Gym Etiquette

Gym Etiquette
Gym Etiquette

If you’re just starting out at weight training, there’s a good chance you may never have been in a commercial gym before. If that’s the case, here are some items of gym etiquette that’ll help you avoid upsetting the regulars.

Put The Plates and Bars Away

When you’ve finished any particular exercise, put the weight plates back on the plate holder (or wherever the gym stores them) and put barbells and dumbbells back where you found them. Don’t leave such things lying around on the floor. It’s dangerous and it’ll really annoy the regulars.

Take a Towel

Rather like Ford Prefect’s suggestion to Arthur Dent in ‘A Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy’, a towel is essential. People sweat in gyms – that’s part of the whole point. But make sure you take a towel to wipe down benches and machines when you’re finished with them. If you’re particularly sweaty, lay your towel down on the bench and lie on that to perform the exercise.

A Power Rack is for Power Exercises

If you’re doing curls in a power rack and somebody wants to bench press or squat in it, you can expect to be turfed out. There is absolutely no need to use a power rack for curls. The power rack is there for heavy compound exercises that need the safety of a spotter bar. Don’t hold people up by using it for other exercises.

Don’t Hog The Equipment

I’m not a fan of people training as a foursome (or more). If they’re squatting, for example, and they want to do five sets each, that’s going to tie up the squat rack for 20 sets, blocking anyone else from using it for a considerable time. If there is more than one squat rack and one is empty, then fine, otherwise split into two groups of two or at least offer someone who’s waiting a chance to work in with you.

Don’t Drop The Weights

Accidents happen of course but try not to drop the weights. There are exceptions. It’s generally acceptable to drop the weights in a properly kitted out weightlifting area but there is no reason to drop the bar to the floor after curls, for example.

If in Doubt, Ask

There’s no shame in asking how to perform an exercise properly or how to use a particular piece of equipment properly. Most of the experienced folk will be helpful [1]. It’s far better – and less embarrassing – to ask than to attempt something you haven’t a clue about.

Don’t Be An Ass

When you start to get a little more experience and know what you’re doing, help out the beginners who are willing to learn. Don’t look down on them – you were a beginner once.

  1. There are of course always assholes and they’re best ignored.

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