Gym Etiquette Handbook

Your coaches want to provide you with a fun and safe environment while training. To ensure this, please read and keep the following in mind while training.

“Gym Etiquette is just as important as proper form in lifting and nutrition to the success of your gym.”

The Basics

Arrive on time…: This should be a given. Try to be at the gym 10-15 mins before class begins. Its a huge distraction when someone come into class late while coach is going over the workout.

Yes… sometimes it can’t be avoided but if you are always late for the 4:30 class maybe you need to switch to the 5:30 class.

Be aware of your surroundings: We often get de-sensitized to what actually goes on at the gym. There are really heavy objects being lifted, dropped, swung, and thrown. It’s really kind of dangerous. So steer clear of the floor where athletes actively lifting if possible. Don’t walk behind someone doing back squats…or burpees…or over head work. You might get a barbell dropped on your foot or kicked in the legs and who wants that?.

Don’t steal other people’s equipment: Make sure the area you are looking to workout in hasn’t been claimed already by someone who is getting a barbell, plates etc… One way to to avoid this is to ask “Hey is this someone’s weight belt on the platform?” When you’re setting up for a chipper (or any WOD that requires numerous pieces of equipment), you try to set up your area with the gear in such a way to make everything easily accessible as you switch from movement to movement. And this can even extend to the pull-up bar—especially if you need to attach a band. Don’t just assume someone isn’t setting up that space, you might get an ear full. So when some fool takes your wall ball steals your bar in the middle of a workout, you have every right to get pissed. It should NEVER, EVER happen.

Come to class: For newbies, make sure you’re staying consistent. There’s a myriad of reasons we have class — for starters, you’re less likely to cherry pick yourself towards the things you’re good at; you’ll get some competition; and no matter how experienced you are, you still need coaching and you can still stand to work on the basics. If you have extra things you’re working on, most gyms have “Open Gym” time or addional space like Barbell Clubs else where in the facility away from the active class

Put it back where you found it: If you use something, put it away when you’re done. And while you’re at it, put it in the right place. Pretty simple? This includes bumper plates, kettlebells, barbells, dumbbells, foam rollers, jump ropes, lacrosse balls, abmats, yoga mats, bands… I can go on and on.

If you ask to borrow an athlete’s gear—give it back when you’re done: “Hey Man you do have a roll of tape”, only to find that they keep passing it off to every single person who suddenly needs to wrap themselves up like a mummy? If you borrow some gear, give it back when YOU are done or better yet go BUY your own .

Have Fun: yes, you’re going to work harder than you thought possible. Will it hurt? Probably but So what? Have fun with it, enjoy the expirence and you will surpass your expectation if you keep a positive attitude.

Respecting the zone: Do not (and I repeat DO NOT) walk behind them, in front of them, or anywhere close to a fellow member as they prepare for a lift. This is crucial for safety purposes, as well as the focus of the athlete. If someone is preparing for a major lift, and they need to bail, the last thing a coach wants to see happen is the bar strike an athlete standing too close, or worse yet have an athlete fall back on to someone else’s equipment.

Olympic lifting, power lifting or just anything that requires moving an obscene type of weight, can be mentally tough. A break in concentration – from a spatially unaware or (even worse) an inconsiderate individual can literally be the difference between a successful or failed lift. And as athletes we are all too familiar with the disappointment that accompanies a failed lift.

Sharing is caring: A gym is a shared space – and I apologise for using the ‘community’ card again – but having some spatial awareness and consideration of your fellow members will only serve to make your box a better place. Consider it your ‘gift’ back to your box community, always seek to share spaces and equipment.

The Gym & Equipment

Cleanliness is next to godliness

Whether it’s sweat, spit, tears, blood or vomit you’ve shed on the equipment, wipe it down, clean it up and put it away. Taking the time to maintain your box’s equipment will ensure its longevity and rather then replace mistreated equipment, good maintenance by members will likely allow the box to invest in cool new toys for their members!

Chalk: is useful, even necessary. It can also be very messy. Use as much as you need, but there is no need to be a chalk whore and chalk up to your elbows, knees, wrist, ankles and t-shirt.

Please keep the excess inside the chalk bucket. And remember, this shit ain’t body paint!

Bring things to the coaches attention: If you notice that equipment is broken, lights are out, there’s no toilet paper, tell your coach so they can do something about it.


DO NOT drop empty/unloaded barbells: Have you heard what it sounds like?! Not only is it annoying, but it is bad for the barbell. The rubber bumper plates absorb impact. Without them, the collars and bearings of the barbell get ruined.

Ghost riding the Barbell: Ghost riding is the act of completing a rep and then just letting the bar fall from overhead, the front, or behind without any guidance or attempt to control it. This is important because dumbbells, kettlebells and barbells with thin plates can bounce when dropped from overhead and ricochet into yourself and other athletes. While it is very satisfying to hear the crash of the weights against the floor, try to reserve the sensation for the strictly heavy lifts.

Ghost riding a bar is generally done with a willful disregard to the maintenance of the equipment and any possible injury to one’s self or others around.

