Men leaving machines dripping with sweat, women gossiping and gabbing about dates…you see (and hear!) it all at the gym. Even at a health club — a place where tank tops, profuse sweating, and mild grunting are perfectly acceptable — there are certain rules of etiquette that should be followed. Here are the rituals and customs unique to gyms from blackdoctor.org:
In a gym, weight equipment is considered communal property, so don’t sit on a machine while you rest between sets. Especially don’t sit there reading a magazine or talking on your cellphone. Instead, stand up and let a fellow gym member alternate sets with you. The same rule applies if you’re using a pair of dumbbells. When you complete a set, place the weights on the floor so someone else can sneak in a set while you rest.
The only time you should retain possession of weight equipment while you rest is when you’re using a barbell stacked with weight plates. Suppose that you’re bench-pressing 75 pounds and someone else wants to bench-press 225 pounds, you can see what a hassle it would be for the two of you to work in with each other; between each set, you’d need to slide eight plates on and off the bar. So you’re under no obligation to let the other person work in with you. (However, if people are waiting for the equipment, have the courtesy not to perform 15 sets.)