Search this site:


June 15, 2005 12:04 AM

Broken: Gym weights

WeightsChris Clark writes:

The machines at my gym come from several different manufacturers, each of whom mark the weight differently: some just numbering the plates, some labeled in kilograms, some in pounds -- though there's no way to tell which is which. The two machines pictured are identical except for the weights and are right next to each other in the same gym, but there's no way to translate between them. It's guesswork, and for anyone trying to keep track of their progress it's a nightmare. A bad user experience all round.

For what it's worth, my guess is that the machine on the left uses plates that are ten kilograms each, and the machine on the right measures in pounds... meaning these two machines are set at roughly the same weight right now.


This whole metric vs imperial war has truly disrupted so many things! First, I had trouble finding tool sizes. Now, it's weights. When will it all end?

Posted by: Maurs at June 15, 2005 01:45 AM

It'll finally end when the US finally joins the rest of the world and goes metric. Until then, you guys will just have to be confused. :)

Posted by: Metric Guy at June 15, 2005 08:19 AM

It gets worse, because usually the bar weighs an unspecified amount, and the mechanics of the machine can significantly alter the perceived weight. Basically, unless you're using free weights, you can assume the number is just for reference, as in 80 should feel heavier than 70.

Posted by: sir_flexalot at June 15, 2005 08:29 AM

Seems this is a problem that could be fixed in twenty minutes with a label maker. Any chance that you can convince your gym of this?

Posted by: Robby Slaughter at June 15, 2005 08:41 AM

He probably could, Mr. Slaughter, but they'd need to go 2.2, 4.4, 6.6, etc. That'd be kind of a pain, but worth it.

And Metric Guy, not in my lifetime.

This gym just needs to endorse one brand of machines, and stick with that instead of not knowing how to use ten different types of weights.

Posted by: Bob at June 15, 2005 09:27 AM

Definitely, if you are used to the system on one machine and it happens to be busy you can't just use the other if there is no equivalency.

Posted by: Sean P at June 15, 2005 09:48 AM

I'm just worried about any gym using tie-wraps on any weight machine (right side of picture). I think they just keep you from not using any weights, but still... tie-wraps?

Posted by: engunneer at June 15, 2005 11:52 AM

are they weight-bearing tie-wraps though?

Posted by: Bob at June 15, 2005 01:10 PM

Sorry, but I still don't get the brokenness of this. Is it the fact that 2 different manufacturers label their weights in different ways?

Who said that all companies have to set identical standards for their products?

Posted by: SAM at June 15, 2005 03:13 PM

SAM: Idiot.

Posted by: Ilan at June 15, 2005 03:50 PM

SAM, you gotta admit that it's frustrating. It's a pretty bad experience. True, you can still use both machines, and with a little effort you can even figure out the conversion to measure progress, so I guess technically it's not broken. But it's downright annoying, and totally fixable!

Posted by: Robby Slaughter at June 15, 2005 04:18 PM

The brokenness isn't the machines, it's the gym. Haven't bothered to consider the user experience.

Posted by: DaveC426913 at June 15, 2005 10:33 PM

Llan: Right!

Posted by: Bob at June 16, 2005 08:44 PM

Even worse, right now the plates are in the "down" position. Now, when the machine is in use and the plates are in the "up" position, it's possible to get your testicles stuck in between two plates. A friendly word of advice: if you ever find yourself in such a predicament, be sure to retrieve your testicles before the plates return to the "down" position.

Back to the discussion, what's broken? Testicles or the fact that there is no testicle guard on these machines?

Posted by: a2800276 at June 20, 2005 04:25 AM

a2800276: You should win an award for 'Most Irrelevant Post.'


Mr. Clark obviously has no clue about one system or he would know that there is no way that 4 kg = 100 lbs or 4 lbs = 100 kgs. I agree with Metric Guy. The US, the UK, and Ireland (maybe Cyprus; I forgot) are about the only countries that still use the Imperial system extensively, and even the UK and Ireland measure temp. in Celsius most of the time. UK and Ireland are a little screwed up. They use a combination of Imperial and Metric and they drive on the opposite side of the road from most of the world.

Posted by: Brian at June 20, 2005 11:15 PM

Maybe the 1-2-3-4-5 one is in stone!

Posted by: Stoned at June 22, 2005 01:46 PM

1 Stone= 20 lbs, no?

Posted by: Bob at June 22, 2005 08:48 PM

Allegedly US industry is currently about 40% metric and increasing, although that is hidden from the general public. Technically the US has never used "Imperial" units since this system was a rationalisation implemented in the UK in 1825. US Canadian UK and Australian systems were last adjusted in 1959 or so to remove some of the differences (although the US has continued to use a different volume system. (fluid ounces pints and gallons

Posted by: Ian M at September 23, 2005 10:39 AM

Stone is 14 lbs.

Ref driving on the left - this includes not only a number of ex-British Empire countries, but also Japan.

The point is that Japan and Britain are countries with long unbroken links to the feudal past when everybody rode on the left, leaving their sword arms freely available to deal with 'oncoming traffic'. The rest of the world changed when much of it was conqured by, or influenced by Napoleon.

It is even claimed that at one time Italy drove on the left in the country and on the right in the towns, which must have led to some lively discussions!

I must admit I am not sure about India - when I visited it about 15 years ago the impression was that they drove on both sides indiscriminately.

Posted by: Ian M at September 23, 2005 10:48 AM

Comments on this entry are closed

Previous Posts: