Gym Etiquette: What not to do in the Gym

July 25, 2013

About the Author: Eric Bach

I love the gym. It’s a great place to improve the mind, body, and soul all at once. If you’re lucky, the gym you train at has a competitive atmosphere, loud music, and an environment conducive to being absolutely awesome. Unfortunately, it’s not always this amazing. The few many  behaviors I see on a daily basis leave me shaking my head. On occasion, I am left completely speechless by the gym etiquette, or lack-thereof.

Having spent thousands of hours in the gym in my lifetime you would think one had seen it all, but I routinely see myself saying ” Are you F%^ing Kidding Me?”

The gym is a great place. But rules must be followed. Here is what not to do if you want to follow gym etiquette.

When it comes to exercising in a public place such as your local health club or gym there are many written, and unwritten rules. Unfortunately, there will always be people who don’t seem to follow the rules.

These are things you should avoid doing at the gym, both for the sake of humanity and your fellow gym goers.


1. Talking on Cellphones

Seriously, what the hell is that important? Your workout is time to get away and do something for yourself. Focus on one thing at a time, get away from work for a bit. Besides, no-one wants to hear your latest beef with a landlord or unfinished conference call. Get off your phone or get out of the gym.

2. Not wiping down equipment

I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of sharing gooch sweat with the last guy seated on my bench. Not only is leaving your juice on the bench vile and inconsiderate, it’s dangerous due to the presence of bacteria and fungi.

3. Resting on equipment

Ever have someone jump on the equipment you were using while you grabbed a slug of water, only to sit, read the newspaper, and hang out? It’s not happy hour, go somewhere else to hang out.

4. Over-Grunting

 Noise is fine, you should be pushing yourself to the limit and moving weight. But, don’t the guy who is squealing like a stuck pig between each rep on the lat pull down machine, only to conclude it with a slam of the weight. Grunting is fine, but keep it within reason.

5.Equipment Hijacking

True Story: A few weeks ago I was crushin’ some  deadlifts, picking up heavy shit, letting it hit the ground, and blowing chalk all over the platform. I had my bag with my roller, wraps, chalk etc. and my belt all sitting on the platform with a barbell loaded with over 400 lbs. After grabbing a drink I came back to some “bro” doing planks on the platform directly in front of my gear and loaded barbell. Who does planks on a fully loaded platform in a mostly empty, 60,000 squat foot facility?
I sat patiently, plotting my revenge. He stayed for 2 sets until I had enough, I “politely” asked him to move. Then he did it again to another lifter. Really? But anyways, ask to work in if necessary, but don’t blatantly get in the way of others training.

6. Dousing Yourself in Stank Water

Every stand up from a brutal set, lungs screaming, only to choke on someones cheap, overpriced cologne? That kills baby kittens.

I understand the importance of smelling “fantastic” for your next date, but seriously. No-one hits the gym to smell you, keep the cologne for other occasions.

7. Being Sick at the Gym

Yes, exercise it vital for your health and a healthy immune system. No, I don’t want swine flu. If you plan on leaving infected mucous on every dumbbell in your wake I plan on dropping a dumbbell on your foot. If your sick, stay home and get some rest.

8. Curls in the Squat Rack

I admit, I have done these before. For that, I apologize. But, if you are curling 65lbs in the squat rack you need to spend more time squatting the bar and less time with curls. In facilities with a limited number of squat racks and platforms keep squat racks and platforms for major, compound exercises like deadlifts, cleans, and lunges.

9.Not Putting Away your equipment

I am an uber-organized neat freak. That being said I believe there is a special place in hell for people who don’t re-rack their equipment. Are you that important, lazy, or exhausted that you can’t pick up after yourself? No, stop being lazy, unload your bar, re-rack your dumbbells, and put your equipment where it belongs.
The gym is a great place. But rules must be followed. Here is what not to do if you want to follow gym etiquette.

And last but not least….Drum Roll Please

10.Being the Locker Room Nudist

It’s fine to be naked in a locker room, that what it’s for. But keep it to showering, changing, shaving (your face), and getting back to business. Don’t be the nude dude who stands in front of the mirror dousing yourself with lotion, and then proceeding to lay down face up on a bench. It’s wrong. ( Yes, I have seen all of these things happen.)
Etiquette is important, especially in the gym. Be respectful, don’t be an asshole, and focus on your workout. It’s that simple!
Like this list? Share some of the wacky things you’ve seen in the gym and share with your favorite social media site.
photo credit: <a href=””>Walt Jabsco</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>cc</a>
photo credit: <a href=””>_tar0_</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>cc</a>

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