By Brandon Ivey
Brandon is an IFA certified personal trainer and Memorial Northwest resident
Regardless if you are just beginning to work out or its part of your lifestyle, everyone should keep in mind that there are rules to stay safe at the gym. Forgetting any of the basics or not paying attention can hurt you or someone else.
If you are just beginning to work out I would suggest using a Trainer to begin with even if it’s only for a short period of time. A trainer will focus on your goals (strength, stamina, weight loss, etc) and what equipment you should use to achieve your goals. Of course they will set up a routines and schedule of equipment, weights and sets designed for you.
Equally important is your safety and the proper use of equipment. If they tell you that you’re doing something wrong take their advice. No trainer wants a member or their clients to injury their self or someone else. Another thought, no matter how much weight you’re working out with it’s always best to work with a spotter. I’ve done this myself, as some individuals will over do a workout by not pacing their self, not resting between sets or lack of fluids. You then run the risk of muscle fatigue and that’s when you need help from spotter or someone to assist in completing your set.
I see this every day when someone fails to use weight clip to secure weights on the bar. It’s there for a reason, your safety, and everyone should use the clips. You never know while doing your workout you might lose your balance and the chance the weight discs could slip off if not using the clips. Trust me there is nothing more embarrassing than the crash of weights slipping off a barbell and hitting the ground. The greater fear is injury to you or others around you. Always unload the barbell weights as evenly as possible. Make sure the weight is always balanced especially with old school racks. Always put the weights you are using back on the rack never putting the heavier ones in front of the lighter ones.
I also see individuals that want to bulk up muscle faster by lifting heavy weight to fast and not taking the time to properly achieve their goal. You cannot create muscle overnight. It takes time and everyone should realize that it is a process of working at your goal the proper way. I suggest lifting with the same weight for at least 4 to 6 weeks then gradually adding more weight as you progress. Keep in mind that the more weight you lift the higher the risk of injury.
I observed that most people go to the gym mostly wanting to use the treadmill. Simple exercise, right, just turn it on, pick a speed and start walking, jogging or flat out running. As simple as that sounds treadmill, can be dangerous and you need to follow a few rules. Always keep your shoelaces tied tightly and run in the center of the treadmill keeping your eyes focused and straight ahead. Beware of how near you are to the end of the treadmill. A common injury is going off the back end of the treadmill. Always wear close toed shoes, tennis shoes, especially on the treadmill because you never know when you might hit the front edge of the treadmill with your shoe. There is a red stop key for your safety. If you stand on the side of the platform frame and the treadmill is in motion take caution to the speed before you get back on it.
When doing bench presses don’t make the mistake of tucking your thumbs under the bar. The thumb always goes around the bar in a proper grip because if you don’t hold the barbell right it could slip and crush or damage a vital organ. While using a machine weight be careful when you pull the pin from the stack of the weights. If there are overhead attachments the sudden removal of the pin could cause the attachment to drop on you. Remember these safety tips to save yourself from some SERIOUS injury or embarrassment.