10 Ways To Be A Gentleman At The Gym

by Brett & Kate McKay on June 29, 2008 · 92 comments

in A Man's Life, Health & Sports, On Etiquette

Perhaps it is the rush of testosterone and the feeling of primal power that accompanies working out, but many men seem to check their manners at the door to the gym. But just because you’re getting in touch with your inner man beast, doesn’t mean you should turn into an inconsiderate boob. Gyms should give new members a course on etiquette, but they don’t, leaving many men wholly ignorant of how to act civilly while pumping iron. Here are the rules of etiquette every man should know and keep. Feel free to tape them up in your gym’s locker room.

1. Rack your weights. Would you whip up a meal in the kitchen and then leave the dirty dishes from someone else to do? Well maybe you would, but then your roommates are currently plotting how to get you kicked out of the house. Show some respect to your fellow gym patrons and rack your weights. And rack them correctly. Nothing pisses me off more then when there’s a 25 lb plate racked behind three 45 lbs plates. Take those few extra steps to put the same weight with the same weight.

2. Don’t hog the machines. Get in, get your work done, and leave. A gym is a community, so sharing is required. And no, you can’t lay claim to a machine by simply laying your towel on it. Not being a hog on a machine can get difficult when you’re doing super circuits. Before you move to the next machine, tell the person who’s using the machine after you that you’ll be coming back shortly to finish up your circuit.

3. Use a spotter. If you’re throwing around heavy weight, make sure you have someone spotting you. First, it’s a safety concern. Second, you’ll look like an idiot struggling with a bar over your chest.

4. Don’t hover. While hogging machines at the gym is a faux pas, what irks me more is when people start hovering over a machine that you’re in the middle of using. These hoverers passive-aggressively lurk by the machine to give you the signal that they want you to leave. If you want to use the machine, wait until the person has finished their set to approach them. Then politely ask if you can get a set in.

5. Wipe down the equipment. I am convinced that many men feel that their gyms’ “please wipe down your equipment” sign applies to everyone but themselves. How else to explain why a man who has soaked his shirt through with sweat would walk away from a machine he’s coated with perspiration? Nobody wants to sit in a pool of a guy’s sweat, much less a layer of it composed of an afternoon of inconsiderate gym goers. If you moisten a piece of equipment, wipe it down with your towel. If you are sweating profusely, also use the disinfectant spray that the gym provides.

6. Don’t drop the weights. When you’re finished cranking out a set of dumbbell presses, lay them down like a normal person. Don’t just drop them off your shoulders. First, it’s dangerous to do so. You don’t know if there are any feet or hands that the weight can land on. Second, it’s bad for the weights and the floor. Even if your gym has those rubber floors, dropping the weights from great heights will eventually cause some wear and tear. Finally, it’s distracting. Dropping weights creates a bunch of ruckus that can distract other gym patrons.

7. Don’t hit on women. The gym is not a bar. You’re there to work, and so are the women. Don’t bother them. Most women feel sweaty and messy when they’re working out, and are not in the mood for love. If the woman is not sweaty and messy, and instead has perfectly coiffed hair and a full face of make-up, you should still steer clear; you don’t want to date the kind of woman who gets guzzied up for the gym.

8. Don’t give unsolicited advice. So what if you got your college degree in sports nutrition and exercise? No one cares what you have to say about how to get chiseled abs. Only if someone asks for some advice, or is in serious danger of hurting themselves, should you step in and let loose a river of all the workout knowledge that’s stored in that big cranium of yours.

9. Leave the cell phone in the car. One of the most obnoxious things to see at a gym is a person yapping away on their cell phone while walking on the treadmill. Usually the culprits of this gym crime are snooty soccer moms, but I’ve seen men do this as well. Nothing is unmanlier than a man whose focus is somewhere else and not on developing and strengthening his body.

10. Don’t use the girly machines. No man should ever be caught on that machine that works your inner and outer thighs.

{ 91 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tyler @ Building Camelot June 29, 2008 at 8:00 pm

#11. Don’t dress like a creep and/or a douche bag.

Great list and number 10 is the best out of the bunch!

