10 Unwritten Rules of the Weight Room

Employee News & Views Editor: August 15, 20141 Comments

If you are a gym newbie and nervous about your first time, there are some unwritten common courtesies or unsaid gym etiquette that you can follow to help make your first day in the gym a little less awkward or intimidating. These tips would be in addition to the usual fitness center rules that every gym has and abides by.

You know, the ones you read in your HLC when you signed up for Community Medical Centers' Employee Fitness Center. (Hint, hint, wink, wink.)  Anyway, on to the “unwritten” code of gym ethics:

  1. Re-rack your weights when you are done.  You don’t want to come off as “THAT” guy. Every gym has one, but don’t be “THAT” guy.
  2. If someone is using the machine or equipment you wish to use next, it is totally okay to ask them how many sets they have left. Just don’t hover over or pressure them to finish faster.
  3. If someone wants to use the equipment you are using, the courteous thing to do is to offer to let them work-in with you. This means you take turns and while one lifts, the other rests between sets. It is also common practice to help the other change plates or weights during the hand-off between sets. As a newbie, it is totally understandable if you are not comfortable with this practice yet. It might take a couple of workouts to feel comfortable doing this; so acknowledge them and let them know how much longer you’ll be.
  4. If someone is offering to “give you a spot” don’t assume they think you have no clue what you are doing. In actuality, they’re probably thinking the opposite and just trying to be nice and lend a hand. If someone requests a “spot” from you, and you’ve never spotted before, let them know you would love to help out but you have never spotted anyone before. They will then tell you what they need so you are both on the same page.
  5. If you get something sweaty, wipe it down! Nobody wants to share your funk! With most of our patrons being medical professionals, this isn’t a big issue but it does happen from time-to-time.
  6. Respect personal space! Make sure there is plenty of room between you and the rest of the gym populace.
  7. Don’t text or talk on your cell phone while sitting idle on a machine. Others wanting to workout will be very frustrated with you for being inconsiderate. Get your sets in, take an appropriate rest period between sets, and move on.
  8. Grunting or straining is common while “pounding iron”, i.e. lifting. However, excessive grunting or belting out a battle cry to ”jack” yourself up before you try to set a new personal record for a one-rep max lift just draws undue attention to yourself and usually creates stealth snickers around the room.
  9. Don’t draw undue attention by dropping your weights at the end of a set – there’s no need for that. This is akin to Tarzan standing at the top of a cliff yelling as Tarzan does, thumping his chest proclaiming to all within ear shot that he is king of the jungle and master of his domain. If you are habitual at dropping your weights, you may be lacking control and need to go lighter.
  10. It’s not a fashion show. Wear what’s comfortable and what will keep you safe from injury! However, no blue jeans or scrubs – please. Good foot wear is a must for the gym and sorry, Crocs are NOT it! Look for something minimalist in a shoe with a non-compressing sole. It is not uncommon to see someone sporting a good old school pair of Chuck Taylors or Vans in the gym for this reason. The fad in the last couple of years seems to be Viberam – the “in” shoe of choice. My personal favorite though is indoor soccer shoes.



The most important thing about starting strength training is to START! Muster up a little courage and go for it! The only bad workout is the one that never happened!

“Do something today that your future self will thank you for.” Author Unknown

Tim Clark
Fitness Center Manager



One response to 10 Unwritten Rules of the Weight Room

So glad to have this posted,

So glad to have this posted, thank you!

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