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Gym manners - how to be a gentleman and not a fool

Gym manners - how to be a gentleman and not a fool

Today I’ll make a list of what signifies good gym manners. I take it for granted that all readers here at Penandbarbell want to be regarded as someone belonging at the gym. If you’re not doing all that I'm listing, it is time to start doing so now. Don´t be a clumsy fool. Be a gentleman/gentlewoman.

1. Put the weights back after having used them

At my last gym there was a sign on the wall that read: “Real strength is to be able to put the weights back where you found them.”

At another gym where I used to train there was an alternate version: “Real strength is to have the energy to unload the barbell after you are finished with it.”

Both these statements were true.

2. Don t superset when the circumstances forbids it

In other words, if the gym is full of people and the available equipment is sparse, then it is not the time to superset in a way that requires you to go between different stations. If you are at a cable station that allows you to superset between the upper and the lower, fine, but don´t try to hold up more places than one.

3. Don’t talk to anyone while they are performing a set

Daniel Schou, Personlig Tränare i Uppsala

Don’t. Ever. It is dangerous. It is amateurish. It makes you look like you haven’t even realized that you are at a gym.

4. Don’t leave sweat behind

Use a towel or some paper. Always.

5. Don’t come to the gym when having a cold

If you are coughing and sneezing, stay at home. If you have decided that you are going work out anyhow, fine, but don’t do it where there is other people.

6. Keep the distance when people are lifting

When people are lifting – keep the distance. Don’t brush past them. Don’t ever come so close that the one who is doing the lifting feels he or she has to waste any concentration on you. If you absolutely have to pass them and can't wait, then make sure to do it ninja style.

7. Observe training habits before asking if you can do a set in between

If you feel the urge to use an occupied piece of equipment and feel that you just can’t wait, then at least make sure to first observe the person using it before asking if you can do a set in between. If the person in question is keeping intensity levels high by short intervals of resting, then you should wait until he or she is finished instead of interfering.

8. Don t ever use your mobile phone for anything other than music

If you are one of those that sometimes talk while performing slow cardio, or in between sets – then shame on you. Stop that behaviour immediately. If you absolutely have to call someone, take it outside.

9. Keep your clothes on

Don’t go Tarzan. Not when training inside. Bare upper body ain’t OK, no matter how ripped you are. Save that for outside, if the weather allows it.

10. Keep your intensity levels reasonably high when there are other people at the gym

If there are a lot of people at the gym it just ain’t OK to rest 4 minutes in between sets. If someone has to ask whether you using a bench or a piece of equipment in your proximity, then your intensity isn’t what it should be. And if you are going to use the treadmill for walking an hour at a speed of 5 km/h, then please do this when the gym is empty or take it outside.

11. If you talk, let it be about training

If you have company and feel you absolutely have to talk during the workout session, then make sure it is about training and nothing else. Remember, gym training is a lot about presence and concentration. (I have written earlier about the importance of being presence.)

Adhere to these simple rules and you will be regarded with respect by your fellow peers at the gym. Ignore them and you will become someone deserving every bit of the mocking that will most certainly take place behind your back.

/Daniel Schou

Daniel Schou, Personlig Tränare i Uppsala


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