Basic Gym Etiquette

If you’ve stepped into a commercial gym in January then you’ll know how much gyms can feel like a chimpanzee exhibit. Obviously to avoid this stressful experience we’d advise getting home gym equipment, but not everybody has the space or the money. Here’s a list of the main laws of basic gym etiquette.

We’d strongly advise everyone follows these rules to make training in a gym better for everybody. Even if nobody else in your gym cares, you should be the change you want to see in the world, then maybe some people will take note and follow suit.

Etiquette in the Weight Room

Use a Towel

When you exercise, your heart rate goes up, thereby making your body heat increase. The body’s natural response to getting warmer is to start sweating to cool itself down. So yes, sweating in the gym is an inevitability. But nobody else wants to wade in your sweat – did you know commercial gym equipment can have more bacteria than a toilet seat?

So do everyone a favour and use a gym towel. It’s recommended to use a towel not only to wipe the sweat off your forehead, but also to put it on the bench you’re using to avoid any sweat stains afterwards. You should also always wipe down equipment before and after use to avoid spreading any lurgies. Some gyms will provide spray & wipes for you to do this yourself. If they don’t then that’s a red flag and you should definitely wipe down the equipment with a towel before use.

You can get towels especially for the gym, like the Sting gym towel. The handy thing is that it comes with a zip pocket so you can keep track of all your belongings.

Sting Gym Towel on a flat bench

No Curls in the Squat Rack

This is probably one of the most common grievances about going to the gym. The majority of commercial gyms use their budget to pack in as many isolation machines as possible, with not very much left for power racks and squat racks. If you want to do free weight squats then your options are limited.

Your options are made even more limited if there’s some plonker doing curls in the squat rack. Don’t be that plonker. I know bicep curls are the ultimate upper body exercise, but there’s no need to do them in the squat rack. If you’ve been doing curls in a squat rack all this time and now you’re lost for exercise ideas, then we’ve come up with 21 exercise variations you can do with an EZ Curl Bar – no squat rack required.

Put Dumbbells & Weight Plates Back in the Rack

Contrary to popular belief – the equipment you’re currently using in the gym isn’t actually owned by you. Other people are going to be using it after you. That means you shouldn’t leave it lying around the place. Be kind to other people and put it back where you find it. If it was in the wrong place when you found it then don’t double down on stupid, put it back in the right place. This makes it a better experience for everyone. If your gym is full of wankers who don’t put anything back in the right place, then you might think it’s ok to leave it wherever. But that’s the rationale that everyone else there is also using, so it’s time for you to step up.

Clean Barbells

Barbell knurling is prone to picking up all kinds of grime – this is especially true if people are using gym chalk with it. Over time the chalk, sweat and blood will get all up in the barbells grooves and start damaging it. This can be avoided by giving the bar a quick scrub after use. This isn’t a necessity in every gym to be fair, but high quality barbells can be expensive, and a high quality barbell with ruined knurling isn’t much good. So if your bar does have good quality barbells then do the right thing and give it a clean after use. The barbell cleaning kit is perfect for this.

Don’t Hog Equipment

Once again – the equipment you’re using in the gym isn’t yours, and other people are going to want to use it. Gyms often only have a couple of the same machines in them too. Which means eventually someone else is going to want to use the same piece of equipment you’re using. So don’t take 10 minute rests on the pec fly machine.

Etiquette in the Locker Room

Don’t Hang Around the Locker Room Nude

We’ve all heard stories of the naked old dude loitering in the changing rooms, and the scariest part is those stories are often true. Don’t be that dude. You might be perfectly comfortable in your own skin. But that doesn’t mean others are comfortable with your skin. The changing rooms are for showering and getting changed. It is not for socialising with random strangers.

If someone is having a shower, let them be and get on with your own business. If they want to talk to you they will.

Finally while we are in the showers. The most important gym etiquette rule is – the hairdryer is for hair. Not for drying your package.