Gym Workouts with Etiquette

Sep 14 08:01 2011 Alex Miller Print This Article

It is important for anyone starting a gym membership to first learn something about gym etiquette and also to know their way around a gym.

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So, you’re thinking about joining a fitness center for some serious gym workouts?

One main reason why serious bodybuilders join gyms is so they can move quickly from one machine to the next to work out with more intensity in less time.  There is something called super-setting when you perform two or more exercises using opposing muscle groups back to back such as when, for example, you first do a bench press on the smith machine and then immediately work your pulling muscles on the seated rowing machine.

Crowded gyms, however, can be very frustrating and downright annoying particularly when super-setting.  This situation may develop into an irritation that affects how hard you train especially when your main objective should be to concentrate on performing each exercise with perfect form.  It’s hard to give every rep and set everything you’ve got when gym etiquette dictates you let others share the machines while you take your time doing all your exercises back to back for three or four rounds.

There are gyms that resemble underground dungeons where the smell of sweat wafting through the air is like the salty smell of sea air at the beach and the sound of weights crashing to the floor after deadlifts and snatches are like music but the franchised gym you end up going to is probably not one of them.

A few other Items of Gym Etiquette

  • If YOU are the one who needs to use a machine and someone else is using it, ask to share.
  • Learn how to use the machines properly.  Don’t use the flat bench press machine for doing curls.  If you don’t know what a machine is supposed to be used for, get some guts and ask.  You won’t be a total newbie for long.
  • Put the weights back down.  If you use a squat rack, remove all the plates and take down the bar.  Put away all equipment nice and neatly in their proper place.  If you’re finished using the leg press machine, set the pin down to the lowest poundage.  Not everyone is as strong as you.
  • Keep a towel in your gym bag to wipe your sweat off the equipment after you’re finished using it.
  • If you’re using a hand held audio device with buds in your ears or are wearing a headset, be aware of everything going on 360 degrees around you all the time.
  • Don’t be a chatterbox.  Show up to lift and work your butt off.
  • Don’t give your free workout advice to others.  Keep your expert experience to yourself unless someone asks.
  • Help spot other people on lifts whenever.
  • Don’t be offensive in smell or sound.  Use deodorant.  Don’t grunt too much and surely don’t use foul language.
  • Many gyms limit you to 30 minutes on the cardio machines.  Honor that time limit (and towel your sweat off the equipment).

So now you’re all set to have a good gym workout.  What is a good gym workout?  A good gym workout is one that you accomplished everything you set out to do:  You beat the log book on most if not all of your lifts.  This means that for the first set of every lift, you are either doing more repetitions or lifting more weight in order to develop the best physique you can.

Once you get to the gym here are a few pointers so you appear to know what you are doing.

Before You Start Work Sets

  • Several warm-up sets are advisable before working out a muscle hard.  Most novice bodybuilders don’t warm up much if at all.  This is true mostly of young lifters.  The pattern is predictable:  When you’re young, you have no injuries and don’t feel that you have to warm up.  Then you get injuries in which the next some years of your career are filled with working around injuries and healing.  Usually only when bodybuilders get older do they get smarter and warm up.
  • The correct mental approach is sometimes just as important as the workout itself.  Get your head together before performing a work set.  Remind yourself why you’re in the gym to begin with and what your goals are—that you are there to improve.  Don’t slip into doing mindless mechanical workouts.
  • Make sure that any equipment you use is sturdy before you use it.  This is especially important when doing exercises such as the bench press in which there is a potentially crushing weight above you.  Take a quick look at bolts and screws holding the equipment together.  Don’t assume that it’s safe just because the guy before you didn’t have any problems.
  • If you walk into the gym with low energy or feel as if you have flu-like symptoms, the best thing to do is to postpone your workout for a couple days.  If you are training with a partner and feel good enough to stay, help your partner by spotting and supplying good motivation to them on their lifts.

Know the Different Basic Forms of Training

There are several types of routines that can produce excellent results.  Try one for a few months before switching.  And if one of them works for you, why switch?  Remember, success is a combination of hard work and patience.  Here are a few types:

  • The all in one, one day a week workout— you perform a full body workout with at least 10 exercises.  Most exercises are done to failure.  Rest a week and repeat.  If you are a glutton for punishment who likes a marathon session, this is for you.
  • The work a muscle once a week 3 day split—Monday is chest, shoulders and triceps, Wednesday is back, biceps and forearms, Friday is quads, hams, and calves.  You rest on Tuesdays, Thursdays and weekends.  This is a favorite type of split among bodybuilders.
  • The upper/lower body split workout—Upper body one day, lower body another.  Workout 3 or four days a week.  A typical workout split for powerlifters.
  • The minimalist high intensity train every four or five day workout—You train Mondays, Fridays and Wednesdays.  Each workout has only three exercises being a push, a pull, and a lower body movement.  Monday might be Bench, Chins, and deads.  Friday would be Press, rowing, and front squats.  Wednesday would be dips, pull-ups and back squats.  This is a favorite with the high intensity training crowd.  Some say the workout is only good for deloading.  Don’t listen to others.  See for yourself.


After obtaining a gym membership, and before you set foot inside, you should first familiarize yourself with simple gym etiquette and the basics of exercise so you seem to know what you are doing.  It would be perfect if you could find a gym that had enough equipment so that you could try different types of gym workouts.  That might mean that you would have to do a little footwork to see which gyms have a combination of machines and barbells and an assortment of dumbbells and even kettlebells.  Your gym workouts are serious business; you shouldn’t just plunk down your money unless they have everything you need.


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Alex Miller
Alex Miller

The author knows that gym workouts are important.  For information on weight training in general go to

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