Gym etiquette: unspoken rules in the gym

You have made the big decision, paid your fees and joined a gym. You asked all the right questions and the staff outlined all the rules to you. Well, not quite. Even if you exercise at one in the morning when no one else is around, you are now part of a community, and as such, there are some unspoken rules that you should follow so that you, and other members, may fully enjoy working out. These rules are called gym etiquette and can be summarised in a few words: “have consideration for others”.

For the sake of clarity, the major ones are outlined below.

Replace the weights

You do not want to have to search for dumbbells and other weights. The person coming after you shouldn’t have to, either.

Respect time limits

Unless it’s one in the morning and you have the whole place to yourself, don’t hang your towel over the treadmill or stair climber and ignore the time limit. Other people need to use it and their time is as important as yours.

Wipe the equipment after use

Please do everyone a big favour and wipe your sweat off the machines. If you didn’t bring a towel, use the rag and disinfectant placed there for that purpose.

Be as quiet as possible

This means no dropping the weights, grunting while you are lifting or talking loudly into your cell phone. The gym is not a classroom, but sudden or constant loud noises are disruptive and can spoil people’s concentration.


Remember the community spirit. If you will be doing multiple sets on a machine, do allow someone else to use it while you are resting. If you are working out with a partner, don’t sit on the machine next to him chatting while someone else is waiting to use it. By the same token, don’t keep harassing people to find out if they are almost finished.

Dress appropriately

Women, and men for that matter, should not wear over-revealing workout clothing. Shorts and tank tops are fine for the summer; T-shirts and track pants for the winter. Observe modesty in the shower area and steam room. Cover yourself up with either a robe or large towel.

Clean up

When you are done working out be sure to remove any water or drinks bottles and other items you may have brought into the gym. And don’t forget your towel.

Many people have dropped out of gyms and sworn never to return because of the inconsiderate behaviour of some patrons. By observing these rules of gym etiquette, you can make the gym a pleasant place for yourself and others.

Get free health news

Want to receive free, expert health tips and genuine offers from us in your inbox?

Unsubscribe any time;
No spam.

Ask us a question
Search our website