Tag: Gym Fails

20 Gym Etiquette Rules Everyone Needs To Know

Gym Etiquette Rules Everyone Needs To Know

Gym etiquette. It is a must-have for all gym-goers. Whether you workout anywhere from 24-Hour Fitness to your local CrossFit or an Old-School Powerlifting Gym, these are the things you need to know. Simply follow these basic gym etiquette rules, or risk getting kicked out and losing your gym membership. Or worse, becoming the local gym idiot! 

If you disagree with any of these gym etiquette rules or have some to add, comment below! 

Also, if you have any funny gym fail stories to tell, please leave them here.

What is Gym Etiquette?

Gym etiquette is how you conduct yourself in a gym style environment. Whether others are around or not, it is important you conduct yourself in a respectful manner. For this to occur, gyms have their own set of gym rules. However, there is more to it than just following the rules set in place for you to keep your membership.

In the following, we will go over all the proper gym etiquette you need in order to avoid becoming the local gym idiot.

Note: Every gym has their own set of rules and guidelines to follow. So make sure to check in with them to avoid the Lunk Alarm or any unnecessary fees.

Top 5 Gym Rules

Gym Etiquette Rule #1: Pay your dues!

This is by far Gym Etiquette Rule #1! Both financially and respectfully, you need to pay your dues. Nobody likes a cheapskate or a cocky amateur that think they know it all. Nobody cares how many magazines you’ve read, celebrities you’ve met, or videos you’ve watched. Stay up to date on your fees and learn from those with more experience, even if they are younger than you.

Overall, just don’t be an A$$! Be kind, humble and respectful to everyone at all training levels. Make sure to encourage others and make friends.

Remember, there is ALWAYS someone bigger, stronger, and better looking than you. Failure to comply to this standard Gym Etiquette Rule #1 can easily result in the termination of your gym membership! Or you getting physically thrown out of the gym by 1+ angry gym members!

Gym Etiquette Rule #2: RE-RACK YOUR WEIGHTS!!!

The most disrespectful, discourteous, and infuriating thing you can do in a gym is leave your weights out, or put them away wrong. Whether it be dumbbells, plates, kettlebells, or other gym equipment, put everything back the way it is supposed to be. Even if that is not how you found it!

We are pretty sure your mom doesn’t follow you around at the gym, so you are gonna have to take some responsibility and clean up after yourself. Otherwise, you will lose the respect of everyone around you and become the real gym idiot that everyone hates!

Gym Etiquette Rule #3: ALWAYS ask, don’t just assume.

When you assume things you simply make an “a$$” our of “u” and “me”. If anyone is nearby, or could possibly be using something, always ask before you take it. Even if you need to wait a minute to see if anyone comes back to it.

Taking things is just rude, even if you “didn’t know”. If you ask, you always know.

Remember, everyone shares everything at the gym, the same as it is in kindergarten. If you want something, then check around before taking it. Then there are no unnecessary arguments or angry looks.

Gym Etiquette Rule #4: Don’t hog the equipment.

When it comes to using the equipment, get in and get out. Don’t sit there on a machine or bench scrolling through Instagram for 5 minutes between every set. People are always waiting from a distance.

Be courteous of other people’s time, and follow social media on your own time. And if you have 5+ sets to do, you better not just be standing around at the squat rack talking to your gym bros. Always be working, or getting ready for the next set.

If you are doing a superset, be quick about it and never use more than 2-3 machines or stations at once, unless the gym is empty. Everyone has stuff to do too.

Gym Etiquette Rule #5: Respect personal space!

Look, but don’t touch. Big arms, ripped abs, and huge legs are all admirable. However, just because we like when people notice, doesn’t mean that you have the right to come up and touch what we have built.

If you want to feel, ASK! No acceptions! Whether you are young and hot or old and creepy, stay out of our personal space unless invited in.

Top 10 Gym Etiquette Rules

Gym Etiquette Rule #6: Don’t smell.

Whether you smell good or bad, the gym is not the place to give it away. You should come in not smelling like anything, good or bad. Bad smells only get worse, and good smells are too fragrant for others around you not to be distracted. It is fine if you start to stink after you have been sweating for a while but come in fresh, not freaky.

Also, if you smell like you just came out of a hotbox of smoke in your car, people are going to hate you. Whether you think you don’t smell like smoke or not, you do, and everyone knows it. It is your right to do as you wish, however, everyone at the gym is sharing air. If you ruin their air, you can expect a lot of dirty looks and even a canceled gym membership.

Gym Etiquette Rule #7: NO SINGING!