2 Kate McKay June 29, 2008 at 8:02 pm

Note to the guys from a lady’s perspective: Sometimes when I go to the gym all the barbells and machines are loaded up with 45 lb plates. Perhaps guys leave these plates on with the idea that any man worth his salt is going to use them as well. But many women also use these machines, even the squat rack. I’m not a weakling, but it’s tough to remove and re-rack those big 45 lb plates. So be kind to the ladies, gents, always re-rack your weights.

3 Cameron Marshall June 29, 2008 at 8:16 pm

On #10, I know (I think) youre kidding, realizing that hip abductors and adductors are some of the most important stability muscles in your body, helping in everything from running, martial arts, etc. And since I’m not in a gym, I didnt break rule #8!

4 Kevin June 29, 2008 at 8:17 pm

Re: #10: Uh, yeah… ’cause manly men are born without adductors and abductors. Silly.

5 Brett June 29, 2008 at 8:26 pm

@Kevin and Cameron-Using machines that target one small muscle at a time and make you do movements you would never do in real life are a total waste of time. While I called out the hip abductor machine for special criticism, the leg extension and leg curl machines are also silly. The hip machines are especially dumb because they don’t really even work the muscles they are supposed to and can cause overuse injuries of the piriformis muscle.There are other ways to work the same muscles using exercises that strengthen the whole area and supporting muscle groups.

6 LtCook June 29, 2008 at 8:54 pm

I agree with the hip adductor/abductor machines. Instead of using those, you can usually fit your foot into a cable handle and use one of the cable machines for the same movement. Or just do squats and deads…

There is a time and place for direct isolation work, just not very often.

7 Captain Obvious June 29, 2008 at 9:06 pm

What an utterly chauvanist cowardly opinion
~inside/outside thigh machines are girly~


How utterly offensive:
since the mere *suggestion* that you might be feminine is so profoundly *demeaning* to you,
you can’t value woman as person,
can you?

Your balls disappear when someone holds
slightly-pink/magenta cloth near you?

Many women have commented on this, and finally I “get” it,
and see it, when “my kind” are doing it:
Grow Up.
If *I* can, *anyone* can.

Try reading “Counting for nothing”
a book about just what men really value woman as…

Try reading “Women’s Ways of Knowing”
by 4 psychologist women with both brains & guts.

And TRY freestyling a 250lb-400lb bike with weak thigh muscles,
and see if having it land on your head more frequently
makes *you* feel more manly, or more idiotic.
( & if you are offended by “practice” and “training” and “study” as too girly, then maybe get a Darwin Award doing a loop wrong?
.. at least it’d be *earned* )

Posted under a Nom de Plume, because it is the ISSUE that matters, not the “names”.

(c) 2008 Captain Obvious

( yes, copyright still applies with a Nom de Plume )

8 Jeff June 29, 2008 at 9:17 pm

Squat and deadlift will give you very strong thighs. The point is not that the abductor machine is girly it is that both men and women would benefit more from free weights. Since men tend to focus on strength more than women in their workouts (men and women in general this doesn’t apply to everyone) they are more responsible for doing things the right way.

9 Brett June 29, 2008 at 9:24 pm

@Captain Obvious-You may want to spend less time toning those thighs and more time learning how to put together a coherent comment.

As Jeff said, it’s not that there is something intrinsically girly about the abductor machine. But the fact is that I’ve never, ever seen a really fit man using it, and the only ones I have seen using it are female. Most are operating under the erroneous assumption that you can “spot reduce” your trouble spots. No man should labor under this delusion. But hey if it helps you with motocross then more power to you.

10 Miguel Wickert June 29, 2008 at 9:44 pm

Well done, now that’s what I like to see! I try to pass these principles on to others. I’m going to mention this list in a blog post sometime this week.

11 Kyle A. Koyote June 29, 2008 at 10:27 pm

Gentlemen should squat and dead lift, not use hip machines. My two cents. Machines are way overrated. People need to realize that machines will never, ever replace lifting barbells and dumbbells. Machines are safer during the exercise, but they are not better. Machines are better at bodybuilding, yes, but getting strong? Improving athletic performance? No they aren’t better.

12 Kevin (ReturnToManliness) June 29, 2008 at 11:16 pm

Brett is right on with his comments. Captain obvious is insane.

