Bad Gym Etiquette – Top 10 Basic Gym Rules Everyone Should Follow.

gym etiquette basic gym rules

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There’s nothing more annoying than going to a gym full of people who do not respect any rules of gym etiquette. These people can be found everywhere, no matter what sort of gym you go to.

Bad gym etiquette is a big problem.

When you come across these people, you can get angry and frustrated which can then distract you from your workout plan making staying motivated very difficult.

Whether you’re training for aesthetic reasons or performance reasons, there should be certain basic gym rules everyone should follow a level of understanding and decency be maintained.

I’ve put together what I think are the top 10 rules of gym etiquette to avoid any conflicts with others and maintain your motivation throughout your workouts.

If you agree that the world would be a much happier place if we followed these basic gym rules, then please comment below, also, let me know if there are any rules you think I have left out!


Bad Gym Etiquette – Top 10 Basic Gym Rules Everyone Should Follow

1. Don’t Make Unnecessary Noise

If weights are ‘clanging and banging‘ or people are grunting, you can expect that to happen. Lifting heavy weights is not supposed to be easy so of course, noise is expected.

But one way people ruin the experience is by slamming weights around or making too much noise where unnecessary.

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Do you really need to scream at the top of your voice for every single rep, or throw the dumbbells out of your hands when you have finished your set?

2. Stop Gawking and Get to Work!

I see this all the time and it makes me cringe. Walking into the gym and seeing someone standing in front of a mirror when the gym is super busy, flexing their pecs, and checking themselves out and not actually working out.

Not only does it make you look like a bit of a plonker, but other people may need to use the space you’re standing in.

plonker Rude Gym Behavior! Bad Gym Etiquette - Top 10 Basic Gym Rules Everyone Should Follow.

Whatever reason you are flexing in the mirror in the middle of a busy gym, just know that you’re not impressing anybody, most people probably think you look stupid.

You can flex and pose and take mirror selfies all you want in the changing room, do it there.

3. Keep Your Personal Business to Yourself

Let’s face it; smartphones and social media are a massive part of our lives these days.

It’s okay to answer calls while working out, because chances are, very few people will even hear your conversation over the sound of their own headphones.

Phone calls during a workout are a matter of personal preference. It’s all right to answer if you can or ignore it if you don’t want to talk.

4. Give Up Your Weights After Using Them

This is often an issue when there’s only one set of dumbbells left in the rack and what feels like 20 people waiting for it (at least this has been my experience).

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Sometimes people neglect to put their weights back because they’re tired, eager to jump on the next piece of equipment that just became available, or more likely, they don’t know how important it is to put them away quickly so others can use the equipment too.

A good rule of thumb about weights; if you haven’t used them in 10 minutes (and someone else isn’t obviously waiting) then you probably put it back where it belongs.

If someone is looking for weight and you happen to have it, don’t give them an attitude if they ask you where it went.

5. Don’t Hog the Equipment Too Long After Working Out

(This one includes some of no 3 on my basic gym rules list.)

I can understand that sometimes you forget how much time has passed as you’re focused on getting your workout in, but still… Put the weights back after you’re done so others can use them.

If no one is waiting immediately after you are done, don’t wait until someone finally shows up before grabbing what you need and leaving.

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Also, don’t just sit on the equipment scrolling through your social media and not working out while others may be waiting to use the equipment you are sitting on.

This rule also includes leaving weights and other equipment all over the floor in front of whatever machine/bench you used them on- just because they’re in plain view doesn’t mean anyone else wants to pick them up or step over them.

6. Keep Your Feet Off the Equipment. It’s Gross!

Although this rule is especially applicable in a crowded gym, it’s something that should be done everywhere (at least this has been my experience).

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen someone stretch out on an exercise bench with their shoes propped up on some other machine or equipment- not only is it very unhygienic, but it’s not necessary most of the time.

If you have to put your feet on the equipment, make sure you spray and wipe it down after you’re done.

7. Don’t Hog One Piece of Equipment for More Than 15 Minutes (In a Crowded Gym)

Be mindful there may be people waiting to use a certain piece of equipment when you’re busy with it.

It’s frustrating to lose out on a workout because someone else is “saving” your equipment instead of allowing you to maybe work in with them if you’re doing the same exercises or share the equipment with them.

8. Don’t Make Derogatory Comments About Other People in the Gym

Out of all of these basic gym rules, this one really gets to me the most.

People should feel free to work out however they want without being ridiculed by others, so what if somebody can’t lift a certain amount of weight, or they have a unique way of dressing or they look different in some way?

