The 9 Gym Rules You Need To Know

January 16, 2017

About the Author: Daniel Freedman

Guest Post By Jason Maxwell

The gym is your sanctuary. Treat it right, and you’ll have years of gains karma come your way. Treat it wrong and you’ll mess up your “muscle karma.”

There are unwritten gym etiquette rules that you disregard at your peril. You could end up getting nasty looks or feeling intimidated. And you can’t plead ignorance. For some reason, you’re just expected to know the rules that follow.

Here’s how you can be the most popular guy in the gym as you power through your workouts.

Rule #1: Put Your Weights Away

Picture this: You’re pressed for time and you want to get in a quick workout. You walk up to the squat rack, and the bar is already loaded with 405lbs. You then need to take off the weight so you can start warming up with the bar. So you waste precious time. And you just hate the person who did this to you.

Here’s what everyone should do instead: Put your weights away after using them. This means unloading the bar and putting the weight plates back in their proper spot. The same goes for dumbbells and other equipment.

Think of it this way: Strength and muscle aren’t just built during your set. You will develop a lot of strength by putting your weights away over and over and over and over. Embrace the suck.

Rule #2: Don’t Strike Up a Conversation with Someone Mid-Set

You see someone you know bench pressing. You go over to them and they are benching 225lbs for reps. You ask them what they did over the weekend. They drop the bar on themselves and squash their face in. Now you’ve just killed your friend.

You need to respect that someone is putting all their concentration into their set. Don’t distract them by talking. Wait until they finish their set and gab all you want.

Rule #3: Don’t Walk in Front of Someone While They Are Lifting

Lifting is all about concentration. Walking in front of a lifter is distracting. He or she may lose focus. So don’t do it. Ever. Walk behind the lifter instead.

Rule #4: When Asked How Many Sets You Have Left, Give an ETA and Offer A Work In

“Hey, Bro. How many sets do you have left with those 30 lb dumbbells?”

“Unfortunately I just started, so I have 4 sets left. It’s going to take me about 12 minutes to finish completely. Want to work in with me?”

This is how your conversation should go. Any other answer here is wrong. Be a cool guy. Share the equipment with people. Be up front so that you don’t waste others’ time

You’ll make new friends and set a good example.

Rule #5: Don’t Hog Gym Equipment When the Gym Is Busy

Rush hour: the golden 3 hours after work when the gym is packed tighter than sardines in a can.

You finish a long day at work, and head to the gym. You literally run to the squat rack, only to find out that some dickhead is doing a giant set of squats, leg press, lunges, and leg extensions. He’s using four pieces of equipment. And you see other people waiting for all of his equipment. How do you feel about this guy? You hate him, and you’ll hate him forever.

Now put yourself in his shoes. He’s being hated ] four different people. He’s starting to feel stressed because he’s hogging so much equipment. The experience isn’t fun for anyone.

If you’re at the gym during rush hour, just use one or two pieces of equipment at once. Try to go to the gym at a different time if you plan to do giant sets. If you end up using a bunch of equipment, at least let people work-in with you (see Rule #4).

Rule #6: Don’t Be the Locker Room Nudist

You know the guy. He’s the one who’s walking around butt-naked in the change room with his tanned ass sagging and his balls bouncing around like a beach ball at a Nickelback concert.

And I know you hate Nickelback.

Keep a towel wrapped around yourself when going to and from the shower.

Rule #7: Wash Your Gym Clothes

The clothes you wear to the gym should be washed after each workout. t, It’s common courtesy to not stink up the gym floor. This leads us to our next rule.

Rule #8: Clean In, Clean Out Policy

You want to keep your gym clean. The best way to do this is to enter the gym with a clean body and exit it with a clean body. This means showering sometime before going to the gym. Now, it’s not a swimming pool, and you don’t have to shower right before your workout, but I think it’s good practice to shower every day in the morning. Go about your day, go to the gym, then shower after your workout. Make sure to apply deodorant before you train.

Rule #9: Don’t Hog the Bench in The Change Room

There’s this guy at my gym. His gym bag is a suitcase. I’m not joking. It’s actually a suitcase (and not a carry-on either; it’s a full-sized suitcase.) The suitcase contains all his bottles of protein powders and vitamins. He proceeds to keep the suitcase on the bench, not allowing two or more people to sit in front of their lockers. Not good! Instead, place your bag on the floor when sitting on the bench. That leaves more room for others to sit on the bench. Which leads us to …

The Gym Golden Rule

Don’t be a douche. Be courteous to others and they’ll be courteous to you.

jkmAbout The Author

Jason Maxwell is a rocket scientist turned fitness professional.

He specializes in helping guys build muscle, lose fat, and get stronger.

Learn how to gain 10 pounds of muscle with his free guide, here.


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  1. Gimlet January 19, 2017 at 11:21 am - Reply

    It seems as if it’s always the old dudes who are walking around naked. Good illustration (a comic) here:

  2. Jami February 2, 2017 at 9:23 am - Reply

    Also don’t take weight off of a woman’s bar/machine just because you think it is too heavy for her. Yup, it has happened to me.

  3. Chris baiata February 13, 2017 at 7:37 am - Reply

    Love this list. Would love to compile a few more to add to this. Lol

  4. My Gym Family April 30, 2018 at 4:25 am - Reply

    It’s cool if you want to use your phone while working out, but please don’t stay on a machine if you’re spending your time texting or taking selfie.

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