Brett, don’t get pulled into the gutter. Your list is great, but cut some slack of the folks who have cell phones. Us men nowadays have plenty of multi-tasking efforts going on and sometimes we need to take a call. It’s how you handle the call and respect others around you that matters most. Leave the area of others and DON’T do it on the treadmill unless something is massively urgent and then the good man would get off the phone and apologize to the folks around him for goofing up their workouts.

1,2 6 and 8 all should be punishable by cutting off a pinky or something. I know it sounds harsh but so are the offenses. The same ones doing this are the same ones that think #7 is a sport. I like to look at the talent like any other guy, but “get in, get out, and go home” should be the mantra.

13 paul uk June 30, 2008 at 12:24 am

*Don’t give unsolicited advice*
in the gym, and everywhere else!

*Leave the cell phone in the car*
who are these arseholes who walk around with bluetooth headsets all the time? idiots who dont want phone waves affecting their brain, so put the phone in their pocket next to their testicles!

14 Nouman June 30, 2008 at 1:17 am

Nice article
You can also find helpful articles from

15 Brian June 30, 2008 at 1:54 am


16 Yi June 30, 2008 at 2:25 am

Caption Obivous sound girl enough. Whining like that.

17 Al June 30, 2008 at 3:07 am

perfect. Just #10 honestly makes no sense, there aren’t male or female muscles and abductors can be a great boost for leg press. I don’t use those machines often actually, and I do agree they look girlish – yet they are a great leg complement anyway. I’d drop #10, or why not add #11: don’t train gluteus unless you’re gay? lol

But from 1 to 9, tyhey are just perfect!

18 mease grunkey June 30, 2008 at 4:28 am

Most of you a fully in love with your own opinions.

19 Brett McKay June 30, 2008 at 4:42 am

Okay, I added number 10 primarily for some comic relief, but people seem to be taking it super seriously. I didn’t know people are so uptight about the hip abductor machine.

20 Markus June 30, 2008 at 5:08 am

I like your list but #10 is complete nonsense

21 Brett McKay June 30, 2008 at 5:14 am

@ Markus- Come back when you have a sense of humor.

22 Chad June 30, 2008 at 5:17 am

No singing online with your ipod.

23 nicole June 30, 2008 at 6:44 am

yea as for #7
it’s the number one reason I stopped going to the gym, and it’s absolutely right. We’re there to work out, not to pick up gross sweaty guys. Oh, and your bacne from the rhoids? yea, we can spot that a mile away and we know exactly what it is and what it’s from.
Plus, we wear spandex because it’s comfortable. It’s not an invite to follow us all over the gym and stare constantly.

And, the girly machines stereotype is very ignorant. I’m a girl, and I use mostly freeweights when I workout. I don’t use “girly” machines, because most of them are useless for me, it’s not like i’m obligated to use them because i’m a woman and it’s not like you shouldn’t use them because your men.

24 Rick June 30, 2008 at 7:23 am

Love the list!

BTW, I laughed at #10. I thought it was funny.

25 SoyNinja June 30, 2008 at 7:48 am

I’m going to have to agree with the other people and say that the “girly machines” are not girly. Personally I think a more prominent unmanly issue I see at the gym is those awful short shorts guys are wearing. Some guys at the gym also seem to think it’s the 80′s.

26 Jay June 30, 2008 at 8:09 am

I’m not surprised that the SoyNinja doesn’t think those machines are girly.There’s nothing more girly than eating estrogen producing soy. Stick with whey protein boys.

27 Smacky June 30, 2008 at 8:38 am

Ignore rule #7. Women initiate flirting with me all the time at the gym, so fair is fair. There’s nothing wrong with a friendly “hello”. You can tell by her response whether she’s interested or not. I’ll agree that you shouldn’t treat the gym like a meat market, but a real man meets women wherever he finds them.

By the way, I wrote a similar article on Arthur’s Hall in May. I won’t go so far as to claim plagiarism, but this article is remarkably similar to mine. Judge for yourself:

Be a real man, visit [url]http://www.arthurshall.com[/url]

28 Ethan June 30, 2008 at 8:45 am

a weight machine is “girly” to a man who is insecure in his own manhood.

