In recent years weight-room training has evolved. Weight rooms were once thought to be a place only for those trying to win body-building competitions. Now people young and old, male and female can be found in the weight room with varying goals. Some may want to increase bone mass in an effort to prevent osteoporosis while others are more concerned with the cosmetic benefits, such as toning.
Regardless of how big a weight room is, it can get crowded at peak times, delaying your workout. To make everyone’s workout efficient and effective, it is important that all members play a role creating a friendly environment. To do that the IDEA Health and Fitness Association recommends following “The 12 Rules of Etiquette.”
Some rules include not bringing unnecessary items onto the training floor, like book bags or coats, allowing others to use a machine in between your sets, putting the equipment away when you are done (especially weights), following posted time limits and wiping off the equipment when you are done using it. Following these rules will keep workouts moving and the gym organized for all.
Types of Weights
In a weight room there are several types of weights to choose from. Each offers its own benefits. Fixed-motion machines move in one plane. An example of a fixed motion machine exercise is a leg extension. During this exercise you can only move the weight up and down.
Another type are cable machines. They use a pulley and cable system with a broader range of motion. You can typically move the cable in any direction, as the movement is only limited by the length of the cable. An example of a cable exercise is a lat pull down. Using a cable requires stability from supporting muscles, enhancing your workout.
There are also free weights. When using free weights movement is not constricted by a machine. It takes great control and stability to perform an exercise as intended without moving into a new plane of motion. An example of an exercise is a chest press with a barbell.
Beyond weights and weight machines, there are other pieces of gym equipment that can enhance a weight training routine. Using a stability ball to perform exercises such as a chest press or push up helps to promote stability training.
Weighted medicine balls are also an effective training tool. Performing exercises such as chest passes or a lift and chop help to develop speed strength.
Using proper exercise form is one necessary measure to prevent injury while training in a weight room. However, improper form has become common practice. In fact, the American Council of Exercise lists bad form on its “Top Ten Mistakes People Make at the Gym.”
Every exercise has a proper technique; it is up to you to learn the proper form from a fitness professional or reputable exercise library. Using the correct form is the best way to prevent injury.
Following posted rules and etiquette is not just the proper thing to do, but it is also the safe thing to do. For example washing down equipment before and after using them can help prevent the spread of disease and bacteria. It is important that you follow all safety precautions to prevent injury or even death. For one, make sure you do not perform exercises or use weights beyond your conditioning. Use a spotter when one is available or safety mechanisms that act as a spotter when you are working out alone. The Smith machine for example, has a block that prevents the bar from dropping below a certain point. It can be used during a chest press to prevent it from crushing your chest if the weight becomes too heavy.
About this Author
Jessica DeLisa graduated from Drexel University in 2006 with a bachelor\’s degree in communication. To explore her interest in fitness she became a certified personal trainer in 2007. She has been writing since 2009, including for the publication she started, “Fit In NJ Magazine.”