Gym Etiquette 101

The gym and its equipment may intimidate you, especially when you are a beginner. Looking at the regulars training with those heavyweights and the blasting music may get you all flustered and confused when you first step into the gym. But, worry not, for here are some gym rules which will help you in your journey and boost your confidence. Let us see what these rules are and how can you go about following them.

Gym Etiquette

Gym Etiquette

Be a novice or an everyday gym-goer, there are certain rules that you need to follow in the gym. These rules are neither written in any gym bible nor are they told to every gym member. They are unspoken and hence, cannot be termed as rules specifically. They are called gym etiquette. 

Now, the main difference between rules and etiquette is that rules are compulsory and everyone is expected to follow them no matter what. Sometimes you may even get punished if the rules are broken. This is not the case with etiquette. Etiquette is the ‘customary code of polite behavior in society or among members of a particular profession or group’. And, although it may not be a compulsion, it’s good to follow them. Certainly, if not followed, there are no punishments, unless specified. 

Gym etiquette can be called a code of conduct that gym-goers may follow and which will make their time in the gym and their interaction with fellow gym-goers easier and smoother.


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Gym Etiquette 101

Out of the many gym etiquettes that one needs to keep in mind and practice in the gym, the following are the 10 key etiquettes that need to be given due importance.

  • Clean machines before and after use

Everyone comes to the gym to work out and train hard, and in this process of training hard, everyone puts in a lot of effort and sweat. Now, you may consider your sweat a good indicator of your intense workout in the gym but nobody, not a soul, likes to sit or lie down in a pool of someone else’s sweat. So, whenever you are done using any machines or equipment, make sure you clean them. 

Gyms usually provide sanitization equipment, paper towels, and disinfectant spray. At some gyms, a staff member may be appointed by the gym authorities to do this work for you. If appointed, ask them to wipe down the equipment and if not, you can clean it yourself. 

Another important thing that you can do is to carry a hand towel with you to wipe the sweat off your body. You can even use the towel on machines and benches on which you lay. This will prevent the machines from being soiled with sweat in the first place. 

Also, do not forget to wipe the machines before utilizing them yourself. The importance of hygiene and the threat of droplet infections cannot be stressed enough in the Covid-19 pandemic. It is truly said that prevention is better than cure.

  • Do not dominate over the machines and equipment

As stated earlier, if you are coming to the gym to work out, so are others. There are many who are busy in their professional or personal lives and have to make time for their workout. Everyone needs to use the gym equipment and finish their workouts in time. So, do not hog over the equipment and dominate them. In case your workout is going to take a long time and someone else is waiting for the equipment, you can always communicate with the person and use the equipment alternately.

This way, neither you nor the other person will lose their time in waiting for the equipment and both will be able to successfully complete the workouts in time.

  • Limit the use of mobile phones

Gym Etiquette

Your mobile phone will not only be a distraction for you but may prove to be one for others as well. Gym time is for you to focus on yourself and the health and wellbeing of your body. Keep the use of mobiles in the gym to a minimum. Avoid receiving calls unless it is very urgent or important, and if imperative, leave the equipment and pick up your call. 

Selfies are a great way to track your progress but remember to keep them restricted to the locker rooms or on days when the gym isn’t too crowded. 

Keeping others waiting and the equipment occupied when you are talking on your mobile or clicking selfies is considered rude and should never be done in the gym.

  • Keep weights and equipment back in place

Leaving weights unattended in the gym can become an obstacle in the path of other gym members. One can even trip and fall, and this could lead to a serious injury. To avoid this, keep the weights back in their proper position. Keep the dumbbells and the kettlebells in the racks provided for them and the plates in their stand. This will make the gym safer and everyone will be able to find the equipment easily without having to look and search around the gym for the same.

  • Ask before using equipment

Sometimes, it may happen that one has to leave the equipment in the middle of a workout and go have a glass of water or use the washroom. In this case, you may find the equipment not in use, thinking that the person has finished their workout. If you are doubtful, it is always good to ask if someone is using the equipment so that you do not change its setting. One small tip is that if a bar is loaded with weights, it usually means the bar is being used by someone, and if the bar is unloaded, it may not be in use. This being said, it is always better to ask.

  • Wear proper attire

It is recommended to wear clothes in which you feel comfortable to work out and move around in the gym. Do not go out of your comfort zone and give in to the latest gym trends. Avoid wearing ill-fitting clothes so that you stay focused more on your workout and less on your outfit. 

Keep your gym shoes separate and do not wear them anywhere else but the gym.

For women, make sure that you tie your hair properly especially if you know that you suffer from hair fall.

  • Follow the timings

If you are under a personal trainer or have been given particular timeslots for your workout, see to it that you follow these timings. Do not come in late for your workouts. Understand that your trainer’s time is precious too and that he may have other clients to train after you. 

  • Do not drop or slam the weights

The weight may be heavy but that does not mean you drop it down or slam it on the floor. It is not seen as a sign of strength or dominance but as a sign of an attention seeker. Plus, you may also come across as arrogant. Respect the equipment and the gym administration who have provided them to you.

  • Lower your voice

Do not make loud noises in the gym. This includes not talking loudly on your cell phones in the gym, as well as not grunting and making sounds while lifting weights. It is very distracting for your fellow gym-goers. If you are working out in a group, remember to talk softly. Socializing should be restricted inside the gym. And never ever swear loudly while working out. Not only is it outright rude but also very indecent.

  • Locker room etiquettes

Pay attention to hygiene not only in the workout area but in the locker room too. Pay attention to the cleanliness around yourself while you are in the locker room. Do not clutter the room with your things. Always make use of the dustbins to throw your waste. Do not waste water while in the shower and avoid taking extra-long showers in case someone else needs the same. Empty your lockers while leaving unless allowed by the gym authorities and carry all your belongings back with you when you leave.

Pro etiquette tip

Always respect your personal trainer. Understand that your trainer is a professional and they are there to help and guide you with your workout. Fitness is a science that needs to be studied and your trainers curate your workout plans based on their study. Although they are being paid to do their job, it is important that you keep your relationship professional. Address them respectfully and follow their instructions. Remember that they play a crucial role in helping you achieve your fitness goals. 


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Importance of gym etiquette

Before we speak any words, our gestures and manners speak volumes about us. This is highly applicable to all gym-goers. Before you start your training, the way you present yourself and the way you behave will define the type of person you are.

People tend to ignore or forget the fact that they are not the only ones using the gym and the equipment, and that there are others too who are working equally hard to achieve their fitness goals. Due consideration should be given to all and therein lies the importance of gym etiquette. Knowing this, here are some points highlighting the importance of gym etiquette.

  • Gym etiquette will keep you and your fellow gym-goers safe and prevent the spread of various infectious diseases as well as injuries that may happen due to strewn weights.
  • Distractions will keep you from focusing on your workout and your body.
  • As gyms are public places, they should be kept clean, and following the gym etiquette will help one achieve just that.
  • Following gym etiquette will help maintain a professional atmosphere while working out which will help you in achieving your fitness goals sooner.
  • You will be able to get and give others personal space while working out and not feel pressured.


It all boils down to respecting and being considerate of the requirements of other gym-goers. Remember that a gym is a shared place. Following these gym etiquette will help in making the gym a better, safer, and cleaner place for all. It will not only keep the gym atmosphere harmonious and peaceful but also make your and other gym goers’ workouts pleasant and more fulfilling without infringing on anyone’s gym experiences.

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Author: Dr. Pooja Nilgar (Content writer & editor)

Let us know in the comments below if you are already practising these gym etiquettes and how have they helped you? 

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