29 Brett McKay June 30, 2008 at 8:55 am

@Smacky- First, I’ve never been to your forum. Second, I don’t see the similarity. Third, I find it laughable that you presume we copied you just because we created a list of common sense gym etiquette rules. Google “gym etiquette.” You’re not the only one who has created such a list. Did these people copy you, too? Probably not because your list doesn’t even show up in the search results.

30 dadshouse June 30, 2008 at 11:30 am

My Cali workout tip of the week – cycle and run outdoors, instead of hitting the gym. Vitamin D is good for you! Plus, if you find a good running trail, there are hottie women galore. It’s totally fine chatting up another runner or cyclist. 10K races and half-marathons are great places to meet fit women.

31 santa June 30, 2008 at 11:54 am

Great list. Here are some I would add.
11. Don’t start shouting “C’mon harder man, push harder!” when spotting another guy… in fact don’t say anything.
12. Don’t take your shirt off and sweat all over the equipment while leaving your chest and back hairs everywhere. (I’ve seen guys do this while I was college.)
13. Do not wear flip flops in the gym. I saw a guy wearing crocs one time and that would count as flip flops. In fact no man should ever be wearing crocs.
14. Keep profanity on the down low. I don’t care how much you can or can’t lift. Swearing won’t make you lift more.
15. Wash your gym clothes regularly. Working out next to Mr. Armpit Odor is not fun.

32 MaCayn June 30, 2008 at 12:24 pm

I hope the joke regarding #10 extended to your comment regarding leg extension/leg curl. While you shouldn’t only do those, they hit the muscle differently than other exercises. Follow squats or leg press with leg extensions to emphasize different heads of the quad. Follow good mornings or deadlift which use the hamstring help straighten the body with leg curls that work the hamstring by bending the leg.

Not trying to break rule #8, but its important to distinguish between using only leg extension/leg curl and using them to completely work the muscle

33 Jaye June 30, 2008 at 2:25 pm

No ‘MAN’ has to bother himself with listing such an idiotic reference to ‘girlie’ machines. If a person wants to use a particular machine for a particular purpose, and has reason to do so, then those who are chastising him for it are childish and not ‘MEN’.

34 Kate June 30, 2008 at 2:46 pm

Who are all these guys passionately defending the hip abductor machine? I have never in my life (and I’ve belonged to a gym for years) seen a man use one. Do they come in really late or early so no one sees them? I mean it’s just one point among many good ones, stop getting so hung up on it.

35 Jon June 30, 2008 at 3:23 pm

Just wanted to tell Captain Obvious he is:

1) Taking the internet too seriously
2) Probably gay
3) In terrible need of a good set of squats and then a good, old fashioned closed-fist beating
4) Taking HIM(her?)SELF wayyyyy too seriously.

Cool post, sorry the internet is full of jack asses.

36 __jym__ June 30, 2008 at 4:08 pm

11. Don’t wear spandex.

37 Bulgaria tourism June 30, 2008 at 4:26 pm

No one likes the giant d-bags at the gym who break these rules.

38 pk June 30, 2008 at 4:41 pm

I would add to this list, please don’t grunt and scream as if giving birth or being backed over by a 1972 Buick. I understand that sometimes a little vocal “oomph” helps and that’s fine, but really shouting/screaming/yodeling like you’ve just been set on fire is not and it’s very annoying to other people.

39 DaveC June 30, 2008 at 5:09 pm

As far as hip abductors/adductors, yes, I do work them. Being a trail ultramarathon runner, they’re necessary and useful (trails are definitely not flat, and definitely not smooth.) Explain to me how doing squats and deadlifts (which I also do) works the adductors and abductors sufficiently?

40 Mags June 30, 2008 at 6:01 pm

Captain Obvious: Um, a COPYRIGHT? Are you serious?

I don’t know what screams “FAIL” more: your “copyright” or the idea that someone would want to claim your spastic, incoherent ideas as their own.

To the author of this post: A-friggin’-Men. Thanks for making my day. :)

41 santa June 30, 2008 at 7:16 pm

@ Captain Obvious: We know you are either a woman or you own and work out with one of those Suzanne Summers ThighMasters. By the way, what kind of man reads those books you mentioned? Did Oprah recommend those to you?

