8 Things Not to Do at the Gym

gym© Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Thinkstock

You probably already know what to do at the gym, but do you know what not to do? Fitness expert Mike Donavanik, CSCS, CPT and creator of Extreme Burn: Total Body Interval Training DVD gives us his take on the top 8 don’ts of gym etiquette:

1. Don’t hog the machines
Remember, the gym is a communal place. If someone wants to work in with you, let him/her. They’re not trying to cramp your style, they’re just trying to get their workout in and better themselves – just like you!

2. Don’t leave the machine dripping
Nothing is grosser than coming across a machine with someone else’s sweat on it. It’s also unsanitary!  Take the extra second to place a towel down on your machine/bench BEFORE you start using it. If you forget, take the extra time to wipe it down after you’re done using it. Many gyms will provide wipes just for this purpose!

3. Don’t forget to put your weights in their proper place
You know how annoying it is when you can’t find something around your house? That’s exactly what you’re doing to others if you just leave your weights wherever you want. Be considerate and place your weights in the appropriate place you’re when finished with them.

4. Don’t drop your weights
Be considerate of others around you — when you drop your weights after you’re finished completing an exercise, the sound and vibration can cause other people to lose focus. Plus, by dropping your weights, you are more likely to injure yourself and those around you.

5. Don’t be mean
The gym is already an intimidating place for a lot of people. It magnifies people’s self-perceived flaws and can make them very self-conscious. The last thing people want to hear is someone making snide remarks, making fun of others, or snapping at people when they ask a question. Understand that everyone is at the gym to get healthier – be nice and treat others the way you would want to be treated.

6. Don’t invade someone’s private space
The gym can get packed at times, especially in the early morning or after work. There may not be a ton of space for you to do what you want, and if that’s the case, don’t be selfish and invade someone else’s space. Try to find a spot of your own; and if you can’t, improvise and pick another exercise, or patiently wait.

7.  Don’t have a conversation on your cellphone
Nothing disrupts the gym’s energy more than when someone takes a call on the gym floor. If you know the call is important or going to be a long one, kindly grab your belongings and step off the gym floor to take the call. This way you can focus on your call and you’ll free up gym space, allowing other people to use the equipment.

8. Don’t be the ‘know it all’
For the most part when people are working out, they get into their own groove. Don’t be the guy or girl that interrupts someone’s workout to tell them they are doing the exercise wrong, or that there is a better way of doing it. If you are concerned about someone doing something dangerous, seek out a trainer and tell them about the situation. It’s not your job to be the gym police.

Plus: 13 Things Your Personal Trainer Won’t Tell You

Source: Mike Donavanik, CSCS, CPT, creator of Extreme Burn: Total Body Interval Training DVD

Want to stay smart and healthy?

Get our weekly Health Reads newsletter

how we use your e-mail
We will use your email address to send you the newsletter each week, and we may also send you occasional special offers from Reader's Digest. For more information please read our privacy policy.

61 thoughts on “8 Things Not to Do at the Gym

  1. DONT ask me how much longer I’m going to be on /use a particular apparatus.
    I’m wearing ear buds because I don’t want to interact with others.
    I’ll be done when I move to the next spot.

    1. If you are the scantily clad woman put on less revealing workout clothes.

  2. Please don’t take up a “lap lane only” if you’re only standing or aquacizing. 

  3. And if someone DOES violate one of the rules, please forgive them. They are only human.  The most important rule is to BE KIND. Also, sometimes people are doing sets that require only a VERY SHORT break and allowing people to work in completely ruins that and ruins the workout.  

  4. Get rid of the cologne and perfume.  The gym is not the place for over-fragranced, asthma or allergy inducing men or women.  This has been a pet peeve of mine for years, but I recently watched a girl have an asthma attack for this reason.  It is inconsiderate and selfish and actually dangerous.

  5. See that’s why I work out at home, so I can do whatever the hell I want to do

  6. Also- Don’t row like the girl in the picture. Terrible technique.

  7. I have to admit to being the ‘know it all’ one time.  (literally just one time in my whole life)  There was this kid doing squats in the squat rack with the worst form I have ever seen.  He started out just fine, but then curved his back forward about as far as it would go before performing his squat.  Luckily, he wasn’t using very heavy weight, but this is about the quickest way to injure your back as I can come up with.  I showed him what to change, and he thanked me.  Moral of the story: don’t be the know it all, but if someone is putting themselves in danger because they don’t know what they’re doing, its better to risk being ‘annoying’ than to sit back and watch them break their body.  