It is not Karaoke night! And we don’t care if it is your favorite song. Save your croaky voice for passing the time in traffic. When you’re in the gym, focus on your work.

P.S. If you can sing while working out, then you are not really working very hard. Just sayin’.

Gym Etiquette Rule #8: Scream as much as you want, but have a reason!

Being loud when getting psyched up and working hard is fine. However, if you do it for no reason, then you are just being a gym idiot.

To keep it simple, if you are doing something cool, then you are fine. If not, then stay quiet.

Gym Etiquette Rule #9: Wipe down your equipment. No excuses.

This is a mojor health risk if you forget, so don’t! Besides, “I forgot” is not a reasonable excuse for anyone old enough to workout in a gym.

Whether you sweat a lot or not, it is your courteous duty that you wipe down your equipment EVERY SINGLE TIME after you are finished using it. DON’T FORGET!

Gym Etiquette Rule #10: Don’t hit on other members!

The gym is a great place to hook up…before and after your workout though! It is NEVER a good idea to interrupt someone else’s workout. Especially if you are interested in more than a friendship!

Interact, but do not interrupt. If there is a connection, talk after. If not, they’re not interested. It is a HUGE turn off to interrupt someone’s workout. So be patient and take action when it is the appropriate time.

Top 20 Rules

Gym Etiquette Rule #11: Ask before you give help!

First, it is not social hour at your local country club, so keep your pointless talk to yourself. If you can’t say what you are going to say in under a minute, then save it for later. People go to the gym to better themselves and are all on a time crunch. Be respectful of their time and save the chat about the weather for the inevitable awkward silences in your life. 

Secondly, NEVER walk up to someone to give them tips about how they “should” be doing things. That is extremely disrespectful, as it shows you think they have no idea what they are doing. If you have a suggestion, then ask if they would like to hear it. Don’t just start spewing out advice that they may not even want. Usually if they want advice, they’ll ask.

Gym Etiquette Rule #12: Wear appropriate gym attire!

It is not a strip club (male or female). So fully cover up all inappropriate areas. Ladies, side boob and see-through are too much, but a reasonable sports bra and short shorts are fine. Men, a speedo is for the pool, and your package is not made to be scrunched up into spandex.

Also, it’s not the 70s. Be comfortable, but not distracting. Taking your shirt off is fine, but don’t be loud about it. Public Indecency is a crime.

Of course, don’t track in dirt and mud from outside. If your shoes are dirty, take them off before you walk around.

Gym Etiquette Rule #13: No lockerroom nudity!

Cover yourself up in the locker room (and on the floor, obviously). There is always that one old guy in the locker room that is way too confident in his own skin, and there’s nothing we can do about that. Just don’t be that guy or gal! Keep it covered, and keep it appropriate.

Also, remember it is not social hour in there either.

Gym Etiquette Rule #14: No PDA (Public Display of Affection)!

We know that couples that workout together, stay together. However, the gym is not the place to show off your everlasting love and affection for each other. Nobody wants to see, hear, or have to workout around your makeout sessions every 2 minutes. So, stay on task, so you can get home sooner, and do what you need to do there.

Gym Etiquette Rule #15: Don’t stand in the way!

Whether you are in the walkway, at the water fountain or in front of the dumbbell rack, don’t be in the way. Make sure there is always plenty of space for people to move around you and get to what they need.

This also includes standing between benches, in or near squat racks or machines, and walking slow. Keep out of the way and no one will mind.

Gym Etiquette Rule #16: Glance, but don’t stare.

We get it. We’re hot, but that doesn’t mean we want everyone staring. Don’t be the creepy guy or gal that stares down every hotty in the gym. Everyone likes to be noticed for their hard work but don’t overdo it. Admire, and compliment if necessary, then look away.

Gym Etiquette Rule #17: Don’t laugh at anyone that is trying!

It is always okay to laugh with someone, but it is NEVER okay to laugh at someone, when at the gym. Yes, gym fails and gym fail stories are popular and funny. However, most of those people just don’t know what they are doing. So think of how you would want someone to help you if you were them. Then go from there.

Gym Etiquette Rule #18: Don’t be a gym idiot!

Don’t use bands, chains, or other equipment you don’t understand unless you know what you are doing! If you want to know why read these funny gym fail stories. If you need help, just ask.

Also, if you need a spotter, then get one. You shouldn’t make others around you concerned for your safety to where they feel the need to keep an eye on you like a child.

It is okay to ask for help, but not okay to put yourself and others at risk. Be smart, and be safe. 

If you need a help on how to get started, get one of our strength programs or learn more about the Mathias Method Strength System!

Gym Etiquette Rule #19: Don’t keep asking for free advice.

