5 Gym Etiquette “Rules” You Should Follow

Your guide to the official, and unofficial, rules that make up universal gym etiquette.

Like most places, there are certain rules that you should follow—both official and unofficial. If you want to navigate through the dos and don’t of the gym, here are 5 gym etiquette rules you should follow to be a respectful and considerate member at your gym.

1. Wipe down the equipment/use a towel

This is a rule that existed long before COVID times, however, it’s even more essential now more than ever. At the gym, sweat is expected. However, it’s also expected that you wipe down all the equipment that you use after you’ve finished using it.

All gyms will have spray and disinfectant wipes around each area, so take advantage of it. If you don’t want to be using the bench with someone’s sweat on it, you can be certain no one wants to be using the bench with yours.

This rule also ties in with using a towel. Place a towel on the equipment or machine you’re using to create a barrier and minimize sweat transfer. But don’t think because you use a towel that you shouldn’t have to wipe it down. Do both and the gym goers around you will certainly appreciate it.

2. Respect other people’s time

It can be really difficult, especially during peak times, to find a popular machine free. In a situation where it’s first come, first served, sometimes, you need to really keep an eye out and grab the machine before anyone else does. In doing so, once you get the machine, make sure you respect other people’s time and them wanting to use it also.

Don’t hog the equipment for an unreasonable amount of time. Most gyms have a 20 minutes time limit for popular machines during peak times so that everyone can have a fair go at them. Even if your gym doesn’t have a sign, be mindful of other people who may be waiting for you to finish.

3. Always ask

Another way to combat the use of machines during peak hour is to share the equipment. If you see someone using a machine you want, don’t just start using it during their rest break. Ask politely if it’s okay for you to ‘work in’, meaning you can use the machine during their rest break and vice versa.

Some people may have timed rest breaks in their programs so it may not be ideal for them while others will have no issue. The key is to always ask respectfully (and when they’re not doing a set).

Another gym etiquette rule is to always ask if they’re using the equipment that is near them. If you’re not sure whether they’re finished using the bench or the weights next to them, just ask. Politeness will go a long way.

4. Be considerate

While it’s good to ask people if they’re using the equipment or if you can work in, be considerate about when to ask. Don’t stop them in the middle of their set or if they’ve just picked up the weights. Doing so will break them out of the zone, not to mention, it can also be dangerous.

Instead, wait until they’re clearly on a rest break before approaching them. They’ll appreciate it and will be more receptive to your question/request.

Another consideration to take into account is if you should ask if you can work in or not. If the person you want to share the barbell with is lifting way beyond what you can, then it might not be ideal to do so. Working in with considerable weight changes means having to constantly take on and off plates that will take too much time and energy.

5. Put your equipment away

If you’ve ever been to a gym where the weights are literally anywhere on the floor except for where they should be? Don’t be that person that drops their weights and equipment and walks away. Not only is it incredibly annoying for the next person to have to navigate, but it’s rude and disrespectful to other gym goers as well as staff members.

If you’re strong enough to take them off the rack and use them, you’re strong enough to put them back where they belong.

Following these 5 gym etiquette rules means that you’ll be a courteous gym member that others would love to be around. While it may seem like a lot, it all comes down to being considerate of others around you, their space and time and hopefully, they’ll also be respectful of yours in return.



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