Advanced Gym Etiquette Tips

So Mr. Patrick and I were training at a new spot to get him ready to do battle with Daniel Roberts at UFC 129…

[Ninja is a tough guy and we’re going to be 100% ready for him come April 30th.]

Anyway, the reason we changed training venues is because I wanted to do some specific things this camp and they have the equipment to facilitate these things – Olympic platforms and an indoor track – which we don’t have at our regular facility.

And here’s the funny thing that happened when we were doing Pullups on a bar attached to a Power Cage…

Claude literally just finished taking his hands off the bar when some dude proceeds to drag an adjustable bench our way, push it into the cage, then changes the incline of his bench so it’s setup just perfect, loads a 10 and 5 pound plate on either side of the bar, then does his set of incline presses with 75 lbs, without saying a word.

Really?

Did this guy just roll up on a UFC fighter and his trainer and evict them from their spot?

OK OK OK, sorry, not everyone knows who Claude is (yet) and even less people know who I am, so let me check my ego at the door for a moment.

But still – if you were a 19 year old, 125 pound guy, would you roll up on some tough looking black dude and his trainer and take over their spot in the gym?

I know that I sure as hell wouldn’t, not out of fear (well, maybe completely out of fear) but at least out of some sort of sense of gym etiquette!

But the shenanigans didn’t stop there folks. Oh no, there’s more…

When the guy finished the set and we were looking at him and each other in confusion, he says to us, “I’m just gonna work here.”

Straight up!

Damn! This kids got balls the size of boulders!

AND (yes, there is more), as we were sitting there in shock and awe after this bold statement from the super flyweight, some random girl proceeds to step up to the Chinup bar right in front of myself and Claude, who were still stunned at the audacity of the young incline presser (YIP), and proceeds to bang out a set of 3 or 4 Chins (impressive), without a word to either myself, Claude or the YIP.

My jaw literally hit the floor.

This was just too much comedy for one day at the gym.

So we left the scene of the crime and continued to finish the session, and I don’t think we’ll be back.

Now, because of this, I want to hear your stories of gym tom-foolery in the Comments section below.

But first, I want to share my ADVANCED Rules of Gym
Etiquette, based mainly on experiences like this one:

Like everything we do here, these rules are ADVANCED, so if you haven’t mastered the basics yet, go hit up Google and come back when you’re ready… 🙂

RULE #1 – If you want to work in on a piece of equipment, ASK (politely).

Obviously the story I shared above spawned this rule. Most guys have no problem letting you work in.

If someone asks you and it’ll screw up your workout, you can politely refuse and tell them why, but if you do this, also tell them how much longer you’ll be so they know.

RULE #1 – Subsection B – If you’re asking someone to work in, don’t ask when they’re in the middle of an exercise.

If you’re like me, when you’re training, you’re intensely focused on your technique, so when some yo-yo comes in and interrupts that, I get a bit peeved.

I remember when I was working out in my University’s gym back in the day doing tricep cable pressdowns and one of those big yet fat dudes (twice my size) asks me to work in while I’m in the middle of my set.

So I ignored him, finished my set, then told him to please not talk to me while I’m in the middle of an exercise but said he could still work in.

I then proceeded to stare at him while he tried to use the same weight as me but failed miserably.

That felt good and I hope he learned his lesson!

RULE #2 – Don’t walk too close behind someone lifting heavy shit.

When I’ve got 200 lbs on my back doing reverse lunges, I don’t want to be distracted by someone walking right behind me, worried about being knocked off balance.

If someone is walking close and you’re doing some heavy lifting, don’t assume that they won’t bump into you – they might be playing with their iPod, talking with their friend or just not paying attention, so just wait with the bar on your back until it’s clear.

People must realize that it’s tough to judge how close a person is behind you when looking into a mirror – so if you’re walking behind someone, just give them extra space so they can focus on their task at hand.

RULE #3 – Don’t smell like you’ve been wearing that Dri-fit shirt for the past 3 days.

This is self-explanatory and I know you’ve smelled these people before.

They should be forever banished or at least whipped a few times in the shower to learn their lesson.

RULE #3 – Subsection B – Don’t fart in the gym.

