Gym etiquette, gym safety and the underlying ideas to get you the best results in the gym.
1. Thou shalt always bring a towel.
Fighters know the risk of staph infections but it goes for all kinds of trainees too. Gym equipment, including weights, can carry viruses such as the rhinovirus, which gives you the common cold. Using a towel to sit and lie on when using equipment and wiping down the machines or dumbbells when you’re done will protect both you and your fellow members from getting anything nasty.
2. Thou shalt always put your weights away.
Cleaning up after yourself goes for both sweat and mess. If you can lift it up, you can put it back. Don’t load up machines with heaps of weight either — take some time at the end of your set to unrack it. It’s simple manners.
3. Thou shalt be mindful of others.
Don’t do a giant set on a busy night; save it for when the gym’s a little quiet. Don’t hog the benches on Monday, when everyone’s doing chest. This also means not doing dangerous things like dropping weights where people are walking (though more on that later).
4. Thou shalt use progressive overload.
Put simply, progressive overload is increasing your workload in the gym over time, putting your body under increasing stress from week to week and month to month. It’s the surest way to get results in the gym, so learn this principle for maximum gains.
5. Thou shalt help others out when needed.
If you see someone struggling in the gym, don’t be afraid to help your fellow members. If someone asks for a spot or a work-in, oblige them. However, don’t mistake this for…
6. Thou shalt not offer unsolicited advice.
If you’re more experienced at training, don’t assume everyone needs your help. Let people learn for themselves, as long as it doesn’t look like they’re going to hurt themselves. After all, you don’t know their personal fitness journey or what injuries or limitations they might be working with. And some people just like to go to the gym, put their earbuds in and get their workout done in peace and quiet.
7. Thou shalt not be loud and obnoxious.
This goes for screaming during sets, dropping heavy weights on the floor and for playing your music too loudly in your headphones (if it’s so loud that others can hear it).
8. Thou shalt not interrupt people while they’re working out.
If you need to ask someone how many sets they have left, it can wait until their set is done. You wouldn’t like being interrupted mid-way through a heavy or intense set, so don’t do it to others.
9. Thou shalt respect personal space.
Don’t stand 20 cm away from someone like you’re going to pounce on their piece of equipment. If you need something near a fellow member training, wait until their set is over (remember commandment #8!) to grab it and then move far away enough that nobody is in danger of getting hit by a dumbbell.
10. Thou shalt train for yourself.
Go at your own pace. Try not to get into a volume or strength race with a bigger dude at the gym. You’ll get there eventually, so just focus on you and your own goals and try not to worry about what everyone else is doing.