How’s Your Gym Etiquette? 10 Ways to be Polite at the Gym

Imagine walking through the doors. You’re pumped to hit the cardio equipment to get warmed up before you head over to the free weights. The right song is playing on your iPod.

You feel energized and in the zone. You head on over to one of the few open treadmills, step up on it, and soon realize why no one was using it.

It’s completely drenched in sweat. I’m not talking a drop or two, I’m talking it looks like someone wrung their shirt out on the equipment before leaving.

Nasty, right?

This has definitely happened to me before, and if you’ve been frequenting the gym for a while, you may already have stumbled on a scene just like this.

While this is clearly a party foul in many people’s eyes, there are some other things we may be doing that are in clear violation of proper gym behavior that we’re not even aware of!

I figured freshening up on some proper gym etiquette was in order. So without any further ado, here is a Gym Etiquette Guide for everyone to review, so we can all have better gym experiences!

1. Wipe Up Your Sweat.

Airplane Sweating GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Let’s go ahead and start with this one. It’s perfectly fine to sweat in the gym; after all, you should be pushing yourself. It’s not okay to leave your sweat for the next person.

If you’ve poured your heart and soul out onto a piece of equipment, whether it’s a machine, bench, or free weights, wipe it down after you’re done. A lot of gyms have sanitation wipes for people to use. If you don’t see a canister, ask the front desk. I’m sure they’d be more than happy to help you out!

2. Clean Up Your Weights.


One of the worst things is having to go on a scavenger hunt around the gym and look for the dumbbells and weights you want to use.

Your workout doesn’t end until you have racked all your weights.

Remember, if you’re strong enough to work out with the dumbbells and weighted plates, you’re strong enough to put them back!

Also, the front desk will love you.

3. The Bench Isn’t for Texting or Selfies

I can’t count on my hands and toes how many times I’ve seen people turning their workout into a photo shoot: snapping photos, snapchats, and videos left and right while people are waiting off in the corner to use the machine.

Are you looking like a sweaty mess and want to show your friends? Resist the urge to take photos until you’re off the piece of equipment. Not only will your workout be more intense because you’re not taking such a long resting period, but you’ll also finish quicker so someone else can use the machine, too.

4. Don’t Hog the Equipment

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Want to superset your exercises?

No sweat, just don’t lay claim to multiple machines or pieces of equipment all at once without being willing to share with others and letting other people work in if they ask.

5. Stay Clear of the Weight Rack

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If you’re going to do some free weight exercises like bicep curls, don’t do them in front of the free weights.

People will be going to the weight rack to return or grab weights, and you’ll be in their way!

Take a couple steps back from the rack and the mirror.

6. Don’t Throw Your Weights

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Unless you’re an Olympic lifter, don’t go throwing your weights on the ground. You may break the equipment or hurt someone!

The key to an effective workout is being able to control the weight the whole time during the exercise, and that means returning the weights to a starting position (on the floor or on the rack) after you’ve completed your set.

7. Keep It Down

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The gym certainly isn’t a library.

There’s usually music playing over the speaker system, and the sounds of clangs and bangs can be heard from every corner. But that doesn’t mean you can be as loud as you want.

Try to keep the noise down. Those around you will definitely appreciate it.

8. Give People Their Space

Personal Space Gross Gif GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Are you waiting for someone to finish up on a piece of equipment, so you can use it? No worries, that tends to happen a lot during peak hours at the gym when a lot of people are there. Go ahead and ask them how many sets they have left.

If they’re almost done, go ahead and wait it out, but give them some space. Don’t stand there in front of them and wait. That can get a little awkward.

9. If You’re Sick, Stay Home.

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If you’re feeling a little under the weather, call it a rest day and stay home.

Remember, resting up is an important part of the recovery process, plus no one wants to see someone sneezing all over the weights.

10. Don’t Be A Chatty Cathy

Elaine Benes Rant GIF by HULU - Find & Share on GIPHY

Remember, people are at the gym to work out!

Save the long conversations and catching up with long-lost friends for outside of the gym.

You don’t want to disrupt the flow of the gym, or keep people from being able to exercise.

Let’s Recap!

The gym can be an incredible place to build muscle, blast fat, and improve our health, but it’s certainly not for everyone, and that’s ok!

Maybe your local gym is too far of a commute, or you just don’t have access to one that fits your needs. Or maybe you prefer to work out outside.

I have some incredible news. Having a gym membership isn’t the only way to trim down and build an impressive physique. What if I told you that you can sculpt a great body all from the comfort of your own living room?

Well, you can, and the answer is Trainer Lindsey’s 6-Week Fit Body Challenge. This is a complete 6-week workout program designed to help you blast fat, build lean muscle, and build a stronger, healthier you.

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Kirsten Jackson

Kirsten Jackson

Writer and expert

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