42 MaCayn July 1, 2008 at 6:25 am

DaveC, widen your stance and lower the bar on your back to do a powerlifting squat. This will work adductors as it shifts focus towards the hips and inner leg. Otherwise, try side lunges.
My previous comments weren’t directed towards the adductor/abductor discussion. Only the leg extension/curl commentary.

43 jblaze July 1, 2008 at 6:31 am

Captain obvious = douche

44 bk July 1, 2008 at 1:37 pm

yes . .men have abductors . .no you don’t need to use those machines to work them. in fact you don’t need the machines for ANYTHING unless you’re rehabbing an injury.

45 Kevin July 1, 2008 at 4:21 pm

#11: If free weights work for you and you think that everyone else should use them too, see #8.

No, REALLY–see #8.

46 bk July 2, 2008 at 10:19 am

Ok. so if we’re going to go with number 8 as the default rule, even in an outside-of-the-gym discussion of exercise/gym behavior .. .well, then . . this whole list is pretty much BS, unsolicited advice. But then again, by clicking on the link you are soliciting advice (or at least conversation) regarding exercise/gym behavior. I was speaking to ‘need’. You can do anything you want in the gym. But you flat-out don’t need to use weight machines (specifically weight machines, I’m not talking about stationary bikes, treadmills, rowing machines, etc) to train for any activity or sport.

47 Brett July 2, 2008 at 10:50 am


Yeah #8 was supposed to mean “don’t give me unsolicited advice while I’m working out,” not “don’t give advice ever.” I just don’t want to be interrupted when I’m at the gym, in the zone, and already have a plan. But a blog, which is designed for giving one’s opinion and having discussion/debate, is a perfectly good place to dispense one’s advice. Especially advice like yours, which I wholeheartedly agree with.

48 Christopher July 2, 2008 at 11:55 am

Haha…i’m guilty of #10. But I really just skipped over all the others, I mean, they just seem like common sense.

Great website though…I love it.

49 Kevin July 2, 2008 at 2:28 pm

Of course one should speak their opinions in the comments, I just object to people using this comment thread as an opportunity to ride their hobby horses about how to work out or what to use. Bottom line–if it works for you and is healthy, then it’s good enough no matter what anyone else thinks.

Besides, weight training is just one of those areas where there are 1,000 different ways to get results and 1,000 different opinions on each way. A “for instance” here: just about every day I see some truly buffed guys exhibiting crappy form, jerking weights around, completely violating warnings against using momentum in their reps. And yet they are getting results. Bully for them. So is it right for me to say here that EVERYONE SHOULD do a 3-count or a 5-count in their positive and negative reps, applying constant effort and not using body momentum? Whatever. Plenty don’t and get results.

50 Jay July 4, 2008 at 7:20 pm

Ahh yes! The Hip Abductor machine, well gentlemen this “Girlie Machine” is actually one of the best machines to train for Snow Skiing. Anything to strengthen the hips will go a long way toward endurance on the slopes.

51 William Shears July 6, 2008 at 8:12 pm

I think that, well, the world’s olympic teams, would disagree with your assessment of the hip machine. But WTF do they know.

52 Personal Trainer Scott White July 10, 2008 at 8:09 pm

Sweet page, cool site.. keep it up.

53 Nomercy89 July 15, 2008 at 8:36 am

I read the list.
I like it. It’s concise and to the point, and gives great advice.
I read number 10 and I laughed…….why so serious people? The guy’s just adding a nice joke… it conveys nothing about misogyny or says anything bad about men or women…..it’s a bloody joke!
Keep up the good work Brett!

54 Morphy July 16, 2008 at 9:12 am

I loved the list, and I laughed at #10, which was obviously intended for comic relief. If you want to isolate those, then go for it. Personally I deadlift and squat.

55 ryan July 17, 2008 at 11:51 am

as for number 10, those machines are bad for you anyway

56 Joey July 23, 2008 at 8:20 am

Well, I would agree with all but #10. I would consider myself pretty damn fit, and I do squats religiously and before any isolating exercises. I have found that adding the “girly” adductor and abductor exercises actually helps improve my squat. And no, I haven’t injured myself. Why do the authors have to ruin a perfectly good set of rules of etiquette with an unenlightened, pointless attempt at a punchline that will inevitably coax the insecure and weak-minded into avoiding a perfectly valid exercise all for the sake of perpetuating an archaic (if not prehistoric) notion of “manliness”?

