Gym Etiquette: Do’s & Don’ts To Know About

Let’s be clear right from the start. When working out at a gym, consideration for those around you is just as consistent as your workout should be. We get it - the gym can be intimidating, especially if you’re new. Gym culture is real and here are tips to help you make sure that you do your part. 


If there is anything that we have learned from COVID-19 and 2021, we must take care fof ourselves and those around us and cherish our gyms. 


What Is Gym Etiquette?

Gym Etiquette is essentially, respect. It is respect for the equipment, the space, others, and yourself. Gym etiquette involves some simple rules that help make the gym experience that much better for everyone involved. Gym etiquette is also more inclusive than grunting and weights dropping. Plus… get this. These rules aren’t just for newbies to the gym! It’s for everyone. 


What Are The Unwritten Rules Of Using The Gym? - Do’s & Don’ts

The worst is when you see “veteran” gym-goers who completely disregard gym etiquette. It is completely understandable that being in the gym is “you” time and for you to focus on crushing your goals. However, it does not excuse behavior that disregards respect for those around you. Unless you’re in your own private gym with no one around you - gym etiquette applies. So whether it is your first time in the gym or your 1000th, gym etiquette doesn’t go anywhere. 


To simplify gym life and the rules around it, here are three principles that guide it all along: 

-Be aware of your surroundings

-Act like it’s your equipment

-Be chill 


DO Read The Rules

Your gym posts rules for a reason and because they know what’s important for you to know to keep a safe and enjoyable environment for all. If you’re not sure about a specific rule, curiosity is always welcomed - JUST ASK! Plus, some gyms may have specific rules to them that vary from other gyms so it’s always good to just be in the know. 


For example: 

-Some facilities do not allow for chalk to be used in certain areas. Double check where you can use chalk for those heavier weights. 


-Dropping weights can be acceptable at some gyms, while others definitely frown upon it. It could be due to noise level, infrastructure, or gym layout. 


-Some gyms allow for you to be barefoot; however, some gyms definitely will not for legal * safety reasons. 


DO Shower and Wear Shower Shoes

Begin your workout by smelling nice and end your workout by smelling even better. Avoid letting your gym clothes marinate in your gym bag. People should not have to worry about moving their workout around because someone near them does not smell the best. 


If you’re not sure if this rule applies to you, it definitely does. If you’re going to ensure your hygiene is on point at the gym, please make sure to bring water shoes. There’s a reason why it’s always mentioned and connected to showering at the gym. It is valid. Plus, a good shower after a workout feels great and your skin will be itching (literally) for a good clean! 


DO Wipe Down Equipment

People become hyperaware of wiping down their gym equipment during COVID. However, wiping down equipment before and after use is a common practice that should have been in place all along and continuing forward. 


Even if you think it is clean, another wipe down won’t hurt! 


DO Put Gym Equipment Away 

How aggravating is it when you’re ready to put in the work on a machine, but someone left all of their weight on the machine? It takes away from the workout - not only in time but also in energy. It is disrespectful to those around you who are trying to reach their goals. Don’t wait until the end of your workout to clean and re-rack! Do it as you go. 


DO NOT Stand Directly in front of Dumbbell Rack

This happens all the time - someone decides to unrack some dumbbells and proceeds to stand DIRECTLY in front of the whole rack. Firstly, it’s great to get some curls in but it does not need to happen directly in front of everyone. There are other people that are going to need to exchange their weights or re-rack properly. 


If you are wanting to use multiple different pairs of dumbbells at once, that is okay. Make a little station for yourself somewhere and when complete, re-rack appropriately and wipe down. 


DO NOT Block View 

There’s a reason why a gym has mirrors. People use mirrors for a variety of reasons (whether you want to judge or not the primary focus of this article). So for that reason alone, don’t block someone’s view of themselves or do your best to stay out of their line of sight. 


DO NOT Drop Dummbells 

Sometimes we channel our inner Schwarzenger and finish a set with a big yell, “AHHHH!” and alongside it, drop or slam dumbbells to the side of the bench. There are some weights that are just meant to never be dropped. Dumbbells actually do not respond well to repeated drops. BE NICE to them! They are trying to HELP YOU. 


Pro tip: no one will be impressed by you dropping a ton of weight. 


DO Check If Equipment is Free

Have you ever experienced that awkward moment of approaching a piece of equipment at the same time or just before / after someone else? Yes, we all have. But at least you know for sure if it is taken or not. 


Another good way to figure out if someone is using a piece of equipment is

Ask - You can do the head nod or the point 

Are there other pieces of equipment laying out? A notebook? Water bottle? Towel?

Is the piece of equipment loaded? Either someone didn’t clean up their station properly or there is a chance they are still using it. 


This is usually determined during non-verbal cues and gym culture definitely comes into play here. 


DO Save Equipment 

You have walked over to a certain machine, but then realize you need to fill your water bottle! It’s all good. Leave some sort of signal that shows you’ll be right back, like a towel and dumbbell. 


Note: This doesn’t mean that it is allowed to go and fill up a water bottle but also get into a long conversation with a friend you run into. If you need to be longer than a quick minute, please allow other people to use the equipment in the meantime. 


DO “Work In” with someone

If there’s a piece of equipment that you are wanting to use but someone is the process of using it: think first.


Can I do this exercise elsewhere or substitute? If the answer is no, you can ask if you can “work in” with someone. However, be aware that this usually only makes sense if that person is doing the same type of exercise (reps, weight, etc). You don’t want to work in with someone who is squatting 90 lbs but you are squatting 180. 


If it’s a go - do it! Make sure to be respectful and to re-set equipment for the other person. 


DO Strategize

Don’t be that person that is using two different pieces of equipment that are across the gym from each other. Firstly, it doesn’t make sense for your own workout. Secondly, it takes up time and space for others. If the gym is busy, let go of grabbing a squat rack AND another bar. Go back to the basics, keep it simple. 


DO Take Advice (within reason)

The gym is a great community of people who are trying to make themselves better. Some people truly are educated about the body and what works. It is a great place to receive advice on making better progress; however, still be cautious. The gym is for you and for you to make decisions about what works best for you. 


DO NOT Overuse Cell Phone

It’s 2021 - our phones are always on us to connect, conversate, work, track workout data, entertainment, etc. 


Key Takeaway

We’re all here to get better in the gym. Do your part to make the gym experience about the results rather than the dumbbells that didn’t get re-racked properly. 


Come & Try Out Our Gym At The BXNG Club

Come train in a community that gets it. The BXNG Club (TBC) was created with a belief that fight arts can be an effective and fun platform for overall fitness and health. With that in mind, TBC brought together the top fight and fitness instructors in the industry – from Boxing to Muay Thai, Jiu Jitsu, MMA, High Intensity Interval Training-based fitness, Yoga, Spin, and Pilates to create a unique and exhilarating fitness experience based on combat sports. Check out our free classes.



Return to the TBC Blog