Using Gympins to Maximise Your Gym Workouts

Using Gympins to Maximise Your Gym Workouts

The importance of increasing load on gym machines is essential for strength gains and muscle hypertrophy. Intensity is largely known to govern the strength of the biological response. By increasing the intensity of exercise, the subject must work harder, and this increased effort will produce a better response. In the realm of resistance training for health and fitness, heavy intense overload is what is required to force biological adaptations to produce stronger and larger muscles. As such, the only way to continue to make gains in muscle size and strength is to challenge the muscles to a higher level of performance than they have previously been accustomed. This means that when an exercise or activity has become relatively easy to perform, it is necessary to increase the intensity. This can be done by increasing the resistance or load, and doing so will continue to force the muscle to adapt and become stronger. (Hillen et al., 2020)

Gympins are a weight training accessory sold in very few specialty fitness stores. They are pins made of highly durable plastic with a steel core, designed to be inserted into the weight stack of a pin-loading gym machine. They work by increasing the weight load of the exercise with the convenience of being able to add as little as 2.5 pounds per side. Gympins are competitive with other weight training accessories, as they are compact and easily transported in a gym bag, unlike typical plate-loading gym machines. By using Gympins, one has the advantage over making micro-increments in weight during exercise.

What are Gympins?

Gympins are specifically engineered to enable the addition of an extra weight plate to the side of your cable machine weight stack. They are compatible with 2" Olympic plates that feature a 2" (50.8mm) hole in the centre. The part that inserts into the weight stack comes in two sizes: select the same diameter as your gym equipment's existing weight stack pin, either 8mm (5/16") or 10mm (25/64") in diameter. These Gympins are designed to universally fit all pin-loaded machines, allowing you to easily add weight to your chosen machine and enhance your workout routine.

Manufactured in the UK using top-quality materials and stringent quality processes, you can trust in their durability. We encountered limitations in our local gym. The resistance provided was simply not enough and did not push us to our limits. This sentiment was echoed by others in the fitness community. We all wanted more from our gym equipment and needed a solution. Now, with Gympins, you can build muscle with the equipment you already have access to. Gympins snugly fit around the weight stack and feature a user-friendly push-button release that allows for easy weight adjustment by sliding the pin up and down through the holes in the weight stack.

As the button is pushed completely through to a hole, a distinct click will be heard, ensuring secure placement for your selected weight. The convenience of Gympins lies in their functionality. Those who have had to adjust weight stacks to attain their desired weight level know how frustrating it can be to use steel weight pins.

Many steel pins do not fit tightly around the weight stack, making it difficult to determine the correct hole for the desired weight. Moreover, traditional steel pins often have bends that hold the weight and can frequently slip out of position if not properly aligned with the hole.

Gympins represent a revolution in resistance training. These precision-made anodized pins have been ergonomically designed to optimise the use of all single-station gym machines. Their unique design ensures they remain securely fastened to weight stacks, effectively replacing outdated and less efficient steel weight pins provided with traditional gym machines.

The Importance of Increasing Load on Gym Machines

All the work has been worthwhile. Approach a persuasive tone, facts and no comments or anything else mentioned. Increasing the load on gym machines during resistance exercise has been shown to be critically important for maximizing muscular and skeletal gains. Basically, this means exercising with weights that provide a sufficient challenge to work the target muscles through a full range of motion. The reason for doing this is quite simple, if you do not put enough stress on the muscles with the right amount of weight, no significant muscle will grow. This is the main goal of the exercise program, body builders aside, their aim should be to increase muscle size with the least possible fat gains, and thus by increasing load on machines they're likely to achieve this. This type of training is also beneficial for increasing bone density and has been shown to be effective for preventing bone loss, and increase the strength of people affected by various types of arthritis. Other studies have shown that high intensity training can increase the strength, mobility and function of older adults who have various levels of physical fitness. (Weakley et al.2023)

Disclaimer and Responsible Exercise

Form is of utmost importance when using Gym Pins. Performing an exercise with incorrect form with increased load can be counterproductive and increase the risk of an injury. If you are unsure of the correct form for a particular exercise, cease using the Gym Pins to add load until you have confirmed the form with a professional. The Facebook fan page will soon feature examples of exercises using Gympins and will be a great platform for fans to engage in discussions about form and exercises specific to muscle groups.

An increase in load can put you at risk to incur an injury. It is imperative to increase load gradually. Performing exercises that are too advanced can lead to a reduced range of motion and an overall decrease in the effectiveness of the exercise. It is only when you are able to perform an exercise easily and for the desired number of repetitions that an increase in load should be considered.

The Superiority of Gympins by Gympin in Great Britain

Gympins can cause severe damage if they are of low quality. This is the case at many gyms due to the easy purchase of inferior pins just to have something. With a large 7-foot, 15-25kg bar balanced and sometimes suspended overhead, inferior pins can suffer the loading and sudden shock generated from an unsuccessful lift and become bent out of shape. This type of occurrence can be very dangerous, and if the pins do not withstand the load, they can shift or come out of their support, leaving the bar in a free fall and even more seriously, onto the lifter. High-quality steel pins are tested to withstand more than double the load of a very heavy bench press and are only able to be used in competition with plate-loaded equipment due to the safety rating. High-quality pins have also been joked to have a faller safety feature than a standard j-cup, as an accident at this height with a J cup can lead to a bar landing on the neck, which can be fatal.