If you’ve got to go, do it in the changeroom or bathroom.

DO NOT do it in the corner of the gym, because more than likely someone will come there to do an exercise and running into your mustard gas isn’t pleasant.

I’ll admit, I’ve done this before in my more ignorant days and was thoroughly embarrassed when I did it to vow never to do it again and hold it in even if my head explodes.

I never said I was perfect. 🙂

Got any gym etiquette related stories to share?

Have any suggestions for more rules to add to the list?

Share them below!

And make sure to hit ‘Like’ to create a better gym environment for everyone. 🙂

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Wr
Wr

I had the strangest encounter at the gym today. It’s shoulder day, and I hate barbell presses, so I eye the gym’s one short-backed 90 degree chair. I make my way towards it, and some guy gets there first. ok, all well and good, I bugger off to find something else to do. Then I notice he’s doing curls. Standing curls. The chair is holding his bottle of water. Do I go over, and when he’s done with his set I ask if he’s using the chair. He says he is, so i figure he’s planning a superset or something, and I start to turn away. Then he adds, “I mean, I’m working here, and the the chair is holding my stuff.” So I say, “Well I’d like to actually use the chair.” To which he responds, “You can wait ’til I’m done.” Remarkably, I remained calm. I said, “Why… Read more »

Eric
Eric

Hehehe that’s is odd.

But don’t you feel bad for making a grown man cry?

Adrian Luca
Adrian Luca

I cannot stand people who do a set on a machine, then leave their towel hanging on it as a sign of ownership and go for a five minute walk before returning for another set.

I don’t care how intense they are about their workout–i pay the same for my membership as they do.
Unless I can see someone resting beside a machine between sets, I ignore the towels, gloves and water bottles these selfish hogs use to mark their territory and take the machine for my set.

Larry
Larry

Nobody s talked about those speaking or laughing ultra-loud to each other, is it kinda acceptable?

Jodie
Jodie

The most annoying experience I had with one of my gyms was the day I was working legs. Being a woman, most guys underestimate how strong we can be and this was one of those days…. Two biggish guys on the leg press. They have been on the machine for approx 20 – 30 minutes. They are obviously working hard because they are doing the loud grunting and muffled screaming that all of us do when we lift heavy (sorry, choked on my own sarcasm). I’ve politely gone over and asked if they will be finished soon because I have been keeping an eye on them since I walked in. They just looked me up and down and said that they would be finished in another 5 or 10 minutes. I’ve thanked them and walked away, keeping my beady eyes on the equipment. They did another set each and walked… Read more »

Dave Dolan
Dave Dolan

hey how you doing This time of year the gyms offer “deals” and get packed solid every night for a month or so until the initial “im gonna get in shape” faze wears off.Its just easy money for the gym but what gets my blood up is the ones who just sit on the machines and talk.Go to a coffee shop or a bar and talk,there’s nothing wrong with socialising but they hold up everybody else.I got a complaint from the gym staff for telling a guy to “shift ,go over there and have a chat”,after waiting 8 mins for him to get off the chest press .I would have waited if he had actually been working but his total reps for that period were “0”.As for the women who hog the running machines while they have a stroll and a chat at the same speed they push a shopping… Read more »

Girlwithnoname (Jackie)

Lying on the floor doing some core work with my legs on a bench. Dude comes and sits on the incline beside me and starts doing VERY HEAVY incline db chest presses right above my head. Really? Super heavy weights and you’re swinging them right above my face? He was very young and very skinny or I would have torn a strip off him. Obviously he’s new.

Eric

Unfortunately people are often on the brink of being injured in commercial gyms…

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[…] also asked for YOU to post your gym etiquette breaking stories and got some hilarious […]

jose
jose

what do you think of gsp new workout videos rushfit? do you recommend it?

Fellow Warrior
Fellow Warrior

Common courtesy is not common at all. Makes you want to kick those peoples in the head.Don’t get me wrong I’m not encouraging violence. But sometimes it feels like cause they know we won’t that why they act the way they do..

