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Finding enough room to use workout equipment indoors

Running & Fitness
Sunday, April 26, 2020

With the stay at home restrictions for most people there has to be some modifications to activity. The one that fitness people miss the most is going to the gym for a workout. I have mentioned several exercises and techniques that people can adapt while staying at home. This last week I saw a video on my Facebook page that showed a number of people attempting to work out at home. I have been a personal trainer for many years and for some reason overlooked the fact that there are a number of people that are not familiar with techniques necessary when lifting weights or pulling on exercise cables. You recognize them in a gym setting by the creative way they use a piece of exercise equipment. 

When the beginning fitness people move from the gym to the home several things can go wrong. After watching the video a warning label should have been listed saying, “Caution: Exercising at Home May Be Hazardous to Your Health.” The surroundings in a home are not like the surroundings at a professional gym. The gym has very stable benches, strong cables on weights, space and floor coverings to lift, and equipment is extremely durable. Most furniture, and open space, in a home is not meant for an exercise room. After watching the video it was very evident to see that those exercisers are not familiar with many of the safety procedures needed to exercise safely. 

Space is one basic consideration. Jumping rope instead of a treadmill workout for cardiorespiratory fitness needs adequate space. A minimum of 4 feet in front and back of you, and a good three feet over your head is necessary. A spinning rope can catch on lamp tables, lamps, overhead light fixtures, and chairs. Some throw rugs are OK for normal walking around the house, but are not sufficiently anchored for jumping jacks or "burpee" exercises. 

Lifting weights has its own problems. One of the most common is not tightening the collars on the end to keep the weights on the bar. When a collar slips, the weights will fall off the end and Newton’s Law of “For every action there is an apposite and equal reaction” goes into effect. When the weights on one end slip off the weights still on the bar are unbalanced. The reaction is a strong pull to the weighted side and most people tend to hang on to the bar as it pulls them off to that side. 

Lifting a bar loaded with weights is bad enough, but using dumbbells is a real problem. A dumbbell can get out of the line of movement to the front, back, or side. And once a dumbbell starts to fall there is not much chance of stopping it from falling. If the person is fortunate enough to have the dumbbell fall to the side, or across the body, that is bad enough. I have seen too many near misses, and a few make actual contact, with a dumbbell hitting the head. Keep the weight light enough so that complete control is maintained at all times. The floors of most homes are not designed to handle a dropped weight on them. Growing up as a high school student I dropped a number of weights on my dad’s new tile floor. Years later the grooves of the weights are still evident on the tile. Wood floors are not much better and a dropped weight can dent, and in some cases, splinter, a wood floor. 

One of the more popular advertisements on media outlets is the use of cables. The advantages are that they are inexpensive, very compact for storage, and give a good strength work out. What people fail to realize is that when a cable is stretched the resulting stress is often over 100 pounds or more. The problem is what is the anchoring end of the cable attached to? Many of the products show it hooking on a door. With over 100 pounds of force many home doors are not made to withstand that amount of force. When that anchoring end of the cable comes lose and hits the person full force it can hurt. The video showed welts across the chest, the arms, even the face. Doors were forced open because the latch was not designed for that amount of force. In one scene with a very strong person pulling on a cable the entire door was pulled off the hinges and popped him across the head.

The main point of these examples is to make people aware of the possible dangers and take steps to prevent them. Check collars on weights and the anchor end of cables to start.

San Marcos Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666