Any gym you go to will have a set of rules it expects its member to abide by. These rules are in place for the safety of all patrons as well as to make the gym experience as pleasurable as possible for all members. Beyond these written rules, there is also a set of unwritten etiquette rules that many gym regulars abide by. I consider these rules very important but if you are new to the gym you may not know about them (and believe me I have seen my share of regulars who don't either). Whether you are new or experienced, consider these following etiquette rules the next time you hit the gym.
1) Keep talking to a minimum, and don't sing. For many people the gym is an escape. It is their time for themselves, not socialization hour. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to concentrate when you have someone flapping their gums the whole time. Furthermore cell phones should not be used at the gym. Never assume that you are so important that the whole world wants to hear your conversation. Keep the talking to a minimum and the phones in your gym bags. Worse than talking is singing out loud. Singing at the gym is quite frankly annoying. No matter how good your voice is, you do not have the right to expose other gym goers to your music, save it for the shower at home.
2) Be aware of your body odor. This rule can go both ways. If you have never seen a stick of deodorant in your life I suggest you make quick friends with one. Conversely if you feel the need to douse yourself with 5 gallons of your perfume or cologne take a shower before you hit the gym. People's senses become heightened when they exercise and if you reek of body odor or perfume you will quickly find yourself by yourself.
3) Wipe down the equipment. Many people feel like if they don't work up a good sweat at the gym they are not working hard enough. The key is they want it to be their sweat, not yours. In addition to being good gym etiquette it is also good health practice to wipe down any piece of equipment after you are done. MRSA is a common bacteria at the gym and properly disinfecting equipment can limit its transmission. Those spray bottle aren't all around the gym for decoration. Use them.
4) Don't drop the weights. In addition to being extremely dangerous for people around you it is also inconsiderate. Dropping weights can damage equipment and can lead to the loss of that equipment once ruined. There is a difference between dropping the weights blatantly and lowering heavy weights as slowly as safely possible, but my general feeling about it is if they are too heavy for you to control, they are to heavy for you to use. There ARE times when dropping weights is OK. If you are performing Olympic style lifting on a rubber platform and using rubber plates it is advised to drop the weights in a controlled manner.
5) Don't yell. Just like dropping the weights, yelling obnoxiously just tells the rest of the gym you need attention.
6) Let others work in. Nothing is more annoying than when you are waiting for a weight machine and someone refuses to get off of it between sets. It's even more annoying when they lose track of time because they are too busy texting. Allow others to work in between your sets and limit the time you are using piece of equipment.
7) Don't use the squat rack for curls. Most gyms have only one or two squat racks for patrons to use. These racks are designed to be used for certain lifts such as squats and bench press. Using them to do curls, or other exercises that do not require a rack is inconsiderate. If you can do the exercise without the need for a rack, do so and leave it for someone who needs it.
Following these "unwritten" rules is good gym practice, but more importantly it is considerate of other members of the gym. Don't be naive to these rules and it will improve the experience of all members.