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Gym Etiquette: The Code Of Untold Rules

Updated on July 28, 2018
krithi13 profile image

Krithi is a blogger and content writer in the field of fitness. She is crazy about working out and inspires people to lead a cheerful life.

We usually follow certain rules and regulations while performing an important task. Did you ever realize such kind of rules might also be applicable when one is working out at the gym? No matter whether you are a newbie to the gym or it's your 500th time to the gym, there is a secret code of conduct that is totally unfamiliar to a person on what to do and not to do. Yes, today we are going to discuss a few, but most important ethics of gym which are silent codes of acceptable behavior.

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Keen Eye To The Rules Specified At The Gym

The gym can be an intimidating place. When you step into the gym take a look around at any rules that are posted on the wall. Do not neglect them, they are specified for a particular reason. Some things that are ultimately acceptable for one gym may not be okay for another gym.

Examples are:

  • Is chalk (applied for hands to perform moves like deadlifts, power-lifting, and pull-ups ) allowed or not?: Though using chalk helps in providing strong grip it isn't easy to clean up, however, the management might feel difficult to clean the chalk dust remained on the equipment and the floor.
  • Is dropping weights allowed?: Some proficiencies in office buildings won't allow this as throwing heavyweights at once makes a ton of noise for the tenants, and the worst possibility can be floor collapse.
  • Can you take off your shoes: This sounds weird, but there is something called " barefoot training " which is not acceptable in certain fitness centers for legal/safety reasons.
  • Using exercise mats present at the gym: Are all the exercise mats accessible for public use? It is because people may leave their mats at the gym to avoid carrying it every time. One should be careful in differentiating the personal mats and the mats provided by the gym for use to avoid inconvenience.

" Ethics is knowing the difference between what you have a right to do and what is right to do. "

Deaf Ear For Random Advices

One can get to see people with various personalities at the gym whose favorite pass time is giving unwanted advice. If one comes across such a situation the best thing to do is feel free to listen to any advice given, nod your head politely, and continue on your workout. If you are genuinely curious, then approach a trainer at the gym and ask for one.

But women may find themselves being talked down to by a male gym member given advice. In such a situation, just appreciate their point, however, showing them that you are more capable of what you are doing at that point of time. It doesn't matter what they said or if they are wrong. Just move on! You don't have to prove anyone.

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Giving Advice To People

This is not recommended until someone is putting themselves or others in immediate danger. Do not give advice to people until you are asked for. Also one could correct the person if they are willing to listen. Because you never know someone's goals, previous or current injuries, or experience.

Do Not Stare

This is insanely distracting for someone working out. Whatever the person is lifting may be impressive in some cases, but standing and staring in their line of sight makes them self-conscious.

There can be another reason why people could be staring at a person. It is because he/she might be doing a workout move incorrect, therefore, the person wants to talk to you about how to correct it. The other reason could be the opposite person is checking out the kind of gear you are wearing or the brand of shoes you put on. Whatever it is staring at a person while working out always leads to a wrong perspective.

Managing Equipment

This is the basic responsibility which depicts a person's discipline. Whenever an equipment is used it should be placed back in its position after finishing the exercise to avoid stumbling. Do not wait until the end of your workout. If you are using a barbell rod or lifting weights make sure that they go into their place after you are done working out with them. If you are not sure where they should be placed just ask the staff.

Exercise mats: This is a bit weird, but is important to specify. All the mats present at the gym may not be meant for public use. People may leave their mats behind in the gym to avoid carrying it every time for use (personal mats). Make sure that the mats provided by the gym are utilized to avoid troublesome situations.

Cleanliness: Whenever an equipment is used make sure that the sweat left on it is wiped down. Gym provides basic facilities such as wipes, spray bottle with disinfectant, sanitizers etc., that you could use to spray and wipe down the equipment. Because "The preservation of health is easier than the cure of disease".

Loud Sounds/Expletives

Gym atmosphere is the important aspect one should take care of. Grunting loudly, smashing the weights on the floor can be disturbing. People around you can get distracted due to the loud noises, however, they may be fine with a bit of noise during lifting weights. The one time it's perfectly acceptable to drop weights is when using bumper plates. These plates are coated with rubber and are often used for weight lifting. If you are dropping these weights yourself, make sure that you don't let them fly wherever. However, this is not in case of dumbbells. Structurally they don't respond well to repeated drops, and you are likely to break the dumbbell heads off. There are some weights which are meant to be dropped but not all of them.

Dressing Apparel

The type of clothing you wear to gym matters. When it comes to how to dress for a gym functionality should be your priority rather than sticking on to trendy fitness apparel. Always make sure that the socks are fresh. Because unknowingly the stinking smell of it can cause a big trouble to all the people surrounding you at the gym.

Also, there are certain kind of fabrics that does not absorb sweat quickly and starts smelling bad, the best example of this is cotton t-shirts. They tend to hold on the moisture for a longer time, making your workouts uncomfortable. Wear moisture wicking clothes which are commonly made of synthetic materials like lycra and polyester. Also, do not forget to carry a towel!

Check If The Equipment Is Free First

While using an equipment make sure that you spend a limited time on it. If you have to do more sets then share the equipment alternatively, one set each. Before this there are few important points to be considered:

  • Is there a towel laid on it?
  • Are there other pieces of training equipment scattered around?
  • Is a rod loaded with weights?
  • Is there a loaded barbell?
  • Look out for loaded bars.
  • Make sure the bench press is free to use if it is loaded.


The above-mentioned points certainly lead to a circumstance that the equipment is in use. To save the equipment for use one could use towels and books(place on the equipment). This can save your time.


Congrats You Have Successfully Decoded!

This might look like a huge list of things before hitting up the gym. Don't stress and don't overwhelm. We all want to be comfortable in the gym, and knowing just a few things can help with that. Before we end up, remember these important points:

  • Be cool
  • Act as it is your equipment
  • Be conscious of your surroundings
  • Dedicate your time (that particular time at the gym) completely to your workout.

Always remember to enjoy your workout, have fun!


© 2018 krithi krisa

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    • profile image

      Shreya 

      22 months ago

      Rules are a must and should and things like this are never told by anyone...... It's is so nice to see you give info about complete new things in all your articles... I love reading them...

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