Eddie
Eddie

Obviously…Brandon has some issues…

ppinzon
ppinzon

Come on Brian now you are being selfish.! Why didnt you tell him: Listen buddy obviously we both want to use the bag let’s miximize our workout and spar a few rounds. LOL
Let’s learn to live in community

Ryan

I’m at Gold’s Gym hittin’ the heavybag for 2 minute rounds and 1 minute breaks.
About 7-8 rounds in, I take a minute break for some water and when my minute was up; there’s this dude
that starts kickin’ the bag all crazy (crazy as in stupid) and makin’ all these grunting noises.
I noticed he’s been watching me for a few rounds, so I’m thinkin’ he should’ve known that I was
still workin’ the bag…right?
I was peeved.
Am I wrong?

cork_boi
cork_boi

Most gyms I’ve used have a 20 min limit per item of equipment. You would have been in the 20’s after 7 rounds. He still should have asked though.

ppinzon
ppinzon

This things happen because here in Canada we are loosing our sense of living in community. The only social interaction some people get these days is through Facebook, Twitter, online gaming, text, etc. Then you take that person and put them in a community setting and they act just as if they were alone in this world because that is all they know. The question is how can we teach social etiquette? Gyms have rules – good ones too, I’ve read them, however gym officials dont enforce them – and sometimes break them. The other day I went to my local library because my wife was hosting a social event with friends at home and I had some important work to do and didnt want to stick around. Here I am working away at the library and around me others in silent doing their own thing. Then this guy decides… Read more »

Nick
Nick

I was in the squat rack… weight on my back… when someone starts using the front of the squat rack for bicep curls… while I’m getting in position to squat!

Mark
Mark

Once I had a guy ask me for a spot as he was doing “negatives” on the bench. He loaded up the bar with 225, I thought it to be light for negatives, but later I was very gratefull he only used 225. He got down on the bench and when he gave me a signal I lifted the bar off the rack. He slowly lowered the bar to his chest, I grabbed the bar and began to lift it up, as I struggled with the weight I couldn’t figure out why it was so heavy, I finally got it where I could rack it. He said “a couple more”, I politely told him I couldn’t because I was exhausted. I looked in the mirror, my face was purple, eyes bloodshot, every vein in my neck was sticking out. I asked him, as I was gasping for air, how he… Read more »

Eric

Mark, that’s hilarious – I’ve never, ever heard that before!

Mark
Mark

Yeah, at the time it wasn’t funny, but later it cracked me up.

ppinzon
ppinzon

OMG Mark I cant stop laughing…Lol great story, beats reading the whiners in the forum. I think some people here need to join a 24hr club and workout like at 2AM. Others like Brandon need to try Wii Fit Plus so they have no interaction whatsoever with the outside world. LOL
Brandon I’m just sayin – no offense buddy

Gianni
Gianni

I just plain hate the asshole using the rack to barbell curl (in bad form, arms at a 45 degree angle momentum swinging) then giving you dagger looks like you are wrong!

Mark
Mark

Like you I was visiting at a gym, it had a lot of great equipment, good atmosphere and I was getting an exceptional workout. I was doing dumbbell bench, everything was set up perfectly. I did my warm-upsets, my work sets and now I was on my last set. For a challenge, because everything was going great, I decided to go up in weight. I placed the new dumbbells in the rack, pulled the bench close and started to adjust my grip, I knew I had this, it was mine, I was there physically and mentally. Out of the corner of my eye, in the mirror, I saw a women walk past behind me, I didn’t pay her any attention because I was in the moment, it was my time! I looked at the about to be defeated weight, tightened my grip, looked up in the mirror with a look… Read more »

jason
jason

my buddy was spotting me as i was on the bench press and thought it would be funny to let one rip as he is standing that close to my face. i must say the worst thing ever especially when it smells like something rotting for weeks

Ethan Gagorik

After ready this article I couldn’t help but think about a similar situation that happened a few weeks back. My younger brother and I just finishing up our weight routine and were headed over to the mat to bang out our ab and calisthenic routine. Luckily for us when we arrived at said destination it was open with no one in site. Take into consideration that the several mat sections in our local gym are small with the area to accommodated only a few individuals. About halfway through our routine we were holding straight an side planks for 90 sec intervals. My younger brother being new to exercising in general usually lags a bit behind but has the heart to make up for it. Where as I finished my exercises for that section of our routine, stood up and proceeded to take a 30 sec cool down, my younger brother… Read more »

