The gentleman’s guide to gym etiquette

Unless you have a private gym, you’re exercising in a community. Here’s how to make the most of your workout without making it hell for others...

Your new year’s resolution may seem like a dim and distant memory now, but that doesn’t mean you should forget how to act when you do make it to the gym.

In fact, in an early attempt to clamp down on poor etiquette, some gyms have gone as far as removing squat racks and even banning grunting when lifting weights.

If you want to avoid your favourite fitness suite from taking such drastic measures, all you need to do is follow a few simple rules…

Wipe down the equipment

The gentleman’s guide to gym etiquette

A towel is a must-have for every gym-goer – not just the heavy set, heavy sweaters. Even if you’re not dripping by the end of your workout, nobody wants to deal with someone else’s moisture left behind on the bench.

Once you’ve finished your final set, be sure to take that excess sweat off the bench for the next person to use. It won’t take you a second and will help keep that gym in sparkling condition for everyone else.

Return the weights

The gentleman’s guide to gym etiquette

Return the weights

You’re about to start your dumbbell bench presses and all of sudden you can’t find the weights you need on the rack. They’ve mysteriously disappeared along with half the others.

If you’re strong enough to lift them off the rack, you’re strong enough to put them back. So no excuses, gents. Save the rest of the gym members searching for half an hour to find their weights and always be sure to place them back on the rack.

Lower – don’t drop – your arms

The gentleman’s guide to gym etiquette

Ok, we get it, you’ve just set a new deadlift PB. But by dropping that barbell, you’ve just announced to everyone in a three mile radius that you’re not strong enough to lower it back down slowly.

In fact, by lowering your weights back down at a controlled pace, you use your muscles in a different way and help improve your overall strength. Not to mention, it also helps keep the equipment  – and your reputation – in good nick.

Keep the phones away

The gentleman’s guide to gym etiquette

You might think yourself a “fitfluencer” but that doesn’t mean you should hog the mirrors as you take a spree of selfies.

And if you need to take that important business call, take it outside or leave it for when you’ve cooled down. Your colleagues don’t want to hear your workout going on as you talk over last quarter’s figures.

Keep that phone in your pocket, only to be used for pairing with some noise-cancelling headphones and blasting your favourite workout music.

Share the machines

The gentleman’s guide to gym etiquette

It’s important to remember that you don’t own the gym, you’re a member of its community. So don’t leave a bottle on a machine to save it while you warm up, and there is no need to sit in the chest press while you’re in between sets on the leg press.

If it’s busy and you’re squeezing in a workout around peak hours, you might consider sharing a machine with someone else – so you rest while they do their set. You’ll both get your workout done quicker and you might gain a new gym buddy.

Don't try to chat up women

The gentleman’s guide to gym etiquette

It’s 2019, guys. Approaching women in the gym isn’t the most acceptable behavior. They’re there to workout just like you and probably don’t appreciate a sweaty man asking for their number just as they try and break their PB for tricep dips.

Want to invite her to a post-workout juice? Sure. If she’s a member, there will be plenty of better opportunities to ask her – like a well-timed exit.

All in all, just understand that everyone needs to feel welcome in the gym. It’s not a male dominated space despite how that Arnold Schwarzenegger documentary made it look.  

Now check out the best workout you can do without any equipment…

Further Reading