Gym Etiquette – Dos and Don’ts

By Cashman – MuscleTalk Pro-Member

Many of us have been there in our local gym, getting frustrated as a group of people are chatting away on a bench or machine without lifting any weights for 10 minutes, or the person that does their side bends directly in front of the dumbbell stack when you want the really heavy dumbbells.

In a perfect world everyone would use common sense and be naturally thoughtful of others 100% of the time but, unfortunately, we live in a real world… not a perfect one!

Based on other’s comments I hear in my gym every session, I feel it’s a good idea for gym users (new and old) to refresh their memories. Some of these points people may disagree with, but if you are aware of them, apply common sense and stay mindful of them then you’ll help to make your training environment a happier place to be.

Thanks to the contribution of many MuscleTalk regulars I thought I’d put together some key points that are easily forgotten by the experienced on occasion, and often unknown to begin with to the new starter. It’s not hard to apply some basic rules and follow good gym etiquette.

The Key things you SHOULDN’T DO

  • Do not leave equipment covered in your sweat – wipe it down with a decent gym towel / tissue. People would rather not use their own towel to wipe off another person’s sweat
  • Do not sit on equipment you are not using (especially if it’s busy)
  • Do not hog equipment by spending unnecessary time chatting too long between or after sets (especially if you are using equipment that there is only one of)
  • Do not train too close to other equipment you are not using or block others access to equipment or walkways, etc (especially if it’s busy)
  • Do not interrupt people mid-set by talking to them or asking a question. Wait until they have finished the set (this happens to me quite a lot)
  • Do not move too near people when they are lifting as it can be very distracting having someone walking right behind you when you are deadlifting
  • Do not ignore other’s request to share equipment you are using while you are resting between sets
  • Do not leave weights or plates littered around the gym floor. The least you can do is stack them nicely or move them to one side when you’ve finished if you’re too lazy to put them back
  • Do not just move equipment that has just been left alone for a moment. Check to see if it’s finished with first (they may have just gone to get a drink of water or some more paper to wipe down equipment with)
  • Do not, if not needed, have your mobile phone on. It is very distracting having phones going off in a gym every 5 minutes then people talking really loudly above the music to be heard. If you’re not expecting an urgent call then leave it in your locker

Things we SHOULD remember

  • Do be mindful of the space around you and if you are restricting other’s movement to certain areas or equipment
  • Do ensure you maintain your personal hygiene. It’s not nice for others to smell your two week old training shirt that you’ve been sweating in every day
  • Do ask to work with others between their sets on equipment you may have been waiting for
  • Do allow others to work with you between your sets if they are waiting for your equipment. If they look less experienced than you then offer it anyway as they may just feel intimidated
  • Do ask if people are finished with equipment once they have got up. Try not to assume they have
  • Do ask people to move if they are crowding you or restricting your access to other equipment
  • Do be polite as much as possible
  • Do train in the right areas when the gym is busy. If you can free up equipment by doing the same exercise elsewhere (e.g. bicep curls in the power rack) then do so
  • Do use common sense and sensible judgement with most situations
  • Do try and be flexible with others who may not know better

As you can see, this is not rocket science but basic common sense and respect for others. At the end of the day, it’s very easy to pay our fee and take the gym for granted. We just need to remember that it is not only ourselves that train there.

Happy lifting folks!

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