Gym Etiquette

I just joined a new gym and so far I love it. It’s big and has probably 30 treadmills, which means I’ll never have to wait again! (knock on wood)

But with a new gym comes new questions. I wanted to get your input on a few things, and then talk about general gym etiquette for those who may just be starting to go or plan on getting a membership for the new year.

Proper Gym Etiquette


Okay here are my questions for you gym folks…

  • At my other gym, when you wanted to use the squat rack, you waited behind the person squatting (kind of a line I guess) and when they were finished you stepped in. Is this normal practice? If I wait behind someone at my new gym will they think I’m a creep?
  • Do you bring your dumbbells to other places in the gym? We had a room where people took equipment to do circuit type workouts. At my new gym, the way the treadmills are set up, it’d be perfect to bring dumbbells or kettlebells over to do running and strength circuits. Thoughts?

Okay so I though I had more questions but that’s basically it haha. I’d love to hear your input!

General Gym Etiquette

If you plan on getting a gym membership this upcoming year and aren’t sure where to start, here are a few “rules” people tend to follow at the gym. I mean, basically just be courteous and no one will give you the stink eye ;)

Wipe stuff down. Don’t leave your treadmill, bike, mat, bench, etc. without wiping it down. 1) Who wants to touch your sweat and 2) Think of all the bacteria that can be passed around that way. Let’s all try to avoid getting sick so we don’t have to skip days at the gym :)

Don’t hoard equipment. I know I asked above if I can take dumbbells to a room or the treadmill, but some people take dumbbells, kettlebells, a bench, a box, a jump rope, etc. etc. to their little corner and then the rest of the gym doesn’t have access for a while. If you’re doing circuits, just take what you need for the first circuit, then go exchange it for other stuff as your workout progresses (especially if it’s during peak hours).

Be quick. No one is saying to rush your workout, but don’t take a 5 minute break in between sets either. I hate when I’m waiting for a bench or the squat rack and the person on it is texting during their break, walking around talking to friends and just taking forever in general. When I know people are waiting, I take a short break, and then get right back into it. Plus, that’s a better way to keep your heart rate up anyway!

Ask someone to spot you. Don’t be afraid to do this! Personal trainers and gym staff are there for a reason. If you’re just starting out and unsure of the weight you’re lifting, definitely ask someone to give you a spot. You’ll stay safe and perhaps learn some cues and tips from the trainer who helps you.

Put your stuff away. Nothing peeves me more than when I go to the squat rack and someone left the bar on the rack with multiple weights on it. Why??? You couldn’t take the time to take the weights off?? Be courteous and put things back where you got them…isn’t that something we learned in Kindergarten? ;)

Let people work in with you. If you know you need to do 5 sets on a machine, let the person waiting work in with you. They’ll ask “Can I work in?” and then you just switch on and off. You can also ask people if you can work in. I mean, I know people who find this annoying, but it doesn’t bother me at all. What are your thoughts on this?

I want to hear your thoughts on gym etiquette…what would you add to this list? Or any general tips you’d give beginners?


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  1. Great list. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I never know what to do when waiting to use something! I always just pray they will be done by the time I need it, or I just do something else. But I guess waiting by the rack will signal to them that someone else does need it.

    I bring the dumbbells all of the gym! As long as you put them back (in the correct position) it shouldn’t be a problem!
    Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine recently posted…Gift Guide For The GuysMy Profile

  3. I’ve never really waited in line for the squat rack, I just keep my eye on it until its free and then jump at it when they leave.
    I agree with your other etiquette rules, people not putting stuff back drives me crazy! At this one gym I go to no one puts the sanitizer bottles away.They literally leave them in the pockets on treadmills, ellipticals, in the middle of the floor. It blows my mind and drives me crazy.
    Jen @ Pretty Little Grub recently posted…Motivate Me Monday vacation editionMy Profile

    • That is weird! I don’t get how you just leave things out in the middle of the gym – is it that hard to walk back and put it away??

  4. Had to tweet this for sure… the more people that can follow proper gym decorum, the better!
    Dietitian Jess recently posted…Crunchy Festive Salad with Tangy VinaigretteMy Profile

  5. Also, don’t go to the gym if you have the black plague. Don’t dinosaur clomp on the TMill, and and just be a nice person!
    Susie @ SuzLyfe recently posted…A Cure for Winter Skin Woes (Acure Organics Review)My Profile

    • I think I might be a treadmill clomper lol oops. But I agree-if you’re sick stay away! No need to be spreading that ish around :-P

  6. Yep! i remember these, and I wish we could post these up on the wall. Thankfully I do not work out at a gym right now, well not a traditional one, and that helps, but I sometimes wish kentucky people would understand running etiquette hahaha!
    Tina Muir recently posted…My Year of Running 2014: Building for the FutureMy Profile

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