The gym is a placed filled with both written, and unwritten rules.

Whether you’re stepping foot into the gym for the first time, or are a hardened veteran, it’s always good to know the rules of gym etiquette.

Even if you feel like you know all the rules, or what you should do at the gym, read this.

Because it’s very clear, that not everyone knows the rules (or they just blatantly choose to not follow them).

So don’t skim around, don’t skip through.

And don’t be a Jim Doosh.


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Gym Etiquette Rule #1: Follow The Written Rules

Most gyms have some rules listed.  Some more than others, some have no rules.

But first and foremost, always follow the rules of your gym.

Most gyms have at least a re-rack your weights rule, which we will touch on later in the article.  Some get even more in depth.

Take Planet Fitness for example.

Planet fitness has a lot of rules.

They get a lot of flack for some of their rules, and not everyone agrees with them.

But remember this: you are at their establishment.

If you had rules in your house, and a house guest didn’t like them, how would you feel if people start disobeying them?

Bottom line: If you don’t like the rules, and refuse to follow them, go somewhere else.


Gym Etiquette Rule #2: Leave Things How You Found Them

This one seems obvious, but it is the most broken rule of all time.

In the gym I work at, we have two dumbbell racks, that are on opposite sides of the gym.

There are different dumbbells on each rack, so you know which ones belong where.

Every single morning when I walk in, the first thing I do is go right to the dumbbell rack in the back of the gym.

Bring the 17.5 pound dumbbells that I know are going to be left under the rack, over to the place they belong on the other rack.

Because the same guy comes in every day, takes those 17.5 pound dumbbells, brings them over to the wrong place, and leaves them in the wrong place.

The gym staff is not your mom.

They aren’t there to pick up after you.

Put things back where you found them.

That includes putting your dumbbells back on the rack in the correct place, taking the plates off the bar and putting them back where they belong, and taking your plates off the machine.

Gym Etiquette Rule #3: If You Touched It, Wipe It Down

Not wiping down your equipment is a health risk.  Especially in a peri/post-pandemic age.  You want to do as much as possible to stop the spread of germs.

Health risks aside, it’s gross.  No one wants to sit down on a bench that has a sweat stain that is the exact shape of the back of your head.  Or worse, the exact shape of your butt.

Gyms either have wipes, or spray and paper towels for you to wipe things down.

This is not limited to just the things you sit on.  Also wipe down your dumbbells, barbells, cable attachments.  If you touched it, wipe it.

Gym Etiquette Rule #4: Don’t Talk To Someone In The Middle Of Their Set

There’s nothing worse than being just about to go for a new personal record at the gym, and then Chatty Cathy comes up to you and starts talking about their kid’s hockey practice.

It’s okay to strike up a conversation with someone at the gym.

But remember, some people will be receptive to this, and other’s won’t be.

Good rule of thumb, if someone has headphones on, they probably don’t want to talk.

Regardless of how friendly you are, and someone else may seem however, if someone is in the middle of their lifting, do not talk to them.

If you really feel the need to talk to someone, or feel like trying to strike a conversation up, wait until that person has finished their set.

Gym Etiquette Rule #5: Respect Personal Space

The gym isn’t the New York City subway.

There’s is plenty of space in there, so you don’t need to get right next to someone to go do your workout.

Find your own space to do your workout.

Whether it’s a at the squat rack, a bench, or somewhere near the dumbbells for some standing work.

Take up your own area, and make that your bubble.

And don’t go into other people’s bubbles.

And definitely don’t touch anyone else in the gym without consent.

Gym Etiquette Rule #6: Don’t Stand Directly In Front Of The Dumbbell Rack

This is the worst offense.  If you grab a pair of dumbbells to do curls, shrugs, raises, whatever exercise you choose to do.

Take a step back.

Make sure you leave room for others to get in and grab dumbbells.

Otherwise people will be standing behind you waiting to grab the dumbbells you are blocking.

This also goes for any type of row.

If you’re doing a single arm row, don’t use the dumbbell rack as a place to put your supporting hand on.

Be courteous, and go use a bench.

Oh, and definitely don’t shadow box directly in front of the rack.

Gym Etiquette Rule #7: Don’t Stare At People

Look I get it.

I know people are in the gym, working on themselves.

Maybe you really are impressed with someone’s lift, their form, or you really like the way their butt looks.

Don’t stare.

It’s rude, it’s inappropriate, and you’re probably making that person very uncomfortable.

This one especially applies to men staring at women in the gym.

It is a very real problem that women experience.

The gym is not the place to try and pick up a date.  It’s not a bar, and it’s not Tinder.

It’s somewhere for people to go in, have their own personal space, work on themselves, and get out.

If a conversation strikes up, then that’s great, go with it.

But please don’t go out of your way to try to find a one night stand with someone at the gym.

That’s icky.

Gym Etiquette Rule #8: Have Good Hygiene

I know you’re about to go to a place where you’re going to sweat.

But don’t walk in there smelling like a dumpster.

Especially if you’re working with a trainer.

A little deodorant goes a long way.

That’s All Folks

There you have it, some simple rules to have good etiquette at the gym, so you can be respectful, and not a Jim Doosh.

Any questions, I’m always here.

Much love,