The Ultimate Guide to Gym Etiquette

Tuesday, July 11 2017 2:05 PM

Dumbbell Rack GymSo, you just signed up for a membership at your local gym. What now? Maybe you have never stepped foot in a gym, or maybe it’s just been so long that it all seems like a distant memory. Whatever your exercise situation may be, there are a few rules that everyone should follow when it comes to the shared space at the gym. So, what is proper gym etiquette? While some of these aren’t set-in-stone rules, here are ten tips to live by at any gym.

Read the Gym Rules

When you walk into the gym, take a look around at any rules that are posted on the walls. They are there to promote a safe environment for everyone. If you’re not sure about a rule, ask a staff member for clarification.

Wipe Down Equipment

Equipment dripping with the last person’s sweat is never a good thing. Use a towel and be sure to wipe down all surfaces you’ve touched when you’re done with the equipment. Most gyms have spray bottles in various locations with disinfectant that you can use to spray and wipe down a piece of equipment. Not sure where to find it? Never hesitate to ask the staff.

Put Equipment Away

After you finish an exercise, put the equipment back where it came from. Be sure to clean up as you move from place to place. People could accidentally trip over equipment if left out on the gym floor. If you are lifting and using a bar, put the weight plates back in an organized manner.

Don’t Drop the Dumbbells

Maybe you did one too many reps and your arms have turned into jello. However, dumbbells are not meant to be dropped like various other weights are. Structurally they don’t respond well to being dropped, and the dumbbell heads can even fracture and break off.

Check if the Equipment is Being Used

If other lifters are in the same area as you, be sure they aren’t still using the equipment. Hang back or ask others in the vicinity if they saw anyone using the particular piece of equipment. If someone has their headphones on, this exchange is often just a non-verbal point in their direction, then a point at the equipment. This is common communication at the gym as most people are listening to music while working out.

Saving Equipment

Towel GymIf you ever need to save equipment for a brief moment to get a drink or stretch, drape a towel over the equipment you’re using so others know you’ll be returning quickly.

Stay Out of a Lifter’s Bubble

This isn’t so much of a social no-no, but more of a safety measure. Try to remain around three feet or more away from another lifter so you don’t distract them. Not only could they hurt themselves, but you could accidentally get injured by their equipment if they aren’t ready for the lift. Of course, this is a different story if you are the one spotting for them.

Shoes or Not?

Some people prefer to not wear shoes while they work out. It may feel nice, but always ask the staff at your gym if it’s okay. Many times, the gym floor containing weights is a shoe-only zone due to the risk of injury. Barre classes, Pilates classes and yoga classes will generally always allow their attendees to exercise barefoot or with socks.

Asking For or Giving a Spot

Spotter LiftingA “spot” is just an assist during a lift. While many people won’t ask a stranger to help them, you still may come across it, or even need it, eventually. If someone asks you for a spot and you feel uncomfortable about the responsibility, simply decline and say you can’t. If you are in need of a spot, ask someone nearby who looks available and strong enough to handle the weight if needed.

Tell the Instructor Before Class If You Have an Injury

Instead of making up your own routine in a class because of an injury, just let the instructor know that you won’t be able to perform everything they’re teaching. An experienced and knowledgeable instructor will modify the routine so that everyone can participate. It’s common for people to have injuries, and instructors will know what to do.

As you can see, gym etiquette is simple and straightforward. By following these guidelines, you’ll have no problem at all getting back into the flow of working out.

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