The Rules of the Gym

Most gyms have a written set of rules to govern our behavior while working out.

The Rules of the Gym

ALL gyms, however, have an unwritten code of behavior that is not always readily apparent to sometimes even the most advanced of us.

The "Official" Rules of The Gym

The written rules of the gym are usually few and designed to ensure members safety, convenience and equipment care. You are probably familiar with the majority of them.

These rules are all fairly straightforward and come out of common sense. These written rules are also outnumbered by the unwritten rules of the gym.


1. Don't drop weights

Dropping weights on the floor can cause injury to yourself or others and can also damage the equipment itself. Always set it down as gently as you can.

2. Return or remove weights when you are finished with them

This is a simple matter of courtesy to whoever is using the equipment after you. Not everybody can or wants to unload ten 45-pound plates off the leg press machine. Place dumbbells back on the rack in the slots where they belong and always remove your weights from the machines unless the next person specifically asks you to leave them on.

3. Wear proper attire

Wear appropriate clothing for exercise. This mainly refers to shoes but can include things such as wearing jeans in the gym.

4. Sweat hogs

Wipe benches off if you sweat all over them. It's even better to put down a towel before you use the bench. You don’t want to lie in other peoples sweat so extend them the same courtesy.

5. No Swearing

This is a very common sense rule. Profanity can be offensive to others. If you have to scream in the middle of a tough set, make it unintelligible.

6. No Smoking

If your gym doesn't have ashtrays on the stair-machines, chances are it doesn't allow smoking in the gym area. If you need to smoke, go to a designated smoking area.


The Unwritten Rules of the Gym

The unwritten code of the gym is often a mystery to the inexperienced trainer, though advanced trainers have been known to experience lapses.

If you have ever wondered what the unwritten code of the gym is, you have come to the right place. They are many and not always what you'd expect.


1. Talking during a set

Do not talk to someone in the middle of a set. This is very distracting and they are probably not listening to you anyway. Don’t be offended if and when they ignore you. Wait until they're done.

2. Excessive talking

Don't talk excessively to people during their workout. They are (usually) at the gym to work, not socialize. Socialize after the workout.

3. Through the looking glass

Walking or standing in front of someone during a set interferes with their concentration. People rely on the feedback from the mirror to help their balance and keep track of form, especially during overhead presses, squats, deadlifts, etc.

4. Working in with others

Always ask before you work in. It is very rude to just sit down on a machine or bench the instant someone gets off. Don't ask to work in on a machine or bench if the other person is using a lot more or a lot less weight than you as it may take too long to change weights in between sets. Just wait until they're done or find something else to do.

5. Working in with you

By the same token, it is rude not to let someone else work in with you. The exception to this is when it would interfere with your own workout, e.g. lots of weight changing or very short rest periods.

6. Bench hogs

Don't hog benches or machines (unless it's quiet and nobody else wants to use them).

7. Rolling, rolling, rolling

Don't let your dumbbells or barbells roll away from you as they can cause injury in others.

8. Water, water everywhere…

Don't take too long at the water fountain. This includes filling up your water bottle. If someone is behind you, let them drink then resume filling. Don't ever spit or blow your nose in the fountain, either.

9. Captain Safety strikes again

Don't automatically jump in and spot someone the instant they look as though they're having trouble. The hard reps are the most productive and you may screw it up by jumping in. Get into position and be ready if they ask but don't assume.

10. Abusing your spotter

Don’t ask someone to spot you if you can’t lift the weight yourself in the first place. If your spotter gets a lower-back workout while you are bench pressing then you need to reevaluate the amount of weight you are using.

11. Too close for comfort

Don't move your bench too close to other people's benches. Some exercises require room to execute than others and you might just be in the way.

12. Resetting machines

If you work in on a machine, reset it back to where the other person had it after you've done your set.

13. Be nice

It's not nice to laugh at other people just because they can't lift as much as you. Remember, there is always someone else who can lift more than you.

14. Spotting

If someone asks you for a spot, give it to them. If you don’t feel comfortable spotting them, e.g. they are using a very heavy weight, let them know.

15. The hills are alive…

Try not to yell and scream unnecessarily. This can distract other gym members. Sometimes it is necessary but if you scream during a set of wrist curls, something is wrong.

16. Dropping and banging

Don't drop weights or bang them together unnecessarily. Not only can you hurt your joints by banging and dropping weights, it is very distracting to others.

17. Too much information

Don't hold loud, in-depth conversations around people while they are doing a set.

18. Bull's-eye

If you tend to spray spit when you lift (it happens), make sure there is no one in the target area.

19. Pepe La Pew Part 1

Don’t wear excessive cologne or perfume to the gym. It can be very unpleasant for others who are breathing heavily.

20. Pepe La Pew Part 2

Bathe regularly. Newsflash...heat and more sweating tends to INCREASE odor, not get rid of it.


Learn how to choose the right gym for you here.


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