Gym Etiquette 101: Respectful Boxing Gym Culture

FightCamp - Boxing Gym Etiquette

Want to learn proper gym etiquette? Discover the basic boxing gym rules, from training with a coach, sparring etiquette, and gym equipment usage.

Published: January 25, 2023

Topics: Tips & Technique, Training

Author: Iain Mackenzie

Boxing Gym Culture

Boxing gyms can be intimidating places to walk into if you’ve never been to one: everyone knows how to fight, and there’s always that one guy sweating in full sauna gear hitting a bag for 3 hours straight in the back of the room (pro tip, he does not want to talk), and depending on your experience level you might not really know what you’re looking at with a lot of the equipment. But never fear, I’ve got you covered. I have spent the last 3 years of my life steeped in gym culture and learning all the ins and outs of proper boxing gym etiquette. 

What Are the Basic Boxing Gym Rules? 

Yes Coach, No Coach

This is the big one. Boxing gym culture is all about discipline and respect, and if you don’t show that respect to the coaches it will really rub people wrong. If the coach is twenty and you’re 40? Yes coach, no coach. If the coach seems really laid back? Yes coach, no coach. This isn’t an ego trip, even if it seems like it. You call a coach by their title because you’re there to learn from them and in order to learn you have to be willing to show deference to the knowledge of the person teaching you.

Sharing is Caring

A big part of proper gym etiquette, boxing or otherwise, is to not hog the equipment. If there’s only 1 heavy bag, try not to hog it for 12 rounds (unless the coach tells you to). A great way to follow this gym rule is to plan circuit workouts (rotating to a new exercise after 1-2 rounds and simply running the circuit multiple times).

Keep it Clean

Now, this is a big one at my gym especially but it is a basic gym rule in general: when you’ve finished using a piece of equipment, clean it off. Nobody wants to practice clinch drills on a heavy bag dripping with someone else’s sweat. When you finish using something, just give it a quick wipe with a towel before moving on. 

No Killers in Sparring

In most boxing gym workouts you will find yourself sparring. The big boxing gym rule here is don’t show off in sparring. Sparring can be and is very fun, but it's important that you remember that sparring is a practice. Don’t try and take your opponent’s head off, and if you can tell you’re a little above your opponent’s level, take it easy and work your defense. Nobody likes a bully, so work on your technical skills and let them work on their basics. 

Don’t Dump Your Weights

Just as important in a boxing gym as anywhere else. Dumping weights is dangerous to both you and the people around you, and also it just kind of makes you look like a drama queen in a place where at least one person is usually training with a broken something or other (which is a bad idea don’t do that either). If you’ve bitten off more than you can chew of course bail on the weight it's better than an injury, but don’t make it a habit.

Leave the Weightcut Fighter Alone

This is a little piece of proper boxing gym etiquette that is exclusive to combat sports: if you see someone in a sauna suit, and they’ve been hitting the same bag or running on the same treadmill for a long time: leave them alone. They are miserable, tired, hungry, and dehydrated. I promise you, from the bottom of my heart, they do not want encouragement. They want silence so that they can continue to be angry. The only people allowed to talk to the person in the sauna suit are the coach and anyone else currently in a sauna suit. 

The Golden Rule

Gym etiquette is a little weird to get used to and every spot has its own unique quirks, but the basics mostly boil down to sanitation and common courtesy. ‘Do unto others’ is the golden rule here and as long as you follow that one principle you will get along just fine in almost any gym you walk into. 

Train Like a Fighter

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As Mike Tyson said - “FightCamp is the next level of training!” 

Iain Mackenzie

Iain Mackenzie is a licensed amateur boxer. He discovered boxing through karate and saber fencing, and has trained in multiple gyms across Texas, competing in amateur tournaments such as Golden Gloves & the Houston Open.

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