Public gyms come with their unique set of benefits and flaws – they tend to be cheap overcrowded and offer just a bit more than the very basics, which can be a good thing if you’re more on the traditional side. Perhaps the best way to avoid the negative aspects of the public gym is to set up your own gym at home, but many people value the feeling of community born when pumping iron together with a bunch of other people and decide to stick with their local gym.
However, sharing the same space and equipment with other gym-goers means that you should always treat others the way that you would like to be treated, ensuring a positive experience for everyone. Learning proper gym etiquette is a good way to start. It’s true that we all have our different personalities and habits, but do you really want to be the inconsiderate asshole that everybody hates being around in the gym? Sometimes we do irritating things without being really aware of it, so that’s why we’ve created a list of 6 common gym misbehaviors that every gym rat needs to shake off in order to earn some respect from his brothers and sisters of iron.
Not wiping off equipment after using it
This is both gross and unsanitary. If you don’t wide down the machine you’ve used with wipes or a spray sanitizer, you’re spreading your germs to everyone else who uses it after you. Would you like to lie down in a puddle of other peoples’ sweat? Of course not and guess what, nobody does. It’s really not that difficult – after finishing your sets, give the machine a quick spray with a spray bottle or wipe it thoroughly with a towel.
Taking up too much equipment at once
Don’t be that person who takes up more than two pieces of equipment at once during the most crowded hours at the gym. That’s terribly frustrating for everyone else who’s struggling hard to find an idle piece of equipment. Do you really need to perform a circuit of squats, bench presses and pull ups at the busiest time of the day? Try to occupy one piece of equipment at a time whenever possible so that everyone can have a better chance for a decent workout, or if you must perform supersets, at least make sure to trade the equipment in between sets and let others “work in”.
Not re-racking your weights
This is perhaps the worst habit we’ve seen around the gym and there are absolutely no excuses for this one. After finishing your sets, make sure to put all equipment you’ve used back where it belongs and leave everything just the way you found it, so that the next guy can begin with his training without any unnecessary fuss. Nobody likes having to waste precious time searching for the plates they need and nobody should suffer because of your laziness.
Being glued to your phone
One of the most horrifying scenes in modern gyms is seeing how a third of the people frequently pause for a ridiculous amounts of time to check their phones or take selfies. This is a very sad indicator of the destruction of our gym culture, among other things. It seems that less and less people come to the gym to actually work out, while social media have found their way even to our temples of fitness.
Unless you enjoy having ineffective workouts, keep your phone in the locker or use it only to keep track of your workout, and simply focus on getting the most out of the time you spend at the gym.
Using too much chalk
Chalk is an amazing way to maximize your gripping ability when performing heavy deadlifts and it works a lot better than straps and gloves because it doesn’t prevent you from relying on your grip strength to hold the weight. However, many gyms have banned the use of chalk recently.
Why? Because some people have the habit of excessively chalking their hands for almost every exercise, which means that chalk is everywhere on the floor and equipment and cleaning it up is a very tiresome task. Don’t be one of those people – you don’t need chalk to perform pull ups or hanging leg raises. And when performing exercises that require the use of chalk, remember that less is more.
Performing curls in the squat rack
This is a terrible practice that has been gaining a lot of popularity lately for some inexplicable reason (being able to watch yourself in the mirror is not a valid one). In fact, the squat racks in many public gyms around the country have literally become curl racks already. The problem is very simple: squats can only be done in the squat rack and most commercial gyms have only one or two of those, while curls can be done pretty much anywhere where you can stand up.
So when people use the squat rack for curls, they block it for those who want to perform squats, which doesn’t really make any sense.