Coherent enough for you?

57 ferd August 2, 2008 at 7:28 pm

Don’t shave naked in front of the mirror with your junk pressed up against the sink where other people wash their hands. Why do you shave at the GYM anyway ?

58 daniel August 8, 2008 at 1:25 pm

wow, someone is kind of a gym nazi

extra ha ha on #7 – it’s called day-game. it may not work for you, that’s ok. i guess we shouldn’t talk to girls at the geocery store, park, or other non-night-club-place either because they aren’t dressed up and are busy their chores.

59 tony August 9, 2008 at 8:47 pm

Nice list.

Hitting on women is a little different than saying hi or speak to them.
Someone needs to market a device that makes cell phones blow up when used. My gawd, how did we every live, function and conduct business before we had cell phones going off constantly. As for the guy that said its ok, some of us multi-task, better add self-care to your lists of tasks. Having a pavlovian response (immediately stop something important? (your health) to answer a cell phone is not a good thing. Slave to a machine 24/7…

Good list of common sense, which these days seems to be quite rare!

60 Dan August 10, 2008 at 6:24 pm

Rule #11: Don’t walk between the cable machine when someone is using it. It’s a piece equipment, not a friggin’ arch for the king (or queen) to pass through on his way to the throne.

My $0.02

61 Paul August 16, 2008 at 8:55 pm

In a lot of cases, those “girly” machines fine tune stabilizer muscles that are neglected by other machines and free weights. Don’t make them your primary workout, but don’t be afraid to use them as a condiment, either.

62 steve August 18, 2008 at 4:59 am

#10 is bogus. Per my observations, usually the fattest, most out of shape men DON’T ever use those machines. The place I go to has a few football players that are in phenomenal shape. They use those machines in addition to free weights. Avoiding an exercise because its “girly” is just plain idiotic. Even if there is a slight benefit, the exercise is useful.

63 DangerDan September 12, 2008 at 11:53 am

With respect to #6: “Don’t drop the weight.”

There are certain instances where “dropping” dumbells is the appropriate way to end a movement. Consider a heavy dumbell chest press. I have competed in bodybuilding competitions and consider myself a fairly strong guy. I work up to using 130-140lb dumbells for chest press. When I finish my set I am laying on with my back on the bench and a 140lb dumbell in each hand. I have two options for lowering the weight to the ground, (1)drop it on the rubber mats that compose the floor in the dumbell area or (2) try to slowly set the dumbells on the ground.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I would have more than a little trouble doing a reverse curl to lower the weight to the ground slowly. More importantly, trying to lower the weights slowly risks a bicep tear or shoulder dislocation.

I completely agree that it is absurd to drop a weight that you can safely lower to the ground, say anything under a 100lb dumbell and I agree with you in that respect. For the guys who lift the big boy weights, dropping dumbells is part of the program.

64 James October 27, 2008 at 10:12 am

As a personal trainer I love this list. I would have loved to have responded sooner if I had found it earlier. In one of my past gyms we actually had these posted on on the walls (perhaps you copied them from us too, huh? LOL). As a LONG time gym goer it just surprises me that people who are gyms rats don’t know/care about the etiquette of the gym.

I did want to add two things for future finders of this post:

1.) Be aware that everyone has a game plan of their own.

Just because you don’t share it doesn’t mean that you have to criticize what other people are working towards. Machines, dumbells, cables, etc. all have their purpose or else they wouldn’t be in the gym. If you have questions seek out a trainer. If the gym doesn’t have one find one online.

2.) Please get advice from a qualified trainer.

Every Joe Blow in the gym feels like they have to share their wisdom (true or otherwise) with people in the gym. Sadly, I have seen people waste their time and effort at best and get hurt at worst from that junk. Let the trainers do the training; that’s their job. If thers is no trainer, ask if the person would like to hear your advise. If they give you the opening let them have it. Otherwise keep it to yourself.

Keep up the awesome work!

