Fitness Coaching for Me’s Guide to Gym Etiquette

newbie-759x500The Gym is a place that encourages each individual to be at their element: to work hard, push more, and strive for perfection. But everyone should remember that the Gym is a shared space where everyone has the same privileges and accountability as anyone else.


Sometimes, people go beast mode on their workout, and remain like beasts after they train, leaving a trail of their remains behind – used dumbbells on the floor, scattered plates, and the dreaded butt-sweat stamp. I am sure that whatever gym you go to, there will always be at least one beast like this! It is annoying, and plain wrong to be such.  To minimize the spread of these creatures, Fitness Coaching for Me has come up with 5 Simple Ways to Practice Gym Etiquette. There are no rule books on how to behave yourself in a gym while also doing your best. We don’t need one. Politeness and acceptable behavior should be practiced even when you’re going all out on your reps. There are other ways to practice gym etiquette, but we think these 5 should be basic:

  1. Respect the no-lift zone

Don’t EVER lift a weight within 5 feet of the dumbbell rack. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing Side Raises, Bicep Curls, or Goblet Squats — Pick up your weights and take 5 giant steps back. Allow other people to walk in front of you and pick up the weight they need. Now you might say, “I need to check my form in the mirror!Well, you don’t need a close-up look on how your veins pop each rep, right? Take those 5 steps away from the rack and from the mirror, and you’ll still see your form well. You’re just doing one set of 8 reps? It doesn’t matter. Don’t be rude. Step back and finish your quick set so that other people have access to the dumbbells.

Special note: Never do a Dumbbell Bent-Over Row on the dumbbell rack. If you do this, you’re taking the “bell” out of the dumbbell to describe yourself. Find a bench and do your rows! If you say the weight is too heavy to move somewhere else, then heavy lifting is not for you.

 Compare the two photos below. Get the point?



  1. Avoid the “Ab zone”

Most gyms have a designated area for mats, balls, stability balls, medicine balls, etc. These specialty equipment have their special place because it can pose risks when used together with solid, metal objects. Don’t bring heavy weights into that area. It’s designated for stretching and ab work. By taking up the designated space you force other people to take up your space (see point #3).


  1. Keep your mats out of the way.

Don’t set up a mat in between two benches in the free weight zone and do crunches unless you want a weight dropped on your head! It’s inconsiderate, and just plain dangerous not just for you but for other people as well. If you’re doing a circuit or something, find another area that has less traffic. The size of the Gym doesn’t matter – there will be one.

Even if the gym is empty, set up your mat out of the way. Either stick to the “ab zone” or place your mat in a corner out of the way. Think pro-actively. Where might somebody want to work out over the course of your set? Don’t set up there.

 And no, you don’t have to do this:


Or this:


  1. Avoid walking in front of somebody else in the middle of a set.

If somebody is in the middle of their set NEVER cross their field of vision when they are in front of the mirror. It doesn’t matter if they look like they’re just adoring their biceps. Be nice and take the long way around if you have to. Respect other people, and you’ll get respected too when it’s your turn to lift. If you can’t take the long way around, wait for them to finish their set before walking in front.


  1. Put your weights away properly.

I know you might think this should be number one because it is the most common, but these 5 are not in sequence of importance. It is frustrating how other people don’t put their weights back after they finish using them. It is also frustrating how they might put the dumbbells back on the rack, but not in their proper place! Don’t assume that someone will ‘clean-up’ after the weights you leave on the floor.  Most importantly, don’t expect other gym members to just pick up the weight their need from your area. The gym is maintained for everyone’s satisfaction and so that you will have an efficient workout. Imagine if you can’t find the weights you need! Each equipment whether it’s a barbell, dumbbell, weight plate, medicine ball, or mat, have their own designated place so that they could be easily accessed when you need them. Be mindful of how the gym is arranged and maintained, and do your best to keep it.


If you have been going to the gym for a while now, I’m sure there’s at least one occasion where you have seen one of these 5 have been broken – or worse, maybe all of them at once! Or you may be one of those people who tend to be too focused on their workout that they forget to share the space and resources of the gym. Don’t be offended. Be better than before, and simply follow this guide on your following workouts.

Remember that you are training to be fit for life! Be courteous to others and put your weights back to their rightful place.

Train Hard, but most importantly, Train Smart.
* Do you have other ‘rules’ that you think should be added in the list? Let us know in the comments!