Gym Etiquette: Unwritten Rules for a Respectful Workout | Blog
08Aug 2023
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Gym Etiquette: Unwritten Rules for a Respectful Workout

A gym is a casual place. You can wear almost anything you want, train however you wish, and communicate with everyone. But despite the laid-back atmosphere, the gym comes with a set of unwritten rules everyone should know. So take a few minutes to get familiar with all the guidelines and follow them to save yourself nasty looks from others and potential embarrassment. 

So, let's dive in.

1. Always re-rack your Weights

There is nothing more infuriating to members of any gym than a person who does not re-rack their weights. For example, someone would take a pair of dumbbells, do a few sets of curls, and leave them on the spot. Or, maybe they would load some weight plates on a barbell, squat, and leave the bar as such.

Aside from confusing others and making them wonder if you are done with the equipment, you create work for someone else. It might also be possible; the next person cannot lift as much. Always re-rack the weights you use.

2. Wipe down the Equipment

Some people sweat a bit more than usual, which is nothing wrong. The problem is, some of these individuals use equipment, drench it in sweat, and go about their workouts without a second thought. Let's face it: Having to wipe someone else's sweat off equipment is not nice. Even worse, you might lie on a bench, only to realize it is covered in sweat. Not fun, and hello?! Did we not all learn something about hygiene during the pandemic? Take a towel with you and wipe down the equipment after using it.

3. Do not interrupt people during a Set

Picture this: You have put your earbuds in, you have unracked a heavy barbell, and you are doing a set of squats. Then, out of nowhere, someone comes up and starts talking to you. Sure, you can not hear what they are saying, but that does not stop them from distracting you and possibly shortening your set. You would get mad, right? 


Never interrupt people during a set, especially if they look focused, train with dedication, and listen to music. Instead, wait for them to finish what they are doing and respectfully engage them. And be mindful about people who are "just" going to the gym to work out and not to have a chat. The gym is no offline version of Tinder either.

4. Share Equipment

You do not have to share equipment you have claimed but doing so is part of the unwritten gym rules. For example, let us say that you have claimed a squat rack and started doing sets. If someone comes up and asks to work in, let them, assuming you are both:

  • Doing the same exercise
  • Using somewhat similar loads

Sure, it can be a bit tiresome, but that is how it goes with public training facilities. Especially in a hotel gym where the equipment might be limited, sharing becomes part of the concept.

5. Adapt your routine to each (Hotel) Gym

We enjoy the occasional circuit workout as much as the next guy. But there is a time and place for such sessions. For example, if you have an entire hotel gym at your disposal, by all means, use all the equipment freely. But be considerate to others if you are in a crowded gym. Do not use a few pairs of dumbbells and several machines simultaneously. Instead, use one piece of equipment, do a few sets, then move on to something else.

6. Respect personal Space

Gyms can be crowded at times, but this does not mean we should invade each others' personal space. For one, working out close to strangers is not fun. Second, being too close together can be dangerous. For example, if someone drops a weight, it could mean broken toes for you.

On that note, do not stand in front of others if you see they are using a mirror while doing a set. Trainees often look at themselves while training to ensure the proper execution of different movements.

7. The discreet way of taking Selfies

Selfies can be an excellent method to track training progress. But taking pictures in a public space, what (hotel) gyms are, might be delicate. Limit it to less busy times or days when you are not getting into the way of others. As a general rule of thumb, we know you want to take them and should be able to, but do not infringe on anyone else's gym experience. And ensure to not include others in the picture.

To conclude

As so often, it all boils down to the same concept: "be considerate of other people." If we could all do that, the gym would be a much friendlier — not to mention tidier — place to visit.

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