Gym Etiquette Rules (15 Do's and Don'ts) | Dr Workout (2023)

Perhaps the best way to be a better human being, is to ensure that your actions and behavior don’t affect the comfort of others! This applies in the gym as well!

One of the most annoying things about the gym is those people who think they own the place and can do whatever they want. You might have also been frustrated seeing such people.

But, how sure are you that you are just not one among them?

Well, even if you feel like you follow proper gym etiquette, there may still be something that you’re doing wrong, perhaps unintentionally!

So, you must learn how to behave well when you are in the gym.

Also, if you are a complete beginner wondering what gym rules you need to follow, you have come to the right place. Because, through this article, we will be guiding you through the common fitness etiquette that you should follow in the gym.

So, read along!

What Will I Learn?

15 Gym Etiquette Rules

Gym Etiquette Rules (15 Do's and Don'ts) | Dr Workout (1)

Given below are some gym etiquette rules that you need to follow without fail.

Bring a Towel

Whenever you are working out in the gym, use a clean towel. Working out involves a lot of intense, rigorous exercises and can produce a lot of sweat. If you don’t use towels, the machine will absorb your sweat, making it really uncomfortable for the next person to use it.

Besides, there is perhaps no more ideal public place for germs to spread. For all these reasons, never forget to bring and use a clean towel.

Also, wipe down the machine using the towel to ensure that no more sweat content is left on the machine.

Never Stay Too Close to Someone Who is Working Out

Some gym exercises do have the potential to be dangerous due to several reasons. And sometimes, accidents happen in the gym because another person stood very close to the person working out, and came in the way of the latter’s range of motion.

(Video) Beginner's Guide to Gym Etiquette | DO's and DON'Ts

Depending on the exercise, you have to keep at least a certain distance from the person doing it. Some such exercises are squats, lateral raises, skull crushers, and bench press; and the list goes on!

But no matter which exercise it is, always try to keep a distance of at least 2 feet from the widest reach of the person doing it.

Never Work out Close to The Dumbbell Stand

This is a mistake that most people would make. By grabbing a pair of dumbbells and exercising close to the stand or rack, you are basically preventing the other person from taking dumbbells for themselves.

So, once you grab the dumbbells, move at least a few feet away, and start your workout. Also, once you’re done with a specific weight of dumbbells, do place them back in the rack properly. The rack might also have dedicated slots for each weight.

So, consider placing them on respective slots. Speaking of returning dumbbells to the stand after use, some people can’t even re-rack their weights!

Always Unload The Machine, and Return Weight Plates

This is a commonly seen poor gym etiquette from certain gym goers. They’d be happy to load the machine with several weight plates. But once they’re done, they’ll just walk away.

Squats, bench presses, and deadlifts are classical examples of workouts after doing which, some ignorants just walk away.

This is not good fitness etiquette.

So, never be this guy (or girl). Always return the plates to the stands after you are done using them. Each stand will also have dedicated slots for different kinds of weights. So, rerack the weight plates in the correct order, so that the others can get them easily.

Never Hog a Machine

No matter who you are or how great you are as a lifter, never stick to the machine for long. Once you start using a machine, try completing the exercise as soon as possible, and let the next person work in.

Some people would take it all to the next level by suppersetting in a busy gym club. If you are clueless about the term, suppersetting is when you do more than one workout at the same time, using multiple machines.

Supersetting is not a bad idea, and is proven to have great benefits. However, when you superset in a busy gym, not one but multiple machines would be totally engaged, and many more will have to wait till you finish your madness.

So, never superset in a busy gym!

Let Others Work In

Sometimes, you can be a bit more kind, and let others work in while you are using a machine. The other person can do the set while you are resting, and vice versa. As long as you manage your time properly, letting another person to work in won’t slow down your workout!

Likewise, if you find someone else already using a machine that you too want to, just politely ask them if you can work in. Most people are kind enough to let others work in. But keep in mind that you have to ask them first, before working in.

So, the gym is all about being kind and helpful to others. Learn to cooperate with others, also to ask for help whenever needed!

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Respect the Privacy of Others

Of course, the gym is one of the best places to socialize and make new relationships. But keep in mind that a significant portion of gym goers hit the gym targeting their physique goals.

For instance, If you see someone working out with earphones on, that means they are in no way interested in small talks and chats within the gym.

Even if you notice a familiar face in the gym but are completely focussing on the exercise, just say hi or conclude the meeting within a few seconds, and then let them complete the workout. Sometimes, the other person might find it so annoying and the only reason they aren’t yelling at you is their kindness.

Another thing to avoid is taking a lot of pictures inside the gym. Although there is nothing wrong with taking your own photos or that of someone who asked you for a click, always avoid capturing other people in the gym. Never take a picture that contains another person, without their permission.

Never Give Advice Unless Asked

This is not just annoying, but a frustrating thing to do in a gym. Never give advice to someone if you think their form is not correct. There are some people with a poor habit of lecturing others on how to do things.

Never be one among them.

Perhaps, showing off might not be your goal, and maybe you have only good intentions and just want to help that person.

