What is fitness floor etiquette? It is respecting the equipment, the fellow members utilizing the equipment and following the rules of the road for that specific fitness facility.
The etiquette should be clearly outlined in the member handbook and in some cases, specific guidelines are posted to remind each individual what they need to do prior to using the equipment and how to leave the fitness floor for the next member’s use.
Since every fitness facility is unique, the fitness floor etiquette does vary somewhat from club to club; however, there are a few universal rules regarding floor etiquette that should be followed so that everyone has a positive workout experience. While there are dozens of protocols, this week six fitness floor etiquette guidelines should serve you well regardless where you may workout (i.e. “The Golden Rule”). As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.
- Always restack your weight plates in the correct order following use as well as place your dumbbells and other equipment back in the designated space. It is inconvenient for the next user if equipment is not in the correct location and, in certain situations, may be unsafe.
- Always place a “sleeve” or “clamp” on the free barbells once you have placed your desired plates onto the barbell. It is unsafe not to secure the plates on a free barbell. True, experienced and safe conscious weight lifters know how imperative it is to secure the plates due to the potential for the plates to slip off the end of the barbell, creating an imbalance leading to a plethora of unsafe possibilities.
- Wipe down all of the equipment you use following your use. This means that you should wipe it down even if you are returning to it later for another set. If someone else wants to use the equipment after you move on to the next station, they deserve to use a clean piece of equipment. Most good quality clubs have disposable wipes available on the fitness floor which makes it easy to manage. A good rule of thumb is to remember to “take your sweat with you.”
- It is commonplace for members to wear earbuds or headphones while exercising. While music is an excellent motivator and I am a huge proponent of using your own music while working out, it does desensitize you to the amount of noise you may be making and this could be disturbing your fellow exercisers. It does not hurt to leave one of your ear buds out so you have some sense of your personal noise level, such as slamming plates on the weight stack or barbells on the floor. This also includes talking on cell phones which promotes distracted exercise, definitely less effective than focused workouts and your conversation may be heard by others, which is a distraction to them.
- Avoid dominating a specific piece of equipment. Notice when others may be interested in utilizing the equipment you are using and invite them to “work in” with you. This ensures that everyone has an equal opportunity to use the equipment.
- When working with heavy free weight, particularly if you are attempting to move up to the next weight increment, it is a great idea to train with an experienced spotter.