The ABC’s of Gym Etiquette

What every gym-goer needs to know.

Gym etiquette is simple and necessary common courtesy. RC Online Coaching athletes are expected to set and exceed standards. We are a tribe dedicated to bettering ourselves AND the world around us. Keeping a clean, healthy, safe, and fun gym environment is key. We can control how we carry ourselves and the actions we take. Let’s do our best to leave every place a little better than we found it.


If someone is near a machine, weights, or some piece of equipment you need, ask if you can use it first. Ensure they are done before grabbing or using anything. This helps keep everyone safe and courteous.


Be respectful of other athletes, coaches, and staff/personnel. Keep your space and personal items contained to a small area, make sure to stay clear of any classes going on, and wait until after a trainer/coach is finished with a client/class before asking them any questions you may have.


Chalk up responsibility. Chalk should remain in the chalk bucket or on your hands. Take a small piece of chalk and apply to hands over/inside of the chalk bucket. Do not take chalk to another end of the gym, leave on the floor, play hot-potato with it, etc.


Do stay focused on your training. The gym can be a great place to meet new people, socialize, and play! Just remember, you are there to complete your training first and foremost.


Empty bars should be placed back into racks (no sliding, dropping, spinning). At no time should you stand or sit on a barbell. Barbells should be picked up with hands only — feet should not be used to touch the bar for any reasons, even readjusting the position of the bar on the platform.


Figure out the least amount of plates to use in order to achieve the desired load. Example: If you have a 45# barbell and the bar needs to be loaded to 185#, use a bar, 2 x (45#) plates, and 2 x (25#) plates. Do NOT use multiple small plates to load the bar.


Give a helping hand to new members or anyone who looks like they need assistance (when/if you’re able to assist). Shake hands with new members and introduce yourself.


Help keep the gym/facility clean by wiping up any mess you may have left behind (sweat, water drops, blood, spit, tears…) If you see a piece of trash on the ground, pick it up. Not only are you leaving the place better than you found it, but you earned yourself another high-quality hinging rep by bending over to pick something up.


Influence those around you by standing up straight, limiting screen-time while in the gym, and taking the time to do the small things (like tie your shoes and make eye contact with the person at the front desk).


Join in positive conversations and refrain from joining negative ones. Example, someone mentions how poorly they slept the night before or how sore they are from a workout. Instead of sympathizing with them or mentioning how sore you may be, refrain from commenting at all. Join the positive and do not feed your attention to the negative.


Keep your camera/phone nearby if you’re using it for music, to check your program/workout, or to film yourself for review (by yourself or your coach). Do not keep your phone nearby to check social media, make business calls, or respond to emails. Be as present as possible. This time is YOUR time. Enjoy it.


When loading or unloading plates on a rack, do so one per side. Example: If you have 2 x (45#) plates on each side of a bar, take one off the left side, one off the right, and repeat. Do not try taking 2 plates off one side, as the 90# loaded on the other side could tip the barbell over (read: disaster may ensue).


Make smart decisions. Step back far enough from the rack when squatting, don’t lift directly in front of a mirror (for everyone’s safety as well as sparing yourself 7+ years of ‘bad luck’ for any superstitious folks), and return all equipment you may have brought over to you to its original spot when you’re finished.


Never say “c**t.” (Hint: this word rhymes with ‘rant.’) You can. You can. You can.


Be on time. If you’re taking a class, meeting a trainer, a coach, a friend, or yourself, show up ready to go at the time you determined. If anything, try to be a little early. “If you’re on time, you’re late. If you’re early, you’re on time!”


If you drive to the gym, park in the back. The extra steps it takes to get to the front of the gym can act as a good warm-up or cool-down to transition from sitting to training or vice versa.


Hit quality reps. If you’re at the gym, you’re there for a reason. Whether it’s to move better, get stronger, look a certain way, or feel a certain way, the focus is always quality over quantity.


You got the equipment out, you put it away. If when you got to a machine, for example, and it had weights left on it you used, put them away when you are finished (even though they were already loaded when you began).


Stay clear of the forward view of lifters. If an athlete is lifting, do not make eye contact with them or walk in front of their path.


Bring a towel if you sweat profusely and will be in contact with, well, anything. You’d rather not sit down on a leg extension machine pooled with a strangers sweat. Don’t be that stranger.


Use collars/clips when lifting a barbell.


Vow to give your best effort each day. You’re there for a reason and you “get” to be there. You don’t have to be.


Wash your hands. We all share barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, etc. Washing your hands frequently helps keep you and everyone else safer. Washing your hands after the gym also helps to ensure your steering wheel doesn’t get covered in chalk on the way home!


X-out any negativity that may drift across your thoughts. Is someone grunting obnoxiously, using a piece of equipment incorrectly, or allowing their kids to run around? Try to free yourself of any negative thoughts or emotions that don’t serve you. Take a deep breath in and let go of what you cannot control.


Yes, you can. Repeat that to yourself anytime you second guess these principles or your capabilities. You can and you will.


Zone out — get into your groove and be so focused you get to experience a flow state.

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