A gym should be a place where we support each other, rather than create negative vibes!

I’m sure everyone has heard at least one disparaging comment about how someone else looks or what their personal habits are – it can result in bad feelings towards being in a place that should of all things feel like a safe and encouraging place to be in.

People should be respectful and supportive where they can.

9. Rerack Your Weights.

This one really gets on my nerves, you get to the squat rack, and the person who used it before you has left all of the plates on the bar so you have to spend time unloading the bar before you can start.

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Or you get to the gym and all of the dumbells are on the floor instead of on the weights rack, you want a set of 15kg dumbbells and you can only find one, you have to go on a mini-adventure to find the other one! This one is a real pain.

While you’re away from your bench someone comes and takes the other one, now you have to go back on another mini adventure to find that dumbbell.

While you’re gone they come and take your bench as well!

So if you are not using something, please please please, put it back where it belongs so other people can use it.

10. Don’t Underestimate Someone Else’s Level of Fitness.

This is a little bit of no 8.

Especially if they look different from you (i.e., young vs old; size differences).

People of course come in all shapes and sizes and we don’t always know what someone does for exercise at home or what their personal habits (or injuries) may be.

We all have different goals and that’s what keeps this world interesting. We’re not in the gym to compete with anybody but ourselves.

BONUS Basic Gym Rule

11 Clean Up Your Sweat

How could this one not make the top 10 basic gym rules I hear you ask!

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Sweat is not only unpleasant to smell and touch, but it can get on equipment making it slippery and dangerous to use.

If you are done with an exercise or machine, wipe down the equipment before leaving it streaked with sweat.

Most gyms now provide disinfectant spray and tissues so you can wipe the equipment down after use.

Be sure to use them.

Conclusion – Gym Etiquette – Top 10 Basic Gym Rules Everyone Should Follow

The key to good gym etiquette is simply being considerate of others- keeping these top 10 basic gym rules in mind when you’re at the gym should help with that process.

Everyone has different goals and will workout differently, but as long as we respect each other and our space at the gym these rules should be more than achievable.

I’ve been to a few gyms that have had a code of conduct displayed where it lists all the basics of what is expected from members- going forward I think this would be a great idea for most gyms to adopt.

What are your thoughts on these top 10 basic gym etiquette rules? Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below!

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I wear at the gym?

When selecting gym attire, focus on comfort and functionality. Wear breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics to keep you cool and dry.

Opt for clothes that allow you to move freely, such as fitted shorts, leggings, or loose T-shirts. Proper footwear is essential, too – choose supportive shoes designed for your specific type of workout.

How long should I wait for a machine?

It’s customary to wait a few minutes for someone to finish using a machine.

If someone is taking an excessive amount of time or worst still scrolling through social media and not using the machine, politely ask them how many sets they have left.

If they still have multiple sets, consider using another machine while waiting or ask to alternate in-between their sets.

Can I work in with others on equipment?

Working in with others can be a great way to efficiently use gym equipment.

Always ask politely if you can join in and wait for their consent. Ensure that you’re using similar weights or settings to avoid disrupting your workout partners’ routines.

How do I politely handle supersets?

If you’re doing supersets, be aware of your surroundings and consider others.

Try to perform your superset with exercises that are close together or use equipment that isn’t in high demand.

If someone wants to use a machine involved in your superset, let them work in or be prepared to return to it later.

What should I bring with me for a gym session?

Bring essentials like a reusable water bottle, gym towel, and a lock for the locker room.

Some people also bring their own workout gear, such as resistance bands or yoga mats.

Additionally, don’t forget essentials like headphones for audio entertainment and a change of clothes for after your workout.

What are some common courtesy tips for the gym?

Always be conscious of and adhere to basic gym etiquette, such as:

* Wipe down equipment after use.

* Put weights and equipment back in their designated spots when finished.
Avoid excessive grunting or yelling.

* Keep your personal belongings organised and avoid occupying unnecessary space.

* Respect others’ personal space, especially when they’re in the middle of a set.

* Use your inside voice when having conversations or listening to music through headphones.


Avatar of Stuart Patrick
Stuart Patrick
Stuart Patrick is a health and fitness lifestyle journalist who writes for ListedFit.com.

“I've spent a lot of time trying to get in shape and change my body and I realised there are so many untruths in the health and fitness industry that can slow down or stop your progress, so I share my knowledge and experience to help others to cut through the BS.”

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