Gym Etiquette 101
Welcome to Training by Taylor! I am going to post helpful insights and pointers for this World of Fitness we live in. I decided to kick it off with a some basic rules for gym etiquette. It is so important, and so many people lack it! These rules are not only for the "newbies" but for the gym veterans out there too. It's always good to polish up on the basics!
Gyms are communities. Communities are made up of a variety of personalities and lifestyles, and the gym is no different. We all have things that rub us the wrong way, our "pet peeves" in the gym, and regardless whether you are a "Man of the Iron" or a "Cardio Queen" there are a few simple rules that should be followed. These rules, when adhered to, help cultivate the gym "community". So many gym-goers don't know these rules or choose to ignore them. Don't be "that guy" in the gym that everybody hates. Follow these 8 simple rules:
1- Curling in the Squat Rack. A big NO-NO. This is my number one pet-peeve. Unless you curl over 200lbs (which 99.9% of people do not) then get out of the squat rack, and go pick up some dumbbells. It's not called a Curl Rack...it's a Squat Rack.
2- Using more than one set of dumbbells during peak hours. Unless the gym is slow, save your "giant sets" or "drop-sets" for a different time. Again, the gym is a community, and people within communities need to share. There are few things worse than needing a set of dumbbells only to find out that "Captain Swole" has four sets of varied-weight dumbbells lined up for his chest finisher. Its simple, be aware and SHARE.
3- Rack your weights. You guys, it's so simple. Put your weights back when you finish with them. If you didn't learn this lesson as a child, you need to learn it now. Clean up after yourself. The gym is your adult playground, now put your toys away!
4- Cell Phones. Yeah, I get it, cell phones are an important part of your daily life. Thats fantastic, but when you're on a machine or bench and people are waiting to use those things...don't sit there on your cell phone. I'm sorry, but I'm not going to wait around for you to finish posting a video on Facebook of your new PR. Get off your phone, and get to work!
5- Creating a positive environment. We have all been new at something at some point in our lives. You will come across a "newbie" at they gym, so stop hating and instead say hello, and help them out! If they look lost, throw out some pointers and make the transition easy for them. Its hard enough for people to get themselves into the gym let alone having those "regulars" being agitated by their presence. Lets all get along and continue to cultivate this community!
6- "Big Dogging". Another big one...give people space and time to get their sets in. If you have squats on the agenda for the day, and someone is already occupying the rack, ask politely (this is key) how many sets they have left and then back off. Do you want some goon hovering over you when you're trying to finish a set? Probably not. So step away and find something else to do while you wait. And remember, your workout is not better or more important than theirs. Unless this person is violating gym etiquette rule #4 or deciding to do 10 sets of 10 at peak hours, they will be done in just a few minutes. So, chill out.
7- Slamming weights. The gym is loud place. Don't be that obnoxious guy that drops weights and slams down dumbbells. If you are not strong enough to set your weight down with control, you're not strong enough to use that weight! There are exceptions to this rule, for example if you are olympic lifting and/or lifting to failure and you must drop the weight These are not common exceptions, so juts be smart about it, and respect the facility and those around you.
8- Learn to spot. You will likely be asked to "spot" someone in the gym, especially if you're a big guy. Everyone has a preference on how they want to be spotted, so be sure to ask them and give them what they want to the best of your ability. Your job is to help them get a good lift while keeping them safe. If you're not comfortable spotting someone - tell them - they can find someone else.
This is just the tip of the iceberg in gym etiquette. If you have a specific question or comment, let me know! I'm happy to elaborate and answer. Again, the gym is a community - we want you to fit in and be happy there!