How you behave in the weight room speaks volumes about your character as a person and experience level as a lifter. As is the case in many other settings, gym etiquette amounts to accepted customs and practices, dos and don'ts, and general guidelines one would be wise to follow in order to engender themselves to their fellow athletes and coaches. Here’s a list to get you acquainted with the ways of the weight room.
1) Always re-rack your weights and clean up after yourself. The same thing you were probably taught in kindergarten equally applies in the gym. If you take it out, put it back. If you cover something in chalk, sweat, or DNA, wipe it down and get it back to the state you found it. This also applies to mini whiteboards used to count your rounds.
2) Show up on time (if not early). Lateness disrupts the class, is rude to the coach, and negatively affects the quality of your workout. “Stuff” happens, just don’t make it a habit.
3) Respect the equipment. Most of it is extremely durable, but everything has an intended use, and will breakdown quickly if used incorrectly. Bumper plates are intended to be dropped, dumbbells are not. Boxes are designed to be jumped on, not dragged or kicked across the floor. Treat the gear as if you had to pay to replace it yourself if it broke.
4) Be mindful where you walk and stand. Just like in golf, it’s poor form to walk in someone’s line. In the gym, this means don’t walk directly in front of someone in the middle of a focused lift as this is an unwanted distraction that can impede their focus. Same goes for standing directly in front of your lifting partner; don’t do it. Instead, stand on the side or somewhere out of the way.
5) Load your barbell correctly. Don’t keep adding small bumpers or change plates when there is a larger plate available. Small plates are flimsy, make it harder to calculate the weight being used, and limit the supply for everyone else. Don’t be that guy/gal with 4 10’s on each side when you could simply throw on some 45’s instead.
6) Don’t attempt to spot someone who didn’t ask for assistance / doesn’t know you are trying to spot them. Conversely, don’t spot someone on a lift if you don’t know how to spot them correctly. If you are spotting someone, you better pay close attention and not be a spectator.
7) Don’t ever drop an empty barbell on the ground. Just don’t.
8) Don’t make everyone else wait for you in order to start the WOD. You didn’t just suddenly have the need to go to the bathroom. You’ve also known what shoes you should be wearing and what gear you need since the start of class. Plan accordingly. Asking “wait, what are we doing?” when the coach is about to start the timer also applies here.
9) Don’t even think about leaving until everyone else finishes the workout. Show some support and cheer your classmates on!
10) Don’t use equipment you didn’t get out yourself. Don’t ask “is someone using this rower?” It obviously didn’t pull itself down, so go get your own.
11) Chalk: in the bucket, on your hands, on the bar (from your hands). In reasonable quantities. Clean it up when you finish.
12) Always strive to keep your lifting:talking ratio properly balanced (less talky, more lifty). Respect that many people come to the gym for a reprieve from work, home, etc. and simply want a chance to blow off some steam in peace. Don't’ be a distraction to everyone else!