Gym Etiquette Guidelines for Everyone

02/03/2013 at 6:49 PM Leave a comment

I recently read an article on gym etiquette for “Newbies”, but the fact is that plenty of long-time members need a refresher course as well. Why should we be concerned with etiquette? If everyone followed these simple guidelines, it would make our experience (and those around us) safer and much more positive. As a Fitness Director and Personal Trainer for over 33 years, here’s my list:
Leave no trace. 

wipedown equipment

If you sweat on equipment, disinfect and wipe it down when you’re finished. More than passing on germs, it’s just gross.

If you loaded plates on, take them off when you’re done. Not everyone uses your same weight and forcing them to unload your weight in order to use the machine is thoughtless.

If you took out equipment, i.e. dumbbells, medicine balls, tubing, jump ropes, etc., put them back when you’re done. When things are not put back, it can take forever to locate them.

If you’re going to use chalk, clean it up afterward. Chalk dust can get on everything and get tracked everywhere.

Getting Personal

Wear approprite clothing. Wear comfortable clothing that covers the essentials. Nobody wants to see all of your parts no matter how hot you think you are.

Don’t smell. If it’s body odor, take shower, if it’s perfume or cologne, think again. Even if you mean to smell good, you won’t to everyone. Strong smells of any kind can be upsetting.

Watch your language. No matter what your social circle may find acceptable language, please be aware that you’re in mixed company. Assume your grandmother is on the piece of equipment next to you.

Grunting and shouting. I’ve been a power lifter and weightlifter and I’m not against a little grunting under heavy loads. But, when you’re scaring the person next to you and can be heard across the room, it’s time to bring the volume down.

Banging and/or dropping weights. First, like shouting, it can be very distracting to others. Second, it can damage the equipment. If you bang dumbbells together it can splinter metal (depending on the dumbbell) and if you drop them it can bend the handles. If you can pick it up with control, you can put it down with control.

Be aware of your space. clear zone

Don’t sit on equipment if you aren’t using it. Others are probably waiting to use it.

If someone is waiting to use the piece of equipment you’re on and you are doing multiple sets, let them work in if you can. Visa versa, if someone is doing multiple sets on a piece that you’re waiting for, ask if you can work in.

Don’t block access to equipment by exercising too close to it. Whether it’s doing dumbbell curls standing in front of the dumbbell rack or crunches done in front of the chest press machine.

Don’t block walkways. Safety… ‘nuf said.

Don’t exercise too close to others. There’s nothing more unsettling than thinking that you might get hit by the jump rope or medicine ball of the person next to you.

Don’t sit on equipment if you aren’t using it, Others are probably waiting to use it.
That’s all I have right now. With all of these guidelines, “do this’, “don’t do that”, it may sound complex, but it really all boils down to being courteous to others. Treat others as you would like to be treated and we’ll all be able to enjoy are time at the gym more.
If you have some other guidelines, I’d love to have you post them in the comments below.
Best wishes, Mark
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