No, I'm not talking about greeting everyone with a curtsy lunge, though if you want to, it's an excellent unilateral exercise that works the glutes pretty well.
No, I'm talking about good ol' fashion things to do and NOT do at the gym. I'm not talking to anyone in particular, except maybe that dude who squats half a ton at my gym and doesn't un-rack the weights.
I appreciate that you think I can lift that much weight. Honest, I do. But mostly I wasn't planning to re-locate 700 pounds of plates as part of my workout. Thanks though.
1. Put things back where they live.
Plates usually live on a plate rack. Dumbbells live in the dumbbell rack. Kettle bells live on the floor or in a rack, and there's a woodpecker living in the tree in my backyard. Clips usually live on a hook or in a box. Depending on the gym and how organized it is, most pieces of equipment have a home. Do your best to figure out the home and tuck things back where you found them; or if you found them out of place, put them back if you know where they go.
Have you ever gone to the gym and spent 15 minutes looking for the one foam roller only to find it wedged behind a treadmill? Yay for using the foam roller, but you just spent an extra 10 minutes wondering around the gym.
2. Don't put your program, water bottle or notebook on a bench that you're not using.
When the gym is slow, I'm plenty guilty of using a plyo box or bench for my workout and water bottle, and it's a habit I've had to break. I need to be mindful of that when the gym is a little busy. Someone from across the gym might be eyeing that bench and you might not realize that they think it's in use. So the best practice is to keep your stuff near you, on the floor.
One of the best things about being at the gym is turning the music on and leaving conversation behind. And like any good introvert, I'm in. I just want to get my lift on and not talk to people. But my gym is small, so if I'm using the one squat rack in the whole place for my five sets of squats, I might be using that rack for 15 or 20 minutes, depending on how often I have to peel myself off the floor from the clusters that Tony Bonvechio prescribes. On more than one occasion, I've shared the rack with someone else during those sets. Most gym goers are actually quite polite, despite the fact that they have their face painted like a WWE wrestler. It's all about communication.
4. Pay attention
It all really comes back to this in the end. Pay attention to what you're doing and what the other gym goers are doing. If it looks like someone is eying up a piece of equipment you're using, take your headphones out and ask if they need to use it.
In between sets of 20 kettle bell swings. Because you just did 20 kettle bell swings. Boom.