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5 Basic Rules of Weightlifting Gym Etiquette


bservance of basic gym etiquette ensures that all lifters have an optimal training environment. Understanding a few standard rules allows lifters to concentrate on the training experience without unnecessary distractions.

5 Basic Rules of Weightlifting Gym Etiquette
We’ve all committed a social faux pas more times than we care to remember.

Embarrassing moments when we unintentionally offend others is uncomfortable for everyone. It’s especially deflating when the situation could have been avoided altogether. A general code of conduct understood by everyone decreases the chances of any social awkwardness.

Similarly, a simple understanding of gym etiquette makes you a better teammate and a small part of an overall better setting for lifting.

5 Basic Rules of Weightlifting Gym Etiquette:

  1. SightlinesWalking across a lifter’s sightline as they’re performing a lift is the quickest way to become “That Guy/Gal.” Walk behind them or wait off to the side until the lifter has completed their attempt. Same basic idea follows when training next to another lifter. If a neighboring lifter is taking a lift, wait until they’re done before taking yours.
  2. Bar Loading – Use as few plates as possible. Avoid continuously loading more 10′s and 15′s on the bar when you can easily make the same weight using two larger plates. Larger plates absorb the force of being dropped much better than thinner plates.
  3. Less Talk, More Lift – Light chatter and encouraging words are completely acceptable in a typical training environment. Excessive chatting and distracting yelling and hollering is not.
  4. Clean Up – Pick up after yourself. Used tape in the trash. Shoes, wraps, sleeves or straps returned to their proper storage location. Bars and weights put away. All these make for a perfect end to a hard training session.
  5. Coaches Coach – If another lifter asks for your opinion on what you saw in their lift, cool. If you offer up unsolicited coaching advice to another lifter, not cool. It’s best to direct all technical questions to a coach.

Hopefully these guidelines have given you an idea of how to make your training experience a more positive one. Most importantly, it’s given you better insight into what is expected of a good club teammate.

Are these rules helpful? Do you think you have some that should be added to the list?

Weigh in with a comment below and share with us.


  1. Nice list! Many people tend to forget these basics. This is a good reminder.

    • Thanks for the feedback. Maybe we can draft up a final list and then post them in a visible location.

      • A couple posters hanging at the box would awesome.

  2. Excellent! I have learned many of these lessons the hard way, but they are all so important for safety and to build a cohesive team. I would like to add that weightlifting is a sport on its own. While we lift together we should stay focused on the task. This is a great reminder. Thanks.

  3. Thanks for the reminder!

  4. Get me me the list and we”ll print it! BIG ! Coaches coach.. Clean up and talk less lift more! BOOM!

    • Will do Coach!

  5. I didn’t know that eyeline one… nice.

  6. Wow, this is helpful! Now I feel like “that girl” on a couple of these. I definitely know now :) Good stuff for everyone to know!

  7. Guilty of some of those things. I will fix them. BUT! I never walk in front of someone when they are completing a lift.

    • We’ve all been there and violated these rules. Posting them in the gym will just give us all a behavioral compass so that we have as great a team environment as possible. Really appreciate everyone’s feedback!

  8. It’s weightlifting not golf. There’s a difference between rules and personal preferences.

    • Thanks for stopping by Dale. Actually golf and Olympic weightlifting (the sport for which we train at Empire Barbell) are very much alike. They require years and years of practice to gain any type of proficiency. Snatching a 200 lb. barbell or driving a golf ball straight for 200 yards is going to take some time learning fundamentals for most novice practitioners. Like a golf swing, weightlifting technique requires intentional practice of the various positions of the movement. That kind of intentional practice is a whole lot easier to do in a team environment when everyone observes an understood code of conduct.

      (Read more here if you’ve got the time:

      If you can focus and learn highly neuromuscularly demanding skills in a chaotic environment, I commend your powers of concentration. Above all, I hope you’re in the gym training and improving.

  9. Did you ever make an actual poster of these? Because we want one (by ‘we’ I mean Charlottesville Strength).

    • Hey there Elizabeth! The poster is in production. We can let you know when it’s finished and send one out to you.

  10. If someone is using the bar, have the decency to ask them if you can use it to warm up.


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