Gym Etiquette Rules

If you’re new to the gym, it can be an intimidating place. You probably have a lot of questions. How long can you stay on one machine? Can you use multiple pieces of equipment at once? Can you ask someone how long they’re going to be?

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To feel more confident at the gym or at group classes, it’s good to know the basic code of conduct for the gym. These are easy things you can do to keep everyone safe and happy. The rules of the gym are the same as the rules of life. Clean up after yourself, share when you need to, and don’t be rude. 

Put everything back where it belongs

This is one of the biggest gym etiquette rules. Don’t leave a trail of equipment behind you. If you use something, put it back, so someone else can use it after you. If you aren’t sure where something goes, ask the gym staff. If you chose a gym with good staff, like Fitness 19, they’ll be happy to help you reset. 

Don’t hog the equipment

In busy gyms, the equipment can be in high demand. This is even more true for equipment that there isn’t much of, such as squat racks and bench press racks. If you’re going to squat, then squat. Don’t make people wait for you while you chat to a friend, take selfies in the mirrors, or mess around finding the perfect squatting soundtrack on your Spotify. If there’s no one around, feel free to use what you want, but be willing to share if it gets busy.

Wipe things down after you use them

Always wipe your sweat off of machines, barbells, floor mats and anything else you use, regardless of how much you think you sweated. This is basic gym etiquette and makes the equipment nicer for everyone else to use.

Respect personal space

Gyms get busy, especially during the first few months of the year. However, you should still make an effort to respect everyone’s personal space. It can be awkward to exercise in close proximity with a stranger, and it can actually be dangerous, especially if you’re dropping weights.

Be flexible about your routine if the gym is crowded

Be prepared to change up your plans. If you wanted to squat first, but someone is using the squat rack, don’t hover close by putting them off. Instead, modify your routine. You’ll save time, not make anyone feel awkward, and can give yourself a new challenge by mixing up your routine. 

You can always ask people how much longer they will be using the piece of equipment they want. If they say five minutes, then you could o some warmup moves and wait. If they say 30 minutes, don’t waste your time and do something else first.  

Try to avoid using two pieces of equipment that are far away from each other. Supersets and circuits are effective but don’t choose pieces that are on opposite ends of the gym. It’s incredibly annoying for someone else to spend time setting up a piece of workout equipment, only to have you run from across the gym and say you were using it. 


I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

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