Gym Etiquette 101

You’re new to the gym and to proper gym etiquette:  here is a list of written [and unwritten] rules to keep you safe, to be respected and respectful, and to get the most out of your training.

The Obvious Ones…


This one is not just gym etiquette, this is just a good policy.

Anybody who has spent any time in the gym has run into a bench, a machine, or floor space with sweat all over it.  Frankly that is gross and uncalled for.

Wipe your stuff down and mop your area if needed.  This is simply common courtesy for your fellow gym goers. The good news is most people aren’t guilty of this one. Every once in a while, though…

Pick Up After Yourself

Nobody likes to walk up to a dumbbell rack seeing dumbbells on the floor, on the benches, and in the wrong places.  It can also be quite frustrating to see plates on the bars, plate loaded machines, or where they generally don’t belong.

Even if you didn’t get them out, it may not be a bad idea to help the space and put them away.  Certainly put your own away.

Whether you want to call someone else out or not, well, that’s on you.

Dropping Weights

If you’re in a gym with bumper plates that allows the dropping of loaded barbells, do it.  However, it’s not good for the equipment, or the safety of other gym goers, to drop dumbbells and kettlebells.  They’re heavy, they’re dense, and they’ll break things as well as themselves.

I am a believer in dropping barbells with bumper plates.  I am not a believer in dropping anything else.  Except maybe a sandbag…

The Less Obvious

Don’t Steal

This is a good rule for life but it also applies to gym etiquette.  If you know, or think you know, someone is using something then you should take a second to see if they come back.  You don’t want to be the person who knowingly, or unknowingly, steals equipment.  Stealing doesn’t make friends.


If you’re training at a big box gym, with lots of equipment, and an expansive training floor then be conscious of where you are and what equipment you may be supersetting.  You shouldn’t be upset if you’re using one piece of equipment on one side of the gym, another piece on the other side of the gym, and someone uses one of them while you’re gone.

Believe it or not, people aren’t really watching what you’re doing.  Be gracious and understanding of your fellow trainees.


This one is a pet peeve of mine:  If you know someone is about to lift, regardless of what their lift is, try not to walk right in front of them.  In the best case, it is simply distracting.  In the worst case, it can be catastrophic for that individual (and for you if the roles were reversed).


My goal, with everything I do in the health and fitness world, is to give actionable items to help people better themselves.  It is no different in this case, just a bit more abstract.

As for these “rules,” keep yourself safe, keep others safe, and keep training.  

What do you think?  What did I miss?  Write your personal gym etiquette rules below.

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