don’t need people getting injured for mistakes that could easily be fixed.
Antagonizing other people because they can’t lift as much as you is a sure fire way to get you kicked out. No one likes someone with a superiority complex. What will earn you friends and respect is helping others and having an overall respect for the gym.
Funny enough, the day I wrote this article, I saw a man helping out a younger guy after noticing he was bending his back too far in the squat rack. This is the type of stuff we want to see.
Clean up after yourself
Fluids are icky, and no likes to be in sweat other than their own. It goes without saying that hundreds of people handle the same equipment and benches that you are every week. You don’t necessarily have to clean every piece of equipment you touch, just the ones that accumulate sweat. If your gym doesn’t have spray bottles stationed nearby, you’re probably at a very unsanitary gym. Usually, these stations will be on or near water fountains.
- Benches, tables, and mats hold the most amount of sweat, as you’ve probably noticed by frequent dark spots. That’s just nasty.
Don’t interrupt others
This category kind of goes hand in hand with having an overall respect for others. If you feel that someone is taking too long with a certain bench or exercise, telling them to get off is not clean etiquette. People pay to use the weights and classes just as much as you do and therefore have full access to them.
We know people follow certain plans like sticking to arms, chest, or leg day, but just because one station isn’t open doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world.
It’s as simple as finding a new exercise to do until the one you want is done. Rarely, if even, is someone going to remain at the same station for more than fifteen minutes or so. Yes, it can be aggravating to watch if someone isn’t using the station every second,
- We realize there might be situations where someone is hanging around or in a station either talking to someone or browsing their phone. In this case, it’s perfectly okay to ask if they are still using that given station. More often then not they are just waiting there and don’t realize someone is waiting on them.
The trick, is not becoming aggressive and overtly angry. That type of emotion simply breeds it in other people, and we don’t like where that goes.
In the end, a lot of what has been said about gym etiquette boils down to two things—you, and respect. Avoid becoming the angry one when something isn’t going you’re way. You probably won’t get an award for your efforts, but the great thing is that others will recognize and follow your example.
Even if you don’t realize it, the spreading of proper gym etiquette will eliminate improper etiquette in other people.