Do not drop kettlebells and dumbells…if you can help it…especially from overhead. We drop weights for safety, not for fun or out of laziness. We know you’re tired, but I find it hard to believe that you don’t have enough energy to safely lower a 53 lb kettlebell down to the ground under control. Again, bumper plates absorb impact. Dumbells will break and kettlebells will leave gouges in the rubber matting. Not to mention they can bounce if you drop them hard enough…so spare your toes the possible pain and injury.

Plyo boxes: DO NOT drag or slam boxes, especially the wooden boxes. They won’t last as long and come apart at the seams when dragged. They also make a really annoying noise that I equate to nails on a chalkboard.

Basically, respect the equipment. Equipment is expensive, and the more it has to be replaced, the more you are going to get charged. And you don’t want that do you?

Your Attitude

Be Nice…Introduce Yourself: It is called a COMMUNITY for a reason. Smile, say hello and introduce yourself to new people.

There is no better feeling than entering a CrossFit gym and having existing members introduce themselves. – we’ve all been there and we all know walking into a new experience can be scary.

And who knows, venturing out of your own comfort zones by partnering up with a new member could always lead to a new friendship or even better – fresh competition!

Don’t complain: Complaining about a workout or throughout a workout doesn’t make sense, I mean come on you are paying to be there, if it’s such a pain in the ass….. Why come? If you are going to complain so much don’t bother showing up, it’s distracting to everyone around you.

Don’t be uncoachable! You are paying for a service and expertise from an individual that’s #1 goal is to make you better and keep you safe. Watching a youtube/Instagram video on how to perform a movement better is great, in that you are trying to better yourself but you have to understand your coach has been there watching you move for 1000’s of reps, don’t disregard their input because they are not a games competitor or angry Russian Olympic lifter! Along with this is please don’t argue with your COACH! You are paying them to coach you so listen to what they say. I understand we get frustrated at times but if you don’t respect your coaches then what are your goals at that particular box.

Be humble: Being a community, we enjoy celebrating PRs. Don’t try to over-shadow other people’s successes with only your own triumphs.

Do not cheat: Don’t cheat yourself, you only cheat yourself of the opportunity to become a better athlete and person. No one cares what your score was, but everyone cares if you cheated. Be honest with yourself and others. It’s not even about the number that goes on the board; it’s about your level of effort and you progress. I don’t expect you to “no-rep” yourself, but strive to perform perfect reps with full range of motion and good mechanics. Do every rep, with solid technique, no matter the time it takes.

There is no honor in cheating, what joy is there in a victory you didn’t earn?

Learn how to count: If you lose count, the next number is always 1. If you know you have trouble keeping count, ask someone to count for you. Pretty simple 1…2….3…If you lose count, round down; not up

Never Say, “I CAN’T”. This is a four-letter cuss word. Self-pity accomplishes nothing and should result in Burpees. You CAN if you believe in yourself and you will try.

Leave your Drama at HOME! and your Ego at the Door: Emotional issues? Don’t bring that baggage into the gym. Use this hour to clear your mind and focus on training. The Gym is your sanctuary and you should leave each training session stronger mentally and physically. Don’t allow your ego to get in the way of training. There is always room for improving and progressing. Remember, there is always someone out there bigger, faster, and stronger than you.

Your Coaches

Going over a WOD: Respect your coaches, let them coach. Have you ever tried speaking in front of a group of people that was talking over you? It’s no fun. Please do not be an asshole, don’t disrupt or delay the class. Once instruction has started, stop talking and listen, even if you know how to do the movement(s). Listen to your coach; they are here to make you a better athlete and you’re not the only one paying for this.

Your health is their priority, not your ego: So you’re think indestructible? Well done, just don’t let that mindset be the downfall to your progression. Be it new to lifting, a new gym or injured, talk to your coaches prior to any workout and let them know of any movement or comfort limitations you may have.

The coach’s priority is to have you workout, push your limits and improve as an athlete – safely and efficiently. It is not to encourage a member to add those 5kg weight plates and lift with poor technique or stroke your ego, you can leave that shit at the door! Poor mechanisms will only allow you to get so far. Eventually that weight will get so heavy or movement so high in volume, that only good mechanics will enable you to safely get through the WOD.

Yes, you can cheer – just don’t coach: You are the Athlete not the Coach… encouragement is expected…coaching other athletes is not accepted. There is a big difference between “C’mon one more rep!” and “You need to… [insert coaching advice].”

Coaching is a job. It may seem like that guy or girl is just up there babbling along but knowledge they are trying to pass along is in valuable. People invest their own time and money to be considered a coach. A great coach invests years and $$$ into learning, refining their skill-set for the benefit of the athlete. A great coach will commit a lifetime. They are coaches, not your personal trainer. Don’t expect them to get your weights or put them away, hold your hand, get you a tissue or call your momma.

So show some respect and let coaches do their job. Chances are when you instruct a fellow athlete to ‘raise your elbows’ or ‘pull under the bar earlier’, your not only undoing your coach’s teaching but also be giving your workout buddy some incorrect cues that may regress their hard work.

If you see something that looks unsafe, grab a coach, that’s what they are there for!