Gym Etiquette – Rules you could be breaking

Gym Etiquette

Summer is here, and the number of people at the gym always tends to increase. Here are 10 rules you may not have known, you’re breaking:

  1. Read the rules at your gym!

This might seem like an obvious one, but if there are rules hanging around the gym, read them. Acceptable behaviour for one gym, may not be the same for another.

  1. Put your weights back.

Another obvious rule, but it’s the number one rule which is broken at the gym. Apart from being annoying to others, it can also be dangerous.

  1. Be mindful of your surroundings.

Gyms can be dangerous places if you’re not alert. Don’t start doing dumbbell kickbacks without checking if there is anyone behind you.

  1. Use a Towel / Wipe down equipment.

Cleanliness should be a given when sharing equipment. Right? Unfortunately, we’ve probably all seen the person who doesn’t use a towel and/or leaves a big sweaty puddle on the bench before they run off.

  1. Clean up after yourself (and, if you have to, other patrons).

Related to the previous point, if you still manage to sweat through your towel or for some other reason leave sweat on a piece of equipment, grab some paper towel and disinfectant spray.

  1. Check if the equipment is free, first.

If you’re approaching a bench, a lifting platform, or anything else that someone may be using, look for signs that another lifter may be in the area.

  • Is there a towel laid out on it? (Usually a sign that it is being used)
  • Are there other pieces of training equipment lying around, like a notebook, backpack, or weight belt? (Another sign something is still being used)
  • Is there a loaded barbell? (50/50 chance the equipment is being used. People are TERRIBLE at putting away weights)
  1. Always ask.

If someone is using a machine or piece of equipment and you need something nearby, ask if you can get close. Don’t just walk up and grab a weight plate from the rack while someone is squatting. Besides being extremely rude, it can be dangerous: you might knock the person squatting or bench pressing while they’re under a heavy weight, which can be disastrous.

  1. Personal space – respect it.

Can’t get to a bench on Monday night? That’s annoying, but, please don’t stand 20 cm away from the person who has one, ready to pounce. Aside from being dangerous for both of you, we all know it’s not the most comfortable feeling.

  1. Selfies – try to be discreet.

It’s become the norm, and you should be able to. If nothing else, they’re a good way to track your progress. However, there are limits. Why not keep it to the changing rooms or on less busy days when you’re not getting in the way of other patrons? You can do what you want, just as long as you don’t infringe on anyone else’s gym experience. Make sure to blur other patrons who are appearing on your photos.

  1. Avoid the chitchat.

The gym is a place of solace for many people and, although it can be a great social setting, try to keep the gossip to a minimum. If you run into a friend or gym buddy don’t stand around chatting all through someone else’s session.

And, of course, if someone is wearing headphones, it probably means they don’t want to be disturbed.

Ramona Galea
Ramona Galea

Ramona is an International Etiquette Coach and an avid believer of the importance these soft skills have nowadays. This passion kicked off from a young age when she questioned why elbows couldn’t stay on the table and her inquisitiveness continued and she founded First Class Etiquette, to address the developing need for people’s understanding of the importance of international business and social etiquette. It really is not just about elbows but confidence, attitude, assertiveness and knowing the how, the when and the why we do things. Amongst her hectic schedule, her two biggest indulgences are travelling with her family and reading with an Aperol Spritz in quiet surroundings - just being away from it all to de-stress.

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