~ J

65 Kyle December 7, 2008 at 11:29 am

Number 10 is hilarious, people need to get a sense of humor, isnt that one of the manly skills, dont go on this site if all your looking for is a chance to be offended and speak out against “ignorant” people. The workout rules are great and I agree with everyone of them especially the hover rule, I hate when people due that.

66 buffalojd December 11, 2008 at 4:08 pm

THANK YOU! I am going to send this to the owner of the gym I use.

#1 is my favorite – and deserves top honors.
It annoys the snot out of me when the weights aren’t racked. Jeez – how hard is it?! (Apparently – very!)

#5 is spot on – I would add – please don’t use the wipe down towels as your personal brow wiping towel. Gross.

#10 – I got a good chuckle out of it – thanks – I get the spirit!

I am really glad I found this site!

67 Tim Lebsack March 27, 2009 at 9:14 am

Like many of you, I think I’ve seen it all while exercising, both at a gym or elsewhere, but newbies make these mistakes until they learn proper behavior.

The only non-gentlemanly behavior I can recall at the moment is the fellow who always applied cologne before his work-out. Olfactory overload, towards the good or the bad, sends me to the other side of the room.

68 Austin March 28, 2009 at 1:10 pm

Great list overall. I spent last summer working on staff at my local gym and #8 is one everyone needs to follow. I laughed at #10, although I can think of one exception when a man should use those machines. After messing up my knee (combination of poor biomechanics, over training, and just general strain on the patella tendon), two different physical therapists had me use the abductor machines. No idea how much they specifically did, but the PT as a whole worked wonders. Those muscles may also by useful when wrestling a wild bull to the ground for a a manly steak.

69 rob June 13, 2009 at 8:30 pm

this list is long overdue and well appreciated…

70 James July 1, 2009 at 2:06 pm

Rule #7… Don’t hit on women.

Ha. Yes so true. Your primary goal and objective is to get that awesome workout and no more no less.

But… what if she is the one hitting on you and you are interested and somewhat interested?

71 James July 1, 2009 at 2:29 pm

whoops typo… that should say

interested or somewhat interested.

72 Scott July 15, 2009 at 6:55 pm

The “girly” machines are great for athletes who need lateral strength, such as football players and especially basketball players. Believe me, I have been on the receiving end of many a quizzical look or off-handed remark. Say what you will, those machines are useful.

73 Murchada July 29, 2009 at 9:30 am

Don’t work out directly in front of the dumbbells!

74 Brakeman July 29, 2009 at 5:12 pm

I’m a member of a US Olympic Team. The majority of our workouts are based around cleans, snatch, squats, dead lifts. However we also use machines, including the adductor machine.

is it girlie? Nope. Do I care if other people think it is? Nope. Has it helped to get me to the winter olympic games twice in my career? You bet.

75 tomas August 10, 2009 at 11:44 pm

Great set of rules, I would love to see more people follow them. I would add just one more:


i was spotting for my roommate who had some heavy weight on the bar. some punk kid tries to slide by between racks and bumps the bar, he almost drops it. just freakin stupid.

76 k2000k August 27, 2009 at 1:20 am

#11 Don’t focus on what other peoples are doing, focus on your workout.

#12 Do a full rep, half reps, such as a half rep bench or squat, do nothing to build muscle or strength and can even lead you down the road to injuries. If you cannot do the full rep for the prescribed number of reps then the weight is too heavy for you. There is nothing unmanly admitting something is too tough and adjusting your workout accordingly. It is unmanly to let pride get the better of you and do more than you should.

77 Athene September 6, 2009 at 10:25 am

As a girl- and a girlie, macabre, free weight using one at that… I truely appreciate your list- I am always tempted to go use the weight machines just because of the guys that are using the free weights: their’s I’m lifting 800 lbs and you can tell by my loud sex grunts and faces guy (who always weighs like 130lbs). Stinky sweaty dripping guy with no towel, ever. The “helpful guy” telling everyone they need to lift more weight. And my personal favorite- the leerer. He may look like he’s doing squats, but his eyes are saying something dumb like “nice pants, they would look better on my floor” while his tounge protrudes slightly. Ewwww.

