Working out at the gym is a great way to exercise and relieve stress. If gym equipment is not properly used though, you could be seriously injured. If you plan on using exercise equipment, consider following these safety tips during your workout.

# 1: Get to Know the Equipment. Make sure you know how a piece of exercise equipment works before using it. Read the written instructions or diagrams on the machinery, have a friend show you, or ask a trainer. Start initially with a lighter weight to get used to the motors used on the machine, then raise the weight as desired.

# 2: Check All Safety Attachments and Cables. These will vary depending on the machine you're using. On a treadmill, attach the emergency stop cord to your clothes. On machine weights, check to make sure the weight pin is completely inserted to secure the weight. Also look for any sign of damage to the cables that lift the weight. On free weights, make sure the weights are secure on the bar and will not fall off.

# 3: Use a Weightlifting Belt for Heavy Weights. When doing squats, powerlifting, or other heavy weightlifting, use a weightlifting belt to protect your lower back from injury. Even with a good posture, a sudden shift in weight or too many reps could put too much stress on your back. A weightlifting belt braces your back in these cases, protecting it from injury.

# 4: Use a Spotter When Weightlifting. If you are pushing your max weight or rep count, you should consider using a spotter. A spotter can help you lift the weight if you get stuck or injure yourself while lifting.

If You are Injured

If you follow the above safety steps but find yourself injured while using exercise machinery, you may be a victim of a gym equipment malfunction. You may entitled to compensation if someone is found to be legally responsible for your injuries.