Even at a health club — a place where tank tops, profuse sweating, and mild grunting are perfectly acceptable — rules of etiquette should be followed.
In a gym, weight equipment is considered communal property, so don’t sit on a machine while you rest between sets. Especially don’t sit there reading a magazine, talking on your cellphone, or rehearsing an opera. Instead, stand up and let a fellow gym member work in — let the member alternate sets with you. The same rule applies if you’re using a pair of dumbbells. When you complete a set, place the weights on the floor so someone else can sneak in a set while you rest.
Unloading your weight bar
After you finish using a bar, leave it completely empty. Don’t assume that everyone can lift the same amount of weight you can. Removing weight plates from a bar takes a fair amount of strength as well as good technique. Don’t assume that the next person who comes along has the ability (or desire) to clean up after you.
Putting weights back where you found them
When you’ve removed a weight plate from a bar or when you finish using a pair of dumbbells, return the weights to their designated spot on the rack. Never leave dumbbells or barbells on the floor when you’re finished using them. Someone may trip on the weights. If you leave dumbbells on the floor between sets, criss-cross them or butt them up against the wall or the bench so that they can’t roll away.
Keeping your sweat to yourself
Carry a towel and wipe off any bench or machine you use. Nothing is quite as gross as picking up a slippery weight or lying down in a stranger’s pool of sweat. If you forget to bring a towel, use your sweatshirt or the paper towels provided by the club.
Helping the flow of traffic
Don’t block the traffic flow. While you shouldn’t camp out on the equipment while you’re resting between sets, neither should you clog the pathways between machines or congregate with a dozen of your buddies in the free weight area. Not only is this inconsiderate, but also it can create a hazardous condition.
Don’t take a marathon shower if people are waiting.
With the exception of sweat, what you take into the shower should come out with you when you leave.