The Pins

Unlike freeweights, which are as basic as a hammer and anvil, there are more variables to concern yourself with when it comes to weight machines. In fact, you're bound to encounter machines from lots of companies (Cybex, Nautilus, Bodymaster, Paramount, Universal, and more). Luckily they are more alike than they are different.

Almost all of them are adjusted with pins. Pins are metal rods used to adjust a stack of weights on a particular machine. By placing the pin into a notch on the stack, you set how much weight you'll attempt to lift. Some pins fit straight into the weight stack while others need to be inserted at a certain angle. Other machines require that you push a button before removing or inserting the pin.

Bar Talk

Plates are what you add to each side of a bar to increase its weight. Plates that you'll see in most gyms come in denominations of 2V2, 5, 10, 25, 35, and 45 pounds.

Much like socks in a dryer, pins often disappear mysteriously. (Where they go, no one seems to know; since they have virtually no other use, theft is not a viable explanation.) If you're unable to find a pin for the machine you're using contact a staff member.

One important note: Never take a pin from one machine to use with another unless it's of the same model. Since the size and configuration of machines and their weight stacks vary, using the pin from a Universal machine on a Nautilus machine is ill advised. Often the pin will pop out and you'll be in for a rude surprise.

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