weights could cause injury
properly equipped gym will have rubber mats or special gym
flooring wherever barbells and dumbbells are used. If you
see a bench on a regular hard floor, the gym either cannot
afford the rubber flooring or mats, or the owners and managers
might not know much about the nature of training with weights.
rubber flooring is needed to protect the floor, the weights,
and the people using the weights, should the weights be dropped.
In almost 100% of gyms that have free weights you will see
a sign like this:
NOT DROP THE WEIGHTS
gym owners are trying to prevent abuse of equipment with this
rule, they are unwittingly increasing risk of injury to their
with a spotter there will be times where a person for safeties
sake, must drop the weights. Most people will not do this
because they have been conditioned by the rule that says "don't
drop the weights", so even though dropping is required
at times, it isn't seen as much as it should be because people
are afraid of being suspended or losing their gym memberships.
are certainly times when training very hard that on the last
repetition a person will be so fatigued that placing the weights
gently on the floor is nearly impossible and certainly not
worth the effort.
worth the effort? That's just being callous and careless!
Not so, there is risk associated with that effort. The stress
on the rotator cuff and shoulder joint capsule is significant
when lowering a heavy weight to the floor from the bench press
position. This significant stress could lead to injury.
the "don't drop the weights" rule may put gyms in
a legally liable position should someone injure themselves
following the rule at time when they should have dropped the
weight to avoid injury.
how often should a person drop their weights? There are only
a few lifts that put a person in a position where they may
need to drop weights:
bench press and overhead press
Barbell or dumbbell dead lifts and clean and jerk
While some additional exercises may be added to this short
list, these are the main exercises where dropping the weight
is normal - when you are training at or near maximum.
weight lifters can sit up with dumbbells from a lying position.
For those who can do this without injuring themselves, it
is less likely they will need to drop weights often.
a person would drop weights with as much control as they can
muster whenever they are at submaximal or maximum weight.
A person should not throw the weights or slam them down without
care. The drop is controlled. However, if needed, it can be
more important to quickly drop weights without regard to the
equipment in favor of preventing injury. Dropping weights
is not necessary when lifting light weights that are easy
purpose of the drop is to reduce strain on muscles, tendons,
connective tissue, and joint capsule. Over the long term,
dropping dumbbells damages them. That is the cost of doing
business. Dumbbells with metal plates can have the plates
welded together; this significantly increases the life of
the dumbbell. One-piece dumbbells don't hold up well to being
dropped. Most gyms are slowly replacing one-piece dumbbells
over 30 pounds as they tend to break.
lifting 300-500 pounds isn't easy, and neither is putting
it down without making any noise when you are doing an intense
workout. As nonsensical as it may sound once you think about
it, many gyms will ask that you don't drop your 500 pound
weights so much. I see. Please demonstrate how to lower 500
pounds "quietly" when training hard. Better yet,
explain how to do so without interfering with the effectiveness
of the workout and without increasing risk of injury.
lifting through normal range part isn't a problem. Getting
the weight to the floor without dropping it is nearly impossible
without causing significant strain to ligaments, tendons,
muscles, and joint capsules during certain exercises.
need to reassess their rules regarding dropping weights. Carelessly
abusing weights can't be allowed, but dropping weights where
required as part of safe training must be permitted. In a
few gyms I train in, I have explained these facts to management
and they have supplied high-density foam pads to place beside
a bench. The weights are dropped onto the foam pads reducing
wear on the weights while allowing for a safe and quiet drop.
For deadlifts and other barbell exercises, a special impact
absorbing floor and "bumper plates" are available
for gyms. More gyms should adapt these responsible equipment
additions and change their "Don't drop the weights"
signs to reflect these safety concerns.
2004 Cris LaBossiere Rhino Fitness www.rhinofitness.ca