If you need a personal trainer, then get one! And pay them. You shouldn’t go around bothering other people’s workouts for every little thing. You need to figure some things out on your own and if you need a lot of help, then pay someone to help you.

It is okay to ask for tips, but not for every exercise that you do. Even in the gym, nothing is really free. Respect other people’s time and value.

Gym Etiquette Rule #20: No sleeping, eating or lounging!

The gym floor is not a lounge, so don’t use it as one. If your gym doesn’t have a place to sit and hang out, then there is probably a reason. As in, they don’t want you to hang out there forever.

Eat, sleep and wait in your car, not on the unused machines or benches. You are just going to be in the way. 

Important Reminders

It is also important to mention that things like curling in the squat rack or just using equipment for the wrong purpose are obvious no no’s. Just don’t do it.

Things like how you lift and the music you listen too are not on this list, because those things generally do not affect others.

Overall, these are the basic gym etiquette rules everyone needs to follow. However, make sure to check in with your gym’s rules so that you never get the Lunk Alarm set off on you, or have to pay fines for things you didn’t know.

Remember, if you disagree with any of these, or have some to add, comment below!

Funny Gym Fail Stories

Funny Gym Fail Stories

Do you have some funny gym fail stories you want to share to the world? Share them here, by commenting your story below or emailing us! If they are funny enough, I will repost them to The Strength Blog

Now, to start it off, I have two funny stories for you! The first is one that I witnessed in person. The second is one I was told years ago, and is absolutely dumbfounding and hilarious!

Both took place in our local Powerlifting Gym. Actually, they both happened in the exact same location in the gym…at the squat rack, where all good things happen! Enjoy!

Funny Gym Fail Story #1: The Full Nelson Spotter!

by Ryan J. Mathias

The Set-Up

First, I am a powerlifter and have a powerlifting team, the Strength Warriors. Needless to say, I am at the gym a lot, and, just like many of you, I see a lot of dumb stuff. However, this is one of the best gyms fails I have ever heard of or had the privilege of seeing in person. 

It is a typical day at the gym, where I am in the back powerlifting room warming up for a nice squat workout on one of the 3 squat racks in the gym. On this day, the gym owner was also doing some squats in the main hallway, just outside the powerlifting room’s doorway. So, as usual, between my squat sets, I would go out into the main hallway and have the normal gym bro conversations.

The Gym Idiots

While this is going on, our three teenage gym idiots walk in. You know, the ones that wear gloves to workout, quarter rep everything, and always have to use the pu$$y-pad on the bar for squats. THOSE guys. We will call them Tall, Short, and Plump; which also best describes their figure.

These three gym idiots walk to the end of the hall, near the exit, and take the third and final squat rack. 

Between sets, the gym owner and I keep an eye on them for a bit of humor but let them do their thing because they are not really doing anything wrong…yet. They are beginners and do what we all had to do as beginners at first, which is figure things out.

We probably could have talked to them at any point during this entire scenario, and given suggestions. However, it probably would not have stuck. They likely would have felt embarrassed and discouraged from continuing if we told them everything they were doing was wrong anyway. So we let them learn at their own pace, as they were not hurting anything.

They proceeded to take turns doing a few light sets with the bar and maybe 115 pounds. Then, it all changed in an instant…

The Gym Fails

Now, up until this point, everything was fine. Typical beginner stuff.

  • They had the safety bars set WAY too low. 
  • The adjustable rack was set too high.
  • Plus, they quarter repped everything.

After they finished their warm-ups to 135, they all came to agree 155 was the next best weight. However, Short was not so sure about this new weight. Tall and Plump encouraged him and said they could spot him in case he needed help. Short agreed, so Tall and Plump went to either side of the bar to side-spot him.

Problem #1: With this new weight, Short was not tall enough or strong enough to unrack the weight from the hooks. 

Solution #1: Tall told Plump to lift the weight off the rack with him and they would set it on Short’s back so he could squat it.

A bad idea and gym fail, but they survived.

The Gym Fail Grand Finale

Now, as soon as the weight was set on Short’s back he immediately was not comfortable with the situation. The mere 155 pounds, which was likely 30 or so pounds over his bodyweight, was too much for him to squat. 

“Don’t worry. I’ll come to spot you!” said Tall.

So, Tall leaves his original side-spot position, which would have been safer for both of them, and gets behind Short. Here is where the funny gym fail comes into play…

Problem #2: Short is not strong enough to quarter squat 155 pounds on his own.

Solution #2: Tall comes behind Short and decides to spot him by, no joke, hooking his arms under and through Short’s arms while grabbing onto the bar. He was basically giving Short a Full Nelson with the help of the bar pushing down on Short’s neck.

