I hope this is not a sore subject for most readers, but as bodybuilding and the health kick is getting into full swing, it is time somebody laid out the unwritten rules for how you are supposed to behave at a public gym. I am not picking on the novices, because, believe me, some of the studs and studettes who have been lifting weights for years have some of the worst gym etiquette.
Many gyms have rules posted on the walls, but in many cases, members don’t read them, and in many other cases, the gym owners don’t even touch upon some of the issues, probably under the false notion that they are just common sense. But, as the button I once saw said, “I ain’t too smart, but I can lift heavy things”, so perhaps one of the few muscles not being exercised is the cerebral one.
So here, in no particular order, are what I consider the proper way to behave (or not to behave) at the gym.
- Don’t spread yourself out all over the place. Your towel is draped on a bar, your water bottle is on a bench, your gym bag is in the aisle and you are over in the corner chattin’ up the trainer. I don’t like picking up after my own kids at home, what makes you think I want to do it at the gym?
- Work out safely. I once saw a young lady stepping on and off a bench, balancing a weighted bar on her shoulders. She wobbled each time she stepped up and I stayed as far away from her as I could to avoid the inevitable tumbling bar and weights. If you are going to try any fancy moves, have someone spot you to make sure you don’t drop your weights, especially if they are going to fall on me.
- Wipe your sweat off the bench, the seat, the weights, the headrest, etc., etc. Whatever your sweaty, perspiring body has had any contact with. And really wipe it – use the spray bottle and rub hard with the towel. This may seem like common sense to many of you, but it seems like there are plenty of guys who think their sweat is a magic elixir that will improve your workout when you come in contact with it.
- In a crowded gym, don’t work two stations at the same time. Many exercisers like to “set”, that is, do two different kinds of exercises on two different machines for the same muscle group. Hogging two machines or benches during prime gym hours is one of the most inconsiderate thing people can do. If you want to have the whole gym to yourself, go at 4:00 a.m.
- In a crowded gym, get off the machine for your rests. It is recommended that you take a short break between each of your sets, but it really is very unfair to just sit and monopolize the bench or machine while you rest. Get off, wipe off the seat, walk around and stretch a little while you give your fellow gym member a chance to get his workout done.
And now, have a great workout!
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