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  • Gemma Waters

Gym Etiquette

Whether you are a member of a public gym, CrossFit box or just workout at a home, there are certain guidelines you should follow to keep the place running smoothly. Without these guidelines, gyms are thrown into chaos with workouts taking twice as long.


Here are the guidelines we follow:


1. Play nice with others. The weights and equipment are not there solely for you to use as you please. You may need to share the equipment or work in with someone.


2. Respect the equipment. Don’t drop the dumbbells just because you can. Every time you drop them they need to be recalibrated which is going to affect everyone that want’s to use them. Treat the equipment as if it is yours and your hard-earned money has been used to pay for it.


3. Don’t hog the equipment. You cannot sit on the lat pulldown machine for 40 minutes whilst texting or checking your notifications on your phone. Do you set and get off.


4. Put your phone away. If you have the energy to check your phone during a training session then you are not mentally or physically invested in that session. Your phone is a distraction to you and everyone else around you.


5. Pack away your weights. Do you want to have to un-rack a bar or unload a machine before you use it? No, so do what you would like others to do for you. Put your weight away once you are finished with them.


6. Put your weights back in the right place; don’t just pick the weight tree that is closest to you or throw them in the corner. The heaviest weights will go on the bottom of the weight tree and the lightest will go at the top. Most gyms will have sets of weight plates from 1.25g-25kg. The 25kg plates go all the way down to the bottom, the 20kg will go above them, followed by the 15kg plate and so on. Do not place the 1.25kg plates behind all of the 25kg plates.


7. Respect those lifting around you. If someone is squatting, do not go near that bar. Wait until they have racked the weight before you go near them to grab a weight, etc. You could knock the bar and cause serious injury to the lifter. Move out of the lifters line of sight, you will be a distraction to them.


8. Don’t assume that someone wants a spot, ask them or wait for them to ask you. If you are going to spot someone, clarify how they want you to spot them or how you will be spotting them. Do they want a lift-off? How many reps are they doing? Let’s take a bench press, for example, do not touch the bar until you see the bar go back down towards the lifters chest. Just because they are taking longer than normal to lift the weight does not mean they need your assistance. If you are the lifter in need of a spot you must keep driving the bar, you cannot just stop and expect the spotter to lift the dead weight. A spotter’s job, in this case, is to help you rack the bar, not complete the lift for you.


9. Avoid giving unsolicited advice. Tip people up when you feel like they need/want it, but don’t be the self-proclaimed ‘expert’, no one likes that guy. Someone may be performing a lift that you are unfamiliar with, but that doesn’t make it wrong.


10. You are not going into battle so you do not need to spray chalk all over the floor or yourself. Keep your hands in the chalk bucket and dust them off before removing them. If you spill it on the floor, clean it up.


11. Chances are if you train in a public gym, especially at peak time, you may have to share your equipment with someone else. Ask the person if you can work in with them. If it’s a pin-loaded piece of equipment there should be no issues with working in with someone, you literally just change the pin setting. The same goes for a set of dumbbells. If we are talking about a squat or a deadlift though, sometimes it may not be possible. If the person who was on the bar first is lifting a similar weight to you (and the pin height is at the same setting or a setting you can work with) then you should be able to work in with them. For example, you are squatting 100kg and they are squatting 110kg. However, if they are squatting 50kg and you are going to squat 150kg, it may take too long to change the weight, which could affect each individual's program negatively. In this case, you will have to wait.


12. Use a towel or wipe down the equipment before someone else uses it. Take your sweat with you, no one want’s to be rolling around in it.


13. Use deodorant. Training is going to make you sweat and stink more than usual. You may enjoy the smell of your underarms, but don’t assume others will too.


14. Turn your music down. No one wants to hear your playlist along with the playlist the gym has roaring in the background. Stop dancing too, you’re at the gym, not a club.


In short, put your weights away, respect the equipment and those around you, and use your common sense once in a while.


If you follow these simple guidelines your gym will be running smoothly in no time.

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