  8. I have to admit to being the ‘know it all’ one time.  (literally just one time in my whole life)  There was this kid doing squats in the squat rack with the worst form I have ever seen.  He started out just fine, but then curved his back forward about as far as it would go before performing his squat.  Luckily, he wasn’t using very heavy weight, but this is about the quickest way to injure your back as I can come up with.  I showed him what to change, and he thanked me.  Moral of the story: don’t be the know it all, but if someone is putting themselves in danger because they don’t know what they’re doing, its better to risk being ‘annoying’ than to sit back and watch them break their body.  

  9. How about standing in the nude talking to your buddy in the locker room with one leg propped up on the bench….just wrong…

  10. Absolutely! The worst is when someone just sits at a machine during ‘breaks’ between sets and thinks they own it, in many cases just staring into space, playing with phone or ipad, I even saw a woman reading a paperback!

  11. Cut & paste writing -all common sense, maybe to be pointed out by the Gym’s contract package.
    Still article not as bad as (long time ago) Men’s magazine full page “instructions” how to shave ( I am not kidding) or how to pack your luggage before business trip half way around the world (that one is qualified for but, apparently, not capable of packing his own suitcase).
    Experts…experts…

  12. Oh shut up already people! You’re in a public place, if you don’t like the bikes or cell fones then stay at home already! Shut up!

    1. Not a public place. Gyms are private businesses. Mine does not allow cell phones on the floor. An important aspect of going to a gym is to clear your mind and relax. If the person next to me is making reservations , talking business, flirting, etc on the cell phone it disrupts my peace. I like that my gym does not allow cells on the floor.

  13. This is the lamest thing I’ve ever seen. If you can’t drop weights, you definitely aren’t deadlifting anything substantial (or performing O-Lifts, or pushing to the point where you’re missing squats, etc….). So you’re not really training, you’re just hanging out in a social club watching TV from a worthless machine.

    1. I find that people who drop weights are usually just trying to get attention. 99.9% of gym goers do not drop weights. You probably just need to work on form or have a friend spot you.

      1. You’re right. Search on “PR deadlift” on you tube for videos of guys, like me, with bad form in need of spotters to help us (what?) lower the bar slowly back to the floor. Have a cup of hot cocoa.

    2. Dropping weights indicates one of two things, you want attention or you dont have control of the weights. I dont know how many times some idiot next to me has dropped his weights and startled the heck out of me. I can bench press 300 lbs and I dont drop my weights when I finish a set. Only idiots drop their weights, not to mention the damage to the equipment.

  14. And like the picture depicts – don’t be a leech by staring at people trying to workout!

  15. Sex in steam room is fine, just wear protection and/or swallow please!

  16. I would add to pick up your feet when you’re on the treadmill so that you aren’t squeaking with each footfall.

    Also, don’t stomp when you run.

    And don’t strike up idle conversations that everyone can hear. It’s distracting.

  17. Judging from the picture attached to this article I was expecting “Don’t stare at the hot chicks who are exercising in their bra and underwear.  

  18. Here’s my list, all of things I see regularly:
    (1) Don’t spit on the floor in the shower. Don’t spit in the sinks.
    (2) Don’t clean your toenails by the lockers or in the sinks.
    (3) Don’t stand naked at the water fountain, filling your water bottle and pressing the switch with your hip. (That one was years ago and they still haven’t cleaned it enough to drink from.)
    (4) Don’t leave your stinking, soaking gym clothes on the freaking bench.
    (5) Leaving wet towels on the floor does not increase your status even if someone else has to pick up after you.

  19. You should emphasize the ‘working in’ thing a little more.  My experience has been that guys are used to this because it’s long been gym etiquette that’s carried over from free-weight/muscle head gyms from way back, but women often don’t get it.  They get offended when you ask if you can work in – even if they’re doing like five sets of a million reps with the lightest weight on the only machine of it’s kind in the whole place.  “I’m using this one” is the common response.  Either that or they’ll walk off in a huff like it’s rude to ask.  

  20. Gym’s SUCK. Straight up. Stop filling their coffers and work out at home or at the park. It’s not expensive (think Spartan Workout), and you get to pick the music!

  21. Also, do not wear excessive amounts of perfume/ cologne to the gym. It is horrible when you are trying to get a run in on the treadmill and end up inhaling half a bottle of cologne from the person next to you. Some people are especially sensitive to perfumes and colognes and it can really interfere with someones workout.

  22. Don’t walk up to a female while she is in the middle of an exercise and try to “holla”….BAD timing..Everyone’s main purpose at the gym should be to workout…

  23. 8. Don’t be the ‘know it all’
    Lulz.  Complete BS.  You shouldn’t just let some newbie injure themselves.  And the idea that instead of not being a complete wuss, and just telling the guy/gal, but instead going over to get the staff, is just lultastic.

