I’m writing this article due to the overwhelming lack of gym etiquette that is seen in fitness facilities today! Facilities usually post a list of “friendly reminders” at the entrance and throughout the weight room. These may range from a simple “please wipe down equipment when finished” to the insane “no grunting or actually working hard enough to intimidate anyone” that we have seen from that purple planet where gains go to die (if you didn’t get that one, ask). Most of these rules and regulations have a legitimate reason and fall under the “gym etiquette” umbrella. I will go over a few of these just to offer a friendly reminder not to be a jerk in the gym.
- Re-racking weights: This sounds like a simple idea….. Add weight to an empty barbell, perform your sets, remove weight from barbell so the next person can do the same, move on to the next movement. When a lifter approaches a loaded barbell, that is a sign someone is using it and they may have gone to get a drink or use the restroom with intent to return. A loaded barbell with no one using it wastes the time of everyone else planning on lifting. Also, not everyone using the barbell will start or work with the weight that is left on the bar. Please, leave the weights as you found them or back in their proper places!
- Dropping dumbbells: This makes me crazy and is not only bad for the weights, but a safety hazard as well! If you cannot physically sit up with the dumbbells after performing a set, you are either too weak to be using them or need the help of a spotter to return you to starting position. Benches are in close quarters around the dumbbell rack. Lifters will be walking or standing near the benches while a set is being performed and falling dumbbells are unpredictable! I have witnessed dumbbells bouncing or rolling into lifters feet or ankles causing some major damage! The dumbbells are made to be handled with some aggression, but when constantly dropped, they may chip, break, become loose and unstable, or even uneven.
- Cleaning off benches or pads when finished: Most if not all gyms offer spray bottles and cleaning tools to wipe down equipment when finished. This is self explanatory….. No one wants to put their head back on a bench into a pool of gross sweat and bacteria (even worse if it was left by the person's butt)!
- Lifting directly in front of the dumbbell rack mirror: Believe it or not, other people have access to the dumbbells on the racks! This may be ok in an empty gym, but not in a busy free weight area. It’s not only rude, but doing lateral raises while people are trying to access or return weights is dangerous. Take a few steps back and perform the movement there. The mirror will still show your biceps and delts in action from 10 feet away!
- Supersets: Supersets are more or less defined as performing one movement directly followed by a different movement. This usually involves using two or more different pieces of equipment. Again, this works well in a gym that’s not as crowded. During peak hours, people do not want to stand around waiting for a piece of equipment with your towel on it while you are across the gym using something else! Try to keep supersets close in proximity or use dumbbells instead of machines.
These are just a few of the many helpful reminders to make everyone’s experience in the gym run smoothly! If you have been guilty of any of these, it’s not too late to change!