The Best Gym Practices and Etiquette

Follow Gym Rules; Both the Spoken Ones, and the Unspoken Ones

busy gym
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Gyms can be a little like the street: You encounter a wide range of people, personalities, and behaviors, and depending on how you behave things can go smoothly or you get into trouble.

Of course, no two gyms are alike and some are earthier and more visceral than others. Either way, here are a few pointers to having a good experience at a gym and getting along with fellow trainers, and staff.


Please observe hygiene recommendations.

Use towels, wipe down equipment, wash your hands before starting if you think of it. It's not prissy or sissy to be careful of cross-infection in this era. Don't go to the gym if you have a cold or especially influenza or something equally as infectious or contagious.

Consider Other Trainers

  • If the gym is busy, don't hog workstations or weights. Doing circuits or routines where you progress or alternate from one piece of equipment to another and repeat so that you have equipment tied up for your exclusive use is not a good practice. You can do this in less busy hours when it does not inconvenience anyone.
  • Similarly, for popular exercise stations, it's probably not time to do your favorite six sets of twenty squats with two minutes between sets if people are lining up for the squat rack.
  • Ensure you place equipment such as free weights, dumbbells, barbells and other equipment back on racks when you finish. This is not only common courtesy but also contributes to safety.
  • When using machine workstations, make some attempt to leave the workstation at something near a neutral position. For example, don't leave 350 pounds (160 kg) on the leg press machine!
  • Same with showers and other utilities like coffee services, etc.—when the gym is busy, get in and get out.

Exercise Safely

  • It is a gym, and you do need to move in open spaces, often with heavy equipment, and in various directions when doing certain exercises. Make sure you leave sufficient space between you and the person next to you, especially when doing explosive exercises like cleans, push presses, thrusters, and others. Conversely, don't get too close to the guy or gal gearing up for such exercises.
  • It's not a good idea to wander around the gym with headphones on, listening to music. On a treadmill or bike, perhaps, but not in general weight lifting. You might need to hear a warning shout.
  • If you are a novice, ask a supervising trainer if you're not sure of correct lifting form for any exercise. This is important for injury prevention, as well as better results.
  • Wear close-fitting gear. Loose clothing can catch on machinery or free weights and cause accidents and injury. In a similar context, wear modest gear; the gym is not the place to advertise your personal credentials, although that mostly relates to things that dangle, jiggle, or threaten to display themselves in an explosive moment of revelation.

Happy training!