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Updated on July 21, 2012

Gym Etiquette

My training started, like many others, in the basement of my parent's home. An original "cellar dweller", I trained in a damp dungeon under a 60-watt bulb accompanied by my transistor radio and the latest issue of Mr. America. My equipment consisted of a 110 lb. barbell set, ( a Christmas gift my Dad had lugged home through 6-inches of snow on Dec. 24th, 1962) and a wooden bench that had been in the family since the Pilgrims came ashore at Plymouth. My "gym", located in the basement corner, had become available as my mother had gotten her first clothes dryer and no longer needed the space to hang laundry. This was one big Christmas: a barbell, a dryer, and Dad got some Ben-Gay!

After a few years in the basement I packed my gym bag and headed to a commercial gym with dozens of guys all vying for the same equipment at the same time. The owner insisted that all weights be returned to their proper place and when finished with a machine the plates were to be removed to the base poundage. (Holy cr#p! I never did that in my basement - what's with this guy?) That was my first encounter with gym etiquette and I soon discovered it applied to everyone. The bodybuilder; who won last year's Mr. Local contest, the power lifter; who could bend a 60-penny spike with his bare hands, and the 90-lb weakling; who just arrived from his basement, were all expected to return the weights as a courtesy to others. No one was exempt and that single courtesy taught us respect for anyone with a like mind to get fit.

BASIC DO's and DON'T's

1. DO return dumbbells and barbells to the proper rack after each set.

2. DO remove plates from the machines to return equipment to base weight.

(Not required if equipment is selectorized.)

3. DO use a towel to wipe benches when finished.

4. DO wait your turn or ask to work in.

5. DO be willing to spot others.

(Be sure to ask for a spot when you need one.)

6. DO wear clean clothes for each workout.

7. DON'T monopolize a piece of equipment.

8. DON'T scream, yell or use profanity.

(A waste of training energy.)

9. DON'T wear street shoes.

10. DON'T be late for a workout if training with a partner.


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