4 Big Rules of Gym Etiquette

The new year is in full swing and so are many of those exercise and fitness related resolutions!  It’s a fun and exciting time to be a part of the gym community, especially if you’re starting a new adventure with your very first gym membership. But gyms can sometimes feel a little intimidating to navigate when you’re the new kid on the block.

Gyms are like mini communities. They often have their own subcultures and various unspoken rules when it comes to the do’s and don’ts of common courtesy and community behavior. So today, we’re going to look at four big rules of gym etiquette to ensure you’re crushing goals with confidence and making friends along the way.

1. Don’t Hog Free Weights

Stay mindful of your fellow gym-goers when it comes to weights and equipment. In a crowded gym, it’s tempting to snatch up three or four sets of dumbbells to gradually cycle through in the course your workout (how else can you be sure they’ll be available later, right?). But remember other people are also trying to exercise in the allotted time they have to be at the gym that day.

Stick to the equipment you need per that set of exercises and then move onto the items that you need next. And don’t be afraid to incorporate weight plates in place of dumbbells for certain movements. If certain dumbbells aren’t available or you don’t want to take up too many of them at once in a superset or drop set, try incorporating some 5lb or 10lbs plates from a weight rack.

2. Share Machines

During heavy gym traffic, there may be a limited number of squat racks, cable machines or weight machines. In times like this, it’s common for one member to ask another if they can “jump in” on a machine. Don’t panic, they aren’t actually going to hop onto the leg press beside you. This just means you will alternate doing sets on the same machine (one of you does a set of exercises on it while the other one rests and then you switch back and forth).

Also be willing to speak up offering to let someone jump in on a machine if you can see they are waiting to use it but maybe a little shy asking to share. Everyone wins and you might even have an opportunity to strike up a conversation and make a new gym buddy.

3. Wipe Down What You Sweat On

Sweat. It happens. There’s no shame in it, especially at the gym and after a great workout. But I think we can all agree there’s nothing more unsettling than walking up to an empty a bench, mat or machine and discovering a stranger left their sweaty butt imprint behind for the next user. That’s. Just. Gross.

Please. Don’t be that person. Grap the gym’s provided wipe or paper towel and spray bottle and (for the sake of all that you consider sacred and holy) wipe down that equipment when you are finished using it.

4. Pick up after yourself

Whether it’s for a group fitness class or the free weight section, always be sure to put equipment back neatly where it belongs. Keeping the gym an orderly place helps everyone find what they need when they need it. Because who wants to be running around if they’re short on time hunting for cable machine handles, plate weights or a mat for yoga class?

It’s also considerate of people’s time. No one wants to remove a zillion abandoned plates from a barbell or leg press before they can use it for their own workout. Or have a personal training session or group fitness class started late because a trainer or instructor needed to tidy a mess of equipment left behind. It’s quick and easy to pick up after yourself to help keep your gym an enjoyable place for everyone to workout.

Stick with these four big rules of gym etiquette and you will be crushing your goals with confidence and positively contributing to your fit community. The gym trainers, instructors and staff will love you and you might just make a few new gym buddies along the way!

All writing copyright © 2019 Rachel Elise Weems Woods

Originally published 1-9-18. Updated 2.1.19




52 thoughts on “4 Big Rules of Gym Etiquette”

    1. Haha, that is the worst! I honestly think that a lot of people aren’t aware that you should step off the machine to rest, or that it’s pretty common for people to “jump in” on equipment!


  1. Good tips! I feel like people are pretty good about this at my gym, except maybe wiping off the sweat.. Like, if you sweat a lot that’s not MY problem??

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes this is really important. It’s called Respect and that is for others and for your self. Golden rule is Don’t do unto others what you don’t want others to do unto you

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wiping off your sweat on gym equipment is a very respectful thing to do. Having to use a sweat-dripped machine, just the thought of it makes me cringe.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I hate it when people do not wipe down the machines after they use them. It is so gross! People forget to wipe down the cardio machines too! It takes two seconds and really helps people not be skived out.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The one that tip that I find to the most important is for people to remember to wipe down the equipment they used. Thanks for sharing, I think any person could find these tips handy.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.