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Etiquette tips for the gym

It’s the time of year where men are focused on getting back in shape. Whether you’re a seasoned gym rat or have just purchased your first membership, there’s an etiquette that goes with sharing the same equipment, showers and space with sweaty strangers.

The important thing when belonging to a gym is to not get caught up in what other people are thinking of you – because they likely aren’t. However, they will have a problem with you if you don’t follow the proper gym etiquette that’s universal across all fitness clubs. Here are some key rules that when followed by everyone, make the gym a more inviting place that you’ll actually look forward to visiting.

Don’t hold up stations because you’re on your phone or visiting

It used to be that the advice was to leave your phone in your locker. But now it’s your source for music and in some cases, includes the workout plan you’re currently following. That’s great, but when it’s not okay is when you’re sitting on that shoulder press machine skimming through your Instagram feed for five minutes. You should be using your station for working out, not to pass time or catch up with an old friend.

Don’t block the dumbbell rack

You’ll sometimes see people walk up to the rack, pick up a couple of dumbbells and start doing curls on the spot. Don’t do this. Like a luggage carousel at the airport, take a few steps back so everyone can access what they need. In other words, get the hell out of the way.

Wipe down your station when you’re done

The only exception to this is if you lay a towel down on your bench or your seat. If not, use the spray that’s in the gym with your towel or the paper towel that’s provided. The lovely lady using the bench next shouldn’t have to soak in your stink.

Put your weights back when you’re done

Would you want your mother following you at a station and have to unrack the four 45 pound plates from the squat rack? Even if there aren’t any mothers in your gym, it’s still just common and good etiquette. No one should have to clean up after you.

When it’s busy, don’t use multiple stations at once

Often, workouts call for super sets or giant sets, meaning you do more than one exercise in sequence. This is a great approach to working out, but when your gym is super busy, it’s not great etiquette if other members can’t get on to your station while you’re on the other side of the floor doing something else. Save those multi-station workouts for when your gym is quiet.

Don’t leer at women

Men can call each other the worst names imaginable or label a guy something and they mostly just roll off your back. However, the last thing a guy wants to be thought of is ‘creepy’. No one likes creepy or wants to be around creepy. When you leer at women at the gym as they’re doing squats or back raises, you’re creepy. Plus, she’s there to be healthy, not feel like a piece of meat. It’s natural to take a look and even glance, but be subtle. That’s what the mirrors are for.

Go easy on the grunting and yelling

Unless you’re a professional power lifter and you are deadlifting 2,000 pounds, go easy on the big noise. For one, it’s distracting to others. It’s also unnecessary and is a waste of energy, not to mention you come across as a total cheeseball. It’s okay to grunt and work hard, just don’t put on a show.


None of these tips are that complicated or unreasonable. The principle behind all of them is to work hard at the gym, but don’t let your workout get in the way of anyone else’s workout. It’s a group of people sharing the same space and the more we respect everyone else that’s there, the better experience we can have taking care of ourselves.