78 Larry Lee October 2, 2009 at 6:59 am

To William Shears,

Just the fact that you go by William and not Bill explains why you don’t ‘get’ the spirit of this website. Move along now Billy and play with the other Nancy’s in the crochet room. Leave the weight lifting to the men folk.

79 Jake November 20, 2009 at 12:27 pm

Once saw number 6 in action. Guy dropped a 110# dumbbell on another poor fella’s foot, just shy of the ankle… needless to say, even after the victim was able to return to the gym regularly several weeks later, they didn’t work out together for a while.

80 Nathan November 26, 2009 at 7:50 am

One thing that really gets me is when (typically younger guys, older men not so much) people shout a battlecry when lifting heavy weights. A few grunts are understandable when your putting stress on your body but yelling like a Barbarian is rediculous. No one wants to hear it and no one is impressed when you do it. Only thing that makes that worse is when your bros are there doing the same thing and they’re not even lifting, just spotting/watching.

81 Kate January 16, 2010 at 7:36 pm

#11 – Don’t wear clothes you’ve previously sweated in. They don’t get less smelly after they’ve dried for a day or two in the laundry basket. YOU may think previously sweaty clothes don’t stink, but once you start sweating in them again, believe me, those of us working out around you will suffer for your lack of olfactory sensitivity. Clean clothes only, please!

82 Chris H May 18, 2010 at 12:59 pm

Couldn’t agree more with the caveman like yelling when lifting weights! Rediculous. How about no staring at yourself in the mirror while you work out like you are Mr. Universe- cuz you’re not!! No dancing to music. Quit walking around like you own the place or could beat everyone’s ass- cuz you can’t. Wear proper gym attire, no one want’s to see that much of you. Quit socializing/hitting on/staring at women (you’re creeping them out dude).

Work out hard, clean up after yourself, straighten up the plates properly, and then go home.

83 Scott May 18, 2010 at 1:11 pm

with AOM, I thought that I would read something like:

#1 – Perform body weight exercises like pull-ups and push-ups. Whenever possible, use a medicine ball, punching bag, kettle ball, or some other time-tested and manly apparatus.

84 Ashley May 18, 2010 at 1:56 pm

Seriously?! Why is everyone so defensive? This article obviously wasn’t written to attack you all, so you can calm down. It’s a joke – haha? – You remember what laughing feels like, right? Laughter and having a good attitude are even better for you than exercise, so enjoy the article and laugh!! I loved the article, and I definitely laughed at #10 (not because I seriously, whole-heartedly agree, but because it’s funny!)!!! Everyone, have a great day! SMILE!!

85 Stephen May 18, 2010 at 4:48 pm

“Nothing is unmanlier than a man whose focus is somewhere else and not on developing and strengthening his body”

I reckon if someone’s mind was focused on, say, curing cancer while they were at the gym I probably wouldn’t hold that against them.

86 john May 19, 2010 at 12:26 am


Remember kids, only compound exercises with heavy weight and regular cardio will make you MANLY like me… so eat your oatz and do your squats.

87 Angelina Cruz May 26, 2010 at 9:04 pm

If only more people could hear about this.

88 Justin June 11, 2010 at 1:17 pm

@Chris H

I would say that “How about no staring at yourself in the mirror while you work out like you are Mr. Universe” is a little far…

Mirrors in the gym are supposed to be there so that you can watch your form and technique while lifting. Not quite sure if you’re hitting parallel while squatting? Take a look in the mirror!

89 Personal Trainer CT June 30, 2010 at 12:50 pm

Aren’t these the truth!!! Especially about the cell phones these days! Keep-em coming man, good work!

90 Michael Richardson July 29, 2010 at 6:00 am

These are excellent points, people are being way too butthurt about number ten, its not sexist; rather, it just says you’re better off working all muscles at once than isolating one or two.

If ever I own a gym once day, albeit unlikely, I’ll be sure to print this article off and broadcast it to all my members.

91 Nick January 29, 2013 at 5:52 pm

As a cross country dirt bike racer, the hip machines do offer a little benefit. Lunges and squats work those muscles in a more anatomical way.

Can we make a rule #11? How about no more of those douchey sleeveless shirts that “show off” your chest/stomach? Nobody really wants to see that…

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