When it comes to training as a member at any facility, your etiquette is a valuable part of the culture you represent to others and the respect you give to your coaches, the facility and the equipment. Respecting your gym is something that you should not have to think about, but rather should form part of who you are and therefore should become a natural way of doing things.
What we’re talking about here is that a good respect for your gym is a very valuable attribute to your gym and something that the coaches, the owners and even other members would appreciate more than you’d imagine.
Here are a few top tips you need to follow in order to have the right type of gym etiquette, whether it’s at a CrossFit box or any functional fitness facility…
If you’re not early, you’re late! Simple. Make an effort to get to training at least 5-10min earlier than the session starts. It gives you time to get an idea of the workout, think of what you want to achieve, start warming up, and importantly when the session starts your coach and other members are not left waiting.
It’s easy to get caught up in a conversation when you see friends at the start of training, but when your coach is talking and going through the days WOD or teaching skills, shut up and listen. Talking and staying social during training is normal, but don’t interrupt a session or important times your coach is talking, disrespecting your coach and other members.
Make sure you give other people training space to do their thing comfortably. It’s annoying when someone decides that training right next to the equipment storage area is a good idea, especially when others need to gain access during that persons training. Respect your space and others space during a workout and try contain yourself in your allocated area – you don’t need to cordon that area off, it’s not a crime scene, so figure it out. Also keep clear of anyone using a lifting platform – that area is sacred during use!
When you use racks, whether to squat or do presses or jerks, etc., don’t stand so close to the rack that if you dump the bar with bumper plates on that they could potentially smash into the rack. It will potentially damage the bar, the plates, the rack itself and it could even hurt you. A step or two more backwards is manageable, so do it.
Keep It Clean
There is nothing worse and potentially even damaging or dangerous than a workout area littered with stuff not mean to be there. Your kit bag, water bottle, towels, keys, phone, etc., it’s all not meant to be there. Keep all that in an allocated area. Having to avoid these objects during training can cause damage to equipment (like if a bumper plate falls on your keys and chips the plates), it can cause a loaded barbell to bounce around erratically, and it can cause problems if someone trips over it – potentially injuring them.
Use Racks Carefully
Loading a barbell on a rack is not complex, but it’s easy to abuse the bar without realising it. Don’t aggressively rack a loaded bar on a rack, and don’t slide or shake a bar while it’s on the rack. The knurling, which gives you grip, will get damaged. Equipment is expensive and Oly bars are pricey!
Leaving Loaded Bars
Leaving a barbell loaded on a rack for extended periods of time will potentially permanently bend it. If you’re done using the rack, then keep your loaded bar on the ground, or pack away the plates and bar.
Don’t Dump Empty Bars
Often we use an empty bar when doing warm-up drills and when practicing movements. Be careful to put an empty bar down on the ground ‘softly’. Dumping an empty bar will potentially damage the sleeve and the bearings or bushings – i.e. the part which makes the bar spin. Bars are meant to be reasonably dumped when they have rubber bumper plates on them, but the sharper hard impact of being bumped without bumper plates will cause problems. Dumping a bar with bumper plates still needs to be controlled too – you can and will damage the plates and bar if you dump or forcefully throw them down.
Don’t Abuse Chalk
Yes, you’ve probably heard this before, but it’s a problem. People being hasty and spilling chalk dust all over is just reckless. Using chalk is fine, but don’t overdo it. Don’t clap and leave a chalk cloud. What for? Don’t be so mindless that you kick over the chalk bucket – and if you do, clean it up. Finally, stop dragging the chalk bucket right next to you – it’s there for everyone.
Pack Up Properly
Don’t mix up equipment and leave the 10kg kettlebells with the 20kg kettlebells, or put the 20kg bumper plates on top of the 5kg bumper plates. Put your equipment back where you found it – presuming it was in the right place to start with. It’s annoying for coaches and other members to try find what they need when they need it.
Pack Up Timeously
Firstly, don’t start packing up when others are still doing the workout you started together. Spur them on until they are done and then pack away. Also, don’t mess around and take your time after your workout – get on with it and even help others if you’re done.
Clean Up After Yourself
If you’ve left a pool or sweat on the floor or some blood on the bar from your shins or even pull-ups, make an effort to wipe it down and dry it up. You would hate to grab onto a bar and realise it’s covered in someone else’s blood or sweat. Although equipment is and should be regularly cleaned by the gym, it’s important to clean up after yourself because often classes happen right after each other and the facility would not have cleaned it up by then.