Major Gym Fail!!! I wish I was making this up!

At this point, the gym owner and I are dumbfounded! We don’t even have words to describe what we were feeling as we see these two gym idiots do 3 reps of no more than 4-inch knee bends with 155 pounds. 

Afterward, we just look at each other with looks of “What did we just witness?”, included with jaws dropped. No words were spoken. We were both just wishing we had enough time to video the craziness!

After a moment, I went back into the other room to continue my workout, and it seems that was their last squat set.

Funny Gym Fail Stories

Funny Gym Fail Story #2: Chain Gang Squats!

by Steve M.

The Set-Up

First, this is not my Funny Gym Fail Story. This was told to me by my gym’s previous owner and took place about a decade ago, in his gym.

To start, you need to know that the Gym I go to is a 24-hour Gym. This means it has cameras everywhere, and the only employee is the gym owner. Which means he can see EVERYTHING that goes on at all times.

Also, the previous Gym owner was a big-time Powerlifter and the gym was originally made as a powerlifting gym. Eventually, it turned into a standard fitness gym, but it still keeps the good qualities of an old school powerlifting gym. Chalk, chain, blood, and awesome equipment. If you had a problem with it, he would tell you to leave.

The Story

Now, at the time of this gym fail, the gym owner was in his office at the front of the gym. Obviously checking on the cameras which were on the screen next to him from time to time as he worked.

In walk the two gym idiots. Typical high school athletes looking to put in some extra work to get ahead. Good for them, but they still messed up. We will call them Intermediate and Beginner based on their experience level.

Intermediate has been coming to the gym for a few months and had decent strength and form for most lifts. At the time he was bringing Beginner in for his first workout to show him the ropes. Of course, as we know, the best exercise to start with is squats. So, they proceed to the squat rack at the very back of the gym, far away from the front office.

Still, the gym owner keeps an eye on them through the cameras as they take a few minutes to go over proper technique and warm-up. All is well.

Switching Things Up

The boys work up too 225 pounds for squats and then decide it’s time to switch things up.

Again, this is a powerlifting gym, so things like chains and chalk are readily open to anyone that wants to use them. All they have to do is go to the back room, near the squat rack they are in, and get what they want to use. 

These gym idiots decide that they want to try out squatting with chains, because, yeah, that sounds cool.

So, they proceed to get 3 pairs of 20-pound chains (6 total chains adding 120 pounds in total). This is no problem, except they do not seem to have a clue what they are doing. This is proven when they, instead of hooking the ends of the chain to the bar and letting the rest hang off, wrap the chain around the ends of the bar as if they are adding 20-pound plats with each chain.

The problem they then run into is that they can only get two chains on each end and don’t know what to do with the third. 

Here is where the Gym Fail occurs!

The Epic Gym Fail

Intermediate decides that if you can’t wrap the chain on the bar to add weight…why not just wrap it around his neck? So, after Intermediate gets set-up with the bar on his back, he has Beginner put the two extra chains draped over his neck, hanging in front of him. 

As soon as the gym owner gets a glips of this he runs out of the office and around the corner to where he is in full site of the squat rack with the gym idiots about to squat.

Unfortunately, he does not get there in time and sees as Intermediate goes down into a full depth squat (which is not his norm, but the weight was likely crushing him) to where he cannot recover from. So, Intermediate is forced into a neck and back-breaking position as his hips shoot up and his entire body is pulled forward by the now hanging chain weight from his neck.

Luckily, the 305-pound bar weight rolled over his head and off of him, crashing into the squat rack safeties, without throwing him to the ground.


The gym owner sees this and screams from 50-feet away, “WHAT IN THE HE// ARE YOU DOING?!!!”

Intermediate Gym Idiot turns towards the gym owner looking absolutely terrified! Pale white like a ghost. Eyes wide. 40-lbs of chain hanging from his neck and no answer at all as to what he was doing.

The gym owner then proceeded to lay into him for ten whole minutes about how much of a gym idiot he is and how he is lucky that gym fail didn’t kill him and Beginner both. The whole time Intermediate had no response and couldn’t even make out words. He stood there with the same petrified look on his face the whole time.

When he was done, the gym owner locked the chains in the back room and never let anyone else use them without his exclusive permission. He then went back to his office and had a good 20-minute laugh over everything that occurred, as it was also one of the funniest gym fails he had ever witnessed in his life.

Intermediate left and never came back after that. However, Beginner continued for a few more months and made some real progress without the help of his original gym idiot partner.

That’s all for now. I hope you enjoyed these funny stories and please share your gym fail stories below or send them to us here.