Gregg

Great story, Eric! Sadly, stuff like this isn’t rare. Manners have seemed to disappear. I had a similar experience. I was supersetting close grip bench presses with seated dumbbell curls. I grabbed the dumbbells off the rack, sat at the end of the bench, set down the dumbbells so when I finished my close grip bench press I could sit up, grab them and star the curls. While in the middle of my set of presses, a guy walks up, grabs the dumbbells off the floor by my feet and walks away! WTF?? Oh, and top top it off, there were multiple dumbbells of the same weight right on the rack, five feet from where he grabbed them from me. Gotta love people!

Joshua Crom
Joshua Crom

I just started at a gym that took in a lot of the high school athletes. (I guess) This particular gym had only one set of each weight dumbell. I came in to do bis and tris. These 8 guys were sitting on all the benches available. Not only that, they had all the dumbells sitting around the gym tripping people. I had to walk through these guys to find the dumbells needed. Really I needed one 50 lb dumbell and a bench to do incline dumbell curls. Long story short, I used a piece of pvc laying there with a 25 lb and a 10 lb barbell weight on it. I had to do hammer curls instead as well with the weight resting on my hand. RIDICULOUS! On top of that, after a set I had to wait for the water dispenser cause they huddled around shootin the crap… Read more »

Mark
Mark

I know someone said this already but this is my pet-peeve, if your on a machine workout for god’s sake and get off it so i can work through and then when i ask hey you mind if i work through or knock out some reps and they look at you like im speaking another language WIPE OFF the equipment if you sweat all over it i DONT want your sweat on me ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, This has to be the wierdest one i have ever encountered, I know i should have a spotter but i was warming up my arms a little with some light bench weight did a few reps then did like a half rep and slowly let it touch my chest some dude from no where grabs the weight and “HELPS” me get it back in the rack, I couldnt believe it………. Oh if your going to be… Read more »

Brandon
Brandon

“Really?

Did this guy just roll up on a UFC fighter and his trainer and evict them from their spot?”

1. Get over yourself and learn to share.

My favorite of all time was the 40+ year old woman in full spandex and that thing up between her butt cheeks doing lunges up and down the main walkway at Bally’s. Great big fake boobs hanging out all over the place. Her monster 6’6″ ol’ man staring down everybody that looked at her…its a gym, but if you want to turn it into a freak show I reserve the right to point and laugh.

Eric

Easy there B-dog if you kept reading the next sentence you can see that I am quite over myself. 🙂

Brandon
Brandon

actually it was the next sentence that sealed the deal. It is the fact that you ARE a pro trainer of a pro fighter that should have allowed you to walk away from the situation with a chuckle. As a former power lifter I can say that watching someone suck down my squat time with unweighted chin ups…comical incline experience aside…is actually a very large violation of gym etiquette. instead of harping on the matter, I usually turn to their girlfriend for an expidited retreat from equipment better suited to 500 lbs rusty barbells and large smelly men…im just sayin’

Eric

Yeah so we were literally planning to club the guy with a dumbbell but but he had some buddies with him so we figured we’d find him another day and finish him off then…

NOT

Maybe you missed the tone of the article – it’s more of a funny/comedy/tongue-in-cheek kinda thing… We weren’t that pissed off, more flabbergasted at the situation.

Brandon
Brandon

swing and a miss…outstanding maturing level as well.

my point being that your “exercise” on the power rack can be construed, amongst certain circles, to be a signifcant violation of gym etiquette. one does not typically hog the rack for anything short of monster standing military presses or heavy squats.

an alternative view maybe that it was a public gym with pretty equipment and perhaps the gentlemen did not realize that he was intruding upon your workout session. it happens all the time, especially when you are not very obviously standing in or around the rack…especially with no weight on it.

once again…im just sayin’…

AT
AT

Rule #4 – Change your shirt between classes if you are doing contact work. The person coming into the next class does not want to partner with you when you are making a body fluid puddle or get slapped with your sweat dripping shirt. New class – New shirt.

cork_boi
cork_boi

How true. I tapped out sparring a guy ‘cos he hadn’t washed his shorts in ages ( it was anorth south hold). Yuck!

