Wright: Taking care of exercise equipment
The Fitness Trail
Whether you are the owner of exercise equipment or you workout at a health club, fitness center or gym, understanding how to take proper care of exercise equipment is important to ensure that the equipment is safe, effectively addresses your fitness needs and lasts for the long haul. While there are many types of exercise equipment, for the purposes of this discussion, the focus will be upon cable/pulley—multi-gym equipment which is known as selectorized equipment in the exercise equipment industry.
Selectorized equipment is generally referred to as such because we select the position of the cable/pulley, the attachment to be utilized and the weight increment on the weight stack. When properly operated and maintained, this equipment may last for many years, providing access to hundreds of exercises for every major muscle group of the body.
On the other side of the spectrum, there are those that may misunderstand how to use this equipment safely and effectively leading to potential injury, both to the user and the equipment. This week check out the five fundamentals of taking care of selectorized equipment which includes operation and maintenance to prolong the life of the equipment and your body! As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.
Fundamental #1: Never slam the weights on the stack of selectorized equipment! First of all this indicates you do not have control over the load you are attempting to lift which is unsafe for you and ineffective. Our motto is that the only sound we should hear when you are performing your exercises on this type of equipment is the sound of your breathing, grunting and groaning. The weight stack should be quiet. If you are touching plates between repetitions, then you are probably too close to the anchor point leading to poor range of motion and lack of effectiveness. If you are slamming or dropping the load, for whatever reason, please stop this practice today. This literally may lead to the cable snapping, the plates being chipped or cracked.
Fundamental #2: Slow down! Fast tempos are usually a result of two elements—one, the user is not using a full range of motion (check out last week’s column on ROM) and they probably have too heavy a load so they are attempting to utilize momentum to achieve that ROM. Slow, controlled repetitions of two counts each direction is generally recommended for safe/effective muscular strength training.
Fundamental #3: Prior to using the equipment, check to make certain that the cable/pulley is set at the proper position for that specific exercise, that the weight increment is one that you know you are capable of safely lifting and that the attachment is appropriate for that exercise. If you do not understand how to properly utilize this equipment, then ask your fitness professional before use.
Fundamental #4: Regarding maintenance, follow the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance program to ensure the equipment remains safe, functions optimally and to increase the equipment’s longevity. *If your weight plates are sticking, you are long overdue for maintenance!
Fundamental #5: Regularly check the cables/pulleys to make certain there is no indication of wear or tear. If there is any breach, it is time to replace that part and do so with a certified technician.
Jackie Wright is the owner/manager of Mountain Life Fitness, LLC located in Granby, Colorado. She may be reached at her website at http://www.mtnlifefitness.com, her email at email@example.com and her Facebook page at Mountain Life Fitness.
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