10 Tips for Proper Gym Etiquette

Let’s cut to the chase. There’s nothing more annoying than being one of the guys/gals who does any of the following. If you want to be hated in the gym, by all means try one or maybe all of the below. If you do so, consider yourself lucky to walk out of the gym without someone confronting you. So plain and simple, keep reading and make sure you know how to stay in the clear and keep everyone happy at the gym.



Unload your weights

So you just got done squatting three hundred and fifteen pounds in the rack and now you’re going to move onto some leg presses. Don’t think or expect the next person to use the squat rack after you to be able to move that kind of weight. Take all the plates off of the bar and put them away. This is just one specific example but it need to hold true for all equipment where you need to plate-load the weight. Just because us guys can push a decent amount of weight doesn’t mean that a lady isn’t interested in doing free-weight squats or bench press. So be courteous and take your weights off.

Put your weights back

This goes along with number one, but also touches on dumbbell users. Don’t strip the weights of equipment and sit it on the floor or against something. This spells nothing but trouble. If someone were to walk by and trip over the weight, he or she could get seriously injured. The same holds true with if you lean the plate up against a machine or wall. If someone walks by and it falls over, it could potentially cause some damage to that person’s foot and/or leg. Please take the extra ten seconds it would take to put the plates back where they belong.

Don’t hog all the equipment

Just because you want to get in and out of the gym as quick as possible doesn’t mean that everyone else doesn’t. We understand time constraints, but that doesn’t mean you take precedence to any piece of equipment you want just to get done quicker. If you want to super-set that is fine, but first make sure no one is using or in line to use the piece of equipment. Be patient and wait your turn if you must or move onto another exercise and come back to that machine.

Wipe down your equipment when finished

What if I told you that you had to go lie down on a particular bench that had a puddle of sweat on it? Pretty nasty, right? Don’t be “that guy”. Yea, we’re guys and we sweat. At least have the common courtesy to wipe off the piece of equipment you are on so the next person doesn’t lay or sit in your bodily fluids. Simple solution is to carry around a workout towel with you and when finished with the exercise, wipe it down and move onto the next thing in your workout.

No dropping the weights

Have you ever been next to a guy using one hundred plus pound dumbbells who couldn’t control them and after each set had to drop them on the floor next to him? Imagine that dumbbell dropping on your foot. It’s not pretty. Don’t be that guy. Not only is it annoying to have someone slamming the weights down in the gym, but it’s not safe. If you can’t control the weight and put it on the floor or rack correctly, then you are going too heavy. Not only are you putting yourself at risk of injury, but also everyone around you. If you must, use a spotter to help you.

No screaming

Now I’m not telling you that you need to work out as if you are in a library, but be conscious of the people around you in the gym. There is absolutely no reason to “scream” in the gym. Sure, a grunt here and there on heavy sets is OK, but I’ve even seen some idiots (guys) grunting and screaming when using ten-pound dumbbells - talk about embarrassing. Keep the noise level to a minimum so you don’t interrupt others working out around you.

No cell phones

This is one of my pet peeves. People, leave your cell phones in the car or locker. There is no reason to have your cell phone out in the gym. Are you there to work out or to do work and chat on the phone? If that’s the case, you should have stayed in the office or at home. You are in the gym to work and push yourself. If you have time to talk on the phone or text/email then you aren’t working hard enough. Get in and get out – then you can talk/email/text/whatever you want. Most of the time you find the culprits doing this sitting on the machine you want to use and you end up waiting until their thirty-minute conversation with their mom is over. Keep your cell phone off the gym floor – this also includes the cardio room. No one wants to be running on a treadmill next to you listening to how your boyfriend dumped you for some chick that looks like Godzilla.

This isn’t Match.com

I must admit, there are a lot of very attractive women who work out at gyms and take care of their bodies. On the flipside, women, as you know there are a lot of guys at the gym with slabs of muscle and abs for days. This is not a personal dating site. You don’t go to the gym to hook up. If you want to mingle outside of the gym and talk that is perfectly fine. There is a time and a place for everything, and this is certainly not the place.

The locker room is not your personal bathroom

If nature calls, then nature calls. I’m not telling you that you cannot use the locker rooms to do your business, get changed for a workout, and get showered up after. What I’m saying is, don’t be the person who hogs up the counter in front of the mirror while doing your hair/make-up/whatever. Don’t leave your trash, toiletries, shavings, finger/toenails, or anything else lying around or on the floor. Pick up after yourself. We aren’t your mother, and we certainly aren’t going to clean up after you. Be courteous and take care of your belongings. We don’t care if you have the messiest bathroom in the world at home and leave junk everywhere; just don’t do it at the gym.

Don’t be like “Pig-Pen”

We all know the character “Pig-Pen” from the comic strip Peanuts. “Pig-Pen” is known in the strip for being dirty. Hygiene is something everyone needs to be conscious of. By all means, please use deodorant. No one wants to work out around someone that smells like a dumpster. Bathe on a regular basis and make sure you practice proper hygiene.


Matt WeirFitness expert and author Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN has been in the fitness industry since 2002. He is currently the Manager of the MET-Rx Team Sports division. He works with colleges and professional sports teams all across the U.S. to supply them with recovery and nutritional products for their athletes. Matt is an established writer, with hundreds of articles and interviews in magazines and on websites. He has research published on exercise dependence and has been featured on many websites and radio shows. Matt is also a certified personal trainer, certified strength and conditioning specialist, as well as being a certified sports nutritionist. He has worked with everyone from middle school athletes all the way up to pro athletes and celebrities. More information can be found on Matt’s website: www.MattWeik.com.


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