But even if you notice someone doing a workout wrong, never get into lecturing them. Because, most people would take such lecturing from other gym goers, especially when they are not trainers, uncomfortable and frustrating. It might also affect their confidence level.

Besides all these, why should they listen to a random person? How do they even know if whatever you are saying is true or not?

If you have been hitting the gym for a long time, you might have already witnessed hilarious instances when some noob or amateur is lecturing a pro on how to do a certain exercise.

The only time you should enter someone else’s private space and give advice is when you think they are doing the exercise in a dangerous way, or in a way that may cause injuries.

Otherwise, mind your own business, try to do your exercises in the proper form, and head back home.

Now, what if someone else is giving you advice that you didn’t ask for? Well, in such cases, just nod politely, and continue to work out in the way you did before. And, if they don’t stop even after you ignore them, just ask them to stop bothering you.

Most such people would stop by then and if they didn’t stop even after that, complain to the gym staff instead of shouting at them!

Never make Phone Calls Or Play media Loud; Use Earphones Instead

You might badly want to vibe to your favorite song while lifting weights, or want to listen to that podcast while running on the treadmill. Well, both are great ideas, as long as you don’t put them on speakers.

If you want to listen to videos, music, podcasts, or any other media, always use earphones instead of speakers.

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Similarly, try your best to avoid making phone calls while working out, especially when people are working out near you.

Another annoying thing people do with their phones is scrolling through their social media feeds while sitting on a machine. There might be a person waiting for you to move so that they can start the exercise.

So, leave all that social media stuff behind, and focus on your performance instead!

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Maintain Hygiene

There are some people, who don’t mind wearing clothes that stink of sweat or dirt. Such people make others in the gym uncomfortable.

So, always wear clean, washed clothes to the gym, wipe excess sweat on your body while working out, and also consider using Deodorants. Also, if you are wearing sleeveless t-shirts, shave your armpits regularly.

Besides all these, if you maintain proper hygiene, it will be you only who benefits the most!

Wear Proper Dress

Most gyms follow liberal policies when it comes to clothing. However, you should follow some basic gym etiquette when it comes to clothing as well.

Here are some key points to keep in mind regarding what dress to wear to the gym:

  • Avoid wearing dresses that are too exposed or might cause intimidation in others.
  • A big no to jeans, common cotton shirts, and pants.
  • Shorts and track pants are great bottom wear choices for men. T-shirts or tank tops, both are great top wear options.
  • If you are a woman, leggings, shorts, t-shirts(sleeved or sleeveless), and sports bras are all good.
  • Always wear clean sneakers as well as clean socks.
  • Never enter the gym wearing outdoor shoes, slippers, or sandals.

Those were some basic points to keep in mind. Besides, each gym may have its own dress code. Always adhere to such codes and rules.

Never Eat in The Workout Area, and Never Spill Water

The Gym’s workout area is not the place to eat. Of course, there is nothing wrong with taking a pre workout or post workout meal. But even if you do so, do it only in the specifically designated area.

While working out, you should always drink water regularly. But never be careless while drinking water. When doing a high-intensity workout, be it weight training or cardio, you might have the tendency to gulp down a lot of water. But this is not the proper way!

Take smaller sips of workout regularly, and always take care to avoid water spilling on the gym floor or machines. Even if water spills on the machine, do wipe it off using the towel; that is proper etiquette in the gym.

Never Judge Others

After hitting the gym for several months or years, you might have had some improvements in your physique. While you can be proud of what you have achieved, it is never the license to judge others.

In the gym, you can see not only well built physiques, but also people of different sizes, colors, age groups, and other features. Everyone is on their own journey, and no one has the right to judge another person.

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Keep in mind, you too were a beginner once!

Don’t Stare at Or Stalk Others

For some people, the gym is a place to satisfy their perversions. Some have a habit of staring at a seemingly weaker person working out in the gym, with an intention to drain that person’s confidence.

Never be one of those guys.

But what’s even worse than staring at others is stalking. Women are mostly victims of this, although men too can.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with trying to build a new friendship or relationship in the gym. But if you feel like the other person isn’t interested, leave them alone.

Also, if you feel like someone is stalking or abusing you or another person, just report to the gym staff. They will take suitable action.

Another frustrating thing some men do is, trying to assert dominance over women or seemingly weaker people by being overly supportive, giving gym lectures, etc. If you are such a man trying to be the boss, keep in mind that you are just being annoying!

And, if you are a woman being encountered by such an annoying person, report them to the gym staff.

Understand and Follow the Gym’s Rules

Not all gyms are the same, and different gym brands have their own workout culture and as a result, their own policies.

So, while working out at a gym the first thing you need to do is learn all about gym rules, like:

  • Can you drop the weight while lifting heavy?
  • Is Chalk powder allowed inside the gym?
  • Can you wear a sports bra or sleeveless T-shirt?
  • Can you scream or shout while lifting?

The list may go on, and you have to adhere to the rules set by the club you’re visiting!

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Winding Up

The key point to keep in mind is, never let your actions or behavior affect the comfort of others near you. This applies to anywhere you go in life, and the gym is no exception.

So, hit the gym, do your workout correctly, be kind to others, keep discipline, and always respect the rules set by the gym.


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