    Bunch of morons.

    And btw, go tell a professional to stop “dropping his weights”.  

    1. I too agree on this point. But let’s face it, it’s all in the delivery. Asking someone “do you mind if I make a suggestion” is much more apt to get a positive response than “hey, you’re doing that wrong” would. I have fun tweaking an apparatus to see what else it might do for me. But using some equipment wrongly may just end in injury. Spend a few extra bucks and enlist the help of a trainer to get you started and add to your knowledge bank.

  24. DON’T TEXT, TWEET, TYPE or CHECK YOUR E-MAIL while sitting on a machine!

  25. I don’t agree with # 8. Many gyms don’t have trainers loitering around and some have 2 floors. by the time you find a trainer, someone could have already injured themselves. You can politely ask someone the following. “May I offer a suggestion about how your lifting your weights?”  I got injured because I was lifting weights wrong. I cannot stand by and let another person go through that when I can easily help in less than 2 mins

  26. Another one: Try to be aware that there may be someone behind you using the mirrored walls! I don’t know how many times I’ve been at a bench or a machine and using the mirror to watch my form, when someone stands right in front of me, totally oblivious. Use common courtesy!

  27. I have Received a Cover from Riders digest of worth 499/-  on VP then I have Received a Cover having three Pink Check type Coupon and a Scratch card after Scratching I found three star that i have pasted on the car key symbol and Posted in a Cover YES written now what will happen with me please tell

  28. I have Received a Cover from Riders digest of worth 499/-  on VP then I have Received a Cover having three Pink Check type Coupon and a Scratch card after Scratching I found three star that i have pasted on the car key symbol and Posted in a Cover YES written now what will happen with me please tell

  29. I have Received a cover yesterday in which three ni of pink coupons and a cover name YES i have put then in cover and posted it in which three car sketch coupon also and a scratch coupon after scratching i found three star and paste it oin car key symbole including posted in YES cover now what?

  30. Also don’t take cell calls in the locker room.  I belonged to a gym that had this rule posted, and people STILL did it constantly. Before a workout, I’m in a let’s-get-this-going zone and don’t want to listen to you giggling with your girlfriend or whatever.  And after a workout I’m definitely in a chill-and-reflect phase and don’t want to listen to you fight with your boyfriend over where to go for dinner.  Cell phones are the new cigarettes.  Respect other people’s AIR, people!

  31. Also, if you HAVE to ride a ten speed bike to the gym, please don’t park it right inside the door, where everyone coming in can trip over it!

    1.  To begin with…what kind of a bone drives to a gym?  Walk or bike

      1. Jake… ARe you a complete moron…. Not everybody lives in a city…. Get over yourself.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Funny Jokes

Some people like to travel by train because 
it combines the slowness of a car with the cramped public exposure of 
an airplane.

Dennis Miller

Funny Jokes

I think my pilot was a little inexperienced. We were sitting on the runway, and he said, “OK, folks, we’re gonna be taking off in a just few—whoa! Here we go.”

Kevin Nealon

Funny Jokes

“I can’t wait until your vacation is over.” 
—Everyone following you on Instagram

@kristencarney

Funny Jokes

A man knocked on my door and asked for a donation toward the local swimming pool. So I gave him a glass of water.

Comedian Greg Davies

Funny Jokes

Just found the worst page in the entire dictionary. What I saw was disgraceful, disgusting, dishonest, and disingenuous.

@sixthformpoet

Funny Jokes

Client: We need you to log in to the YouTube and make all our company videos viral.

From clientsfromhell.net

Funny Jokes

My cat just walked up to the paper shredder and said, “Teach me 
everything you know.”

@NicCageMatch

Funny Jokes

“Just because you can’t dance doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dance.” 
—Alcohol

@yoyoha (Josh Hara)

Funny Jokes

My parents didn’t want to move to Florida, but they turned 60 and that’s the law.

—Jerry Seinfeld

Funny Jokes

Q: What do you call an Amish guy with his hand in a horse’s mouth?

A: A mechanic.

Fields marked with an * are required
Foods That Harm Foods That HealWant a Free eBook?
FOODS THAT HARM, FOODS THAT HEAL offers important information about the role diet plays in the struggle against heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other serious illnesses. Answer the question below to receive your FREE digital eBook.

Someone in my household experiences the following conditions:

Send me a link to download FOODS THAT HARM, FOODS THAT HEAL:
By clicking below, I agree to the Trusted Media Brands Privacy Policy