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Fitness Center Etiquette

Uphold Rules of Exercise Room

  • Read rules and posted signs.
  • Observe posted equipment instructions and warnings.

If you would like to use a piece of equipment someone is using:

  • Ask if you can "work in between their sets."
    • If they say no, be patient and have compassion for the feeble-minded acceptable reasons for denying "working in" include:
      • two or more individuals already exercising on equipment.
      • a large number of free weights are loaded on equipment and user is nearly finished.
    • After each set, allow the other person to use the equipment.
      • Try to set the apparatus adjustments back where the other person had set them.
      • Assist with reloading or unloading weight.
  • If someone begins exercising on a weight apparatus while you were resting between your sets:
    • You should say "I only have X number of sets left on this machine, you may work in with me if you would like."
    • If you were working in between someone else's sets, make the other person is aware someone is already sharing the equipment with you.
  • If waiting in line and you leave to use the restroom or get a drink of water:
    • Tell the person behind you in line you are coming right back so they are aware you are waiting.
  • If someone sneaks ahead of you.
    • You should say "I just went to go to ___, I believe I was here before you".
  • You cannot claim a piece of equipment by setting a towel or water bottle on or next to it

When you are using the equipment and others are waiting:

  • Allow others to work in between your sets.
  • Do not rest on exercise equipment.
    • Studies suggest recovery is accelerated by light muscular activity such as walking about between sets rather than sitting.
  • On cardio equipment, abide by the time limit set (typically 30 minutes).
    • Do not wait for someone to ask you to get off.
  • Wipe equipment with towel after each set.
    • Would you like to be in contact with someone else's sweat?

When you are finished with a piece of equipment:

  • Wipe equipment using disinfectant when available.
  • Do not leave your sweaty towel behind for someone else to pick up
  • Put equipment away when you have completed an exercise.
    • It is not the attendants or other members' responsibility to put away your equipment.
    • Put weights in their designated place, not necessarily where someone that was using it before you had left it.
      • If you were the last to use the equipment, you are the one responsible for putting it back where it belongs.
      • Remove all weight plates. Don't assume everyone would appreciate a pair of plates left on the apparatus.
      • Arrange weights according to Fitness Center standards and do not mix plates on the same storage bar.
      • Place dumbbells in order on rack, where they were intended to be stored.
    • Return benches, mats and other equipment in its designated storage area.
    • Certain cable attachment may remain on machines if they are commonly used by others, if not return to their proper location.

Be aware of the exercise area.

  • Stay clear of areas that require space at or near a particular station.
    • Example: weightlifting platform, cable crossover machine, weight trees, etc.
    • Do not crowd other exercisers.
  • Do not exercise where others need to walk.
    • High traffic paths, area entries, in front of water stations, etc.
  • Do not stand in front of the dumbbell rack.
    • Since others will need clearance to get and put away their dumbbells.
  • Before exercising in front of the mirror, check behind you to see if anyone else is using that mirror space.
    • Do not stand in front of someone using the mirror behind you.
  • Keep your stuff off equipment and areas where people need to walk
    • Even if you are exercising right next to it.

Avoid making too much noise.

  • Keep in mind an exercise facility is a public place where many participants are trying to concentrate on performing their exercises.
    • Do not initiate conversation with someone while they are engaged in a resistance training set or a sprint bout.
  • Do not use cell phone for anything else other than music.
    • Turn off ringer.
    • Take personal calls in lobby or outside, including texting.
  • Limit grunting, yelling, or cursing during exercise.
    • Habitual or sudden outbursts are seen as rude and egotistical, "look at me!"
    • Occasional natural grunting under extremely lifting conditions may be acceptable in some hardcore gyms.
  • Do not sing or whistle.
    • Particularly when you are listening to music on a head set.
  • Avoid dropping weights.
    • Learn techniques for raising and lowering weights.
    • Do not bang weight stacks on machines.
      • Tapping weight very lightly is acceptable.
  • Use cardio equipment properly.
    • Do not slap feet on treadmill.
    • Do not bottom or top out on the stair climber.
  • Do not bounce balls in fitness area.
    • Keep basketballs on the court.
  • Gum is not allowed in the gym.
  • Loud or constant noises can annoy other exercisers.

Asking for a Spot

  • Ask for a spot when going heavy on higher risk exercises such as the bench and squat.
  • Utilize fitness staff before approaching a member you do not know for a spot.
    • Do not interrupt a fitness instructor if he is conducting a personal training session or equipment orientation.
    • Do not interrupt someone while they are performing their set or spotting someone else.
  • Communicate to the spotter before your set.
    • Ask them to spot you in a specific manner if this is important to you.
      • By the wrist, on the elbows, on the bar, around the waist.
      • Close spot (ready to assist position), very close spot (ready to assist with contact with bar or body), help with lift off rack, etc.
    • Tell your spotter approximately how many repetitions you plan on completing on your own.
      • This will help your spotter keep track of when you are done.
  • Ask for a spot only on the last rep if needed.
    • Do not expect the spotter to assist you beyond one assisted repetition.
      • The purpose of the spotter is not to do the work for you
      • If you cannot handle the weight by yourself.
        • Leave your ego at the door.
        • Lighten the load to a weight what you can handle.
  • Rack the weight after your spotter has assisted you with one repetition, if needed even if you did not complete your estimated number of repetitions.
  • Rather than utilizing forced repetitions to break sticking points, use more effective and sustainable techniques.

Abstain from telling others they are using the equipment improperly.

  • Unless it is your job or someone's life is in danger.
  • Certainly, feel free to ask to assist anyone that appears to be struggling to figure out how to use an exercise machine.
  • v If you must, approach with respect and consider beginning by asking how their workout is going, or along those lines.

Wear appropriate apparel.

  • Wear workout clothes and athletic shoes in the fitness area and always abide by the dress code.
  • Do not work out without a shirt and athletic shoes, particularly on exercise equipment.

Practice hygiene.

  • Avoid offensive body odors.
    • Bathe regularly and use underarm deodorant.
    • Release your farts where no one else can smell them.
  • Wipe machines off before and after use.
  • Wash hands to decrease spread of germs.
  • After using the restroom.
  • After sneezing or coughing on your hand.
  • After workouts.

Do not bring young children to the gym.

  • Unless the facility has childcare services.
  • A gym is not a playground and can be disruptive to others.

If you do not like the choice of music or what is playing on TV:

  • Ask others working out if they would mind if you request a change, follow the procedures and rules of the facility. Always ask an employee for the proper procedure.
  • Bring your own headset and portable music player.
  • Do not bring your own audio equipment to the gym for others to hear.

At water fountain or cooler:

  • If you are filling a water bottle allow others behind you to use a water fountain and finish filling up your container after they are finished drinking.
  • Do not spit or dispose of chewing gum in water fountain use trash receptacles.