Eric

This is an EXCELLENT RULE. I’ll add it to my etiquette handbook. I hate rolling with guys who are drenched when I’m coming in with a nice clean shirt that smells like mountain spring air.

dragonmamma/naomi
dragonmamma/naomi

I really, truly appreciate that you didn’t want to come across as a bully, but I sure wish you had put him in his place. It’s your duty to society to teach him some manners!

PH
PH

1. Loading up an Olympic bar and going for a walk around the gym with it across the shoulders, all the while bumping into shit and interrupting everyone in his path.

2. Guy in full spandex suit wearing moccasins trying to balance 45lb plate on his head.

Eric

Wish I’d seen #2!!!!

Tim
Tim

Rule #4 – Put your shit away when you are finished. Unload the bar, put the weights back on the rack, return the dumb-bells to their proper location, and throw away your empty bottle of whatever super-energy-get-ripped-muscle-popping-bullshit drink you just had. Your mother doesn’t work at the gym, and if she did, she should tell you the same thing.

MIke
MIke

That sucks balls lol….oh well what can you do …..plus you never know the guy could have some psychological disability, been autistic or aspergers or something so you guys just walking away was the right thing to do

Eric

Yeah we’re not going to cause a scene or anything we are adults, we just thought it was crazy that it happened and funny at the same time…

cork_boi
cork_boi

Reading your story reminds me of why I avoid gyms. If I do use a gym I try to avoid peak times cause other people just drive me crazy: hogging one piece of equipment for hours (usually the cable machine/ squat bar or bench press), leaving sweat everywhere, posing excessively in front of mirrors, standing too close to you when they are waiting for a piece of kit you are using, leering at the hot lycra clad chicks (ok that’s my bad habit), weird grooming rituals in the men changing room (stop shaving your pubes in my presence), leaving water everywhere after a shower. Unless the gym is nearly empty I find it impossible to stick to the rest periods in any programme, either you’re rushing cause people are waiting or else you’re waiting five minutes for some other guy to finish…. Nothing like the great outdoors in my opinion,… Read more »

larry
larry

“If I do use a gym I try to avoid peak times cause other people just drive me crazy: hogging one piece of equipment for hours (usually the cable machine/ squat bar or bench press), leaving sweat everywhere”

completely agree with that ,gym i go to used t b like that but we bitched about it and the staff implemeted some sort of timetabling alternatives. Each person can only use the equipment for a max of 30 mins. they put up a white board ,numbered the equipment and those using it have to wrote the time they start and finish on the white board = no more slobby sweaty parasites

KCharlotte
KCharlotte

It’s so funny that you should post this, as I’ve just come off the phone furious with my gym. My boyfriend has got us into wild fitness – functional, situational strength and fitness meaning basically, we go running around in the forest, climbing trees, dragging logs around and generally tapping into our inner animal 😉 This means i don’t want to have to pay for my gym but I’m locked into a 24 month contract, with no option to buy myself out or reduce it. But I guess that’s not user etiquette, but gyms not caring that you’re paying for service you no longer want! User etiquette – as a woman, my biggest bugbear is other users (usually men – sorry!) that hog the machines I want. By hogging, I mean sitting on it for half an hour, pushing out a couple of reps but mostly sitting and chatting to… Read more »

Dennis
Dennis

Every gym seems to have its hogs. Then there are the ones who want to claim ownership of a bench even when they are nowhere near it, and they have left nothing to mark their spot(ie some dumbells, waterbottle or towels). One day, I spotted one free bench and made my way over to do my sets. This young university student races across the gym and scolds me for taking “his bench”. I just shrugged my shoulders and got up from the bench to find another one. To my dismay, all the benches were taken, and to my surprise the university student was nowhere to be found at “his bench”. Enough was enough. I planted my rear end down on the bench and started my set when again the student appears out of nowhere and tries to tear strip from me. Diplomatically, I suggested politely that we share the bench… Read more »

Adrian Luca
Adrian Luca

Your “marks” mean nothing to me if you’re not around. So you hang hang your towel on a piece of equipment, and go take a five minute stroll and that means the machine should be left unused until your return? Get real!