The term "Gympin" is used generically, but its use as a product originated from Superior British Gympin Ltd. The company was founded by ex-National Coach and Hall of Famer Joe C Eastwood, who partnered with a friend to develop high-quality pins after being dissatisfied with the numerous substandard examples in existence. Joe's sons Gary and Mark then took over the company and took it to new heights after his retirement, and the Superior brand has been the preferred pin for many federations, lifters, and record breakers for many years.

Where to Get Gympins

As the previous section outlined the benefits of using Gympins, this section deals with the source of acquiring Gympins and the subsequent effect on your workouts. Very simply, Gympins are acquired from the manufacturer located in Great Britain. There is an abundance of lesser quality imitations available from Chinese and Pakistani sources, which are mainly used for the manufacturer's economic profit, as these are a cheaper source of acquiring the pins to manufacture the weights, and can be sold off as part of the full package, e.g. cheap weight sets. These are provided free with the weights and obviously using this supply is better than using the weights without securing them in place. However, ease of acquisition and the use of free gympins from these sources can result in some very dangerous consequences due to the extreme differences in quality from gympins manufactured in Great Britain. An internet search using eBay will reveal an array of gympins for sale. Usually, those who have bought weights from Argos, Tesco, Asda, and other similar stores will need additional pins at some point to secure the weights which they will hope to acquire cheaply. They will in turn come across the cheaper foreign imitations and buy these thinking they are the same as the original pins that came with their weights. This is a major consideration in mind next time you are planning to buy used weights or just the pins themselves, as there is no general marker on weights to indicate the country of origin or brand of weights. A further look under other private sale listings located in local newspapers, shop notice boards, or online forums can also provide another cheap source of acquiring less quality foreign-made gympins.

The Dangers of Using Lesser Quality Gympins

Using gym pins from poorly made implements can cause several problems. Pins which do not fit securely in the weights, pins which are not straight and high quality, and the use of things like bolts and screws are all examples of lesser quality pins. The main problem with these pins is that they can be a dangerous liability. Loose-fitting pins can often cause weights to fall off the bar as the lifter is setting up for a particular exercise. This can often lead to injury if the lifter is struck by a falling weight. A similar problem arises from bent pins. These can be weakened from prolonged use and snap while the lifter is in the middle of a lift. It only takes a split second for serious injury to occur from this type of accident, and in extreme cases, the lifter's safety can be jeopardized if the weight falls on them. Our pins are particularly safe to use. All pins are made to precise dimensions, which means a tight secure fit in the weights. Our pins are also made much stronger than is necessary for the job they are intended for, thus we are effectively future-proofing the pins against any increase in loading capacity of any barbell in the fitness industry. All these factors will provide a safe, trouble-free workout. (Dhlamini, 2021)

How Gympins Enhance Your Gym Workouts

So how do Gympins actually enhance your gym workouts? Well, it's quite simple and it's identified by the various training principles and goals that many people have when going to the gym to workout. Primarily, those that want to increase muscle size and strength. It is well known that regular heavy resistance and adequate rest are essential for the development of muscle strength and size. The overload principle states that a greater than normal stress or load on the musculature system is required for muscle adaptation to take place. This means that you need to perform resistance exercises that are challenging to the muscles in order to get results. In conjunction with overloading, it has been shown that specific muscle targeting and a full range of movement are also key factors for muscle development. When using Gympins, adding mass to an exercise is quite easy. Simply place the pin through a weight plate and slide it onto the machine frame. This will allow more plates to be added for greater resistance for an exercise. Any subsequent sets of the exercise can also increase intensity by stacking on more plates. This, compared to weight stack machines, where the only way to increase resistance is through performing an exercise more quickly, which can be unsafe and ineffective. Gympins, therefore, provide a safe and efficient way of increasing resistance for muscle overload and adaptation therapy.

Increased Resistance for Muscle Growth

With Gympins, your muscles receive a dynamic and progressive muscle overload. The application of Gympins means the resistance level gradually increases as the muscle performance capacity improves. This ensures that the resistance level is always at an optimum level. This subtle effect is similar to free weights, although with Gympins, it's much safer and convenient. With free weights, a common practice is to add more weight to each side of a barbell or adding dumbbells to a machine. This method is often unsafe as the exerciser must take the rest weight from the middle of the exercise area and lift or move it to the other end. It also requires an additional spot from a training partner. Gradually increasing the weight is not guaranteed, and using a training partner in an attempt to do forced reps or negative reps is both dangerous and impractical. Gympins provide a solution to this problem. They are both safe and convenient with little risk of injury. Whether you are into P90X workouts, Body Beast workouts, or just general weight lifting, it's a great tool for this method.

Improved Strength and Endurance

Unilateral movement is a great way to build balanced strength and size in the muscles. Often in standard gympin2forGympin based dual limb exercises, one limb may be doing most of the work to compensate for a strength or size imbalance between limbs, but with a pin height adjustment at light weight, it is the most effective way to perform single limb work without compromising coordination and/or the range of motion of an exercise.

Gympins are used on all types of cable machines, not just the Low Row, and we have adapters so they may be used on selectorized machines. They offer instability to cable-based exercises. This is because when the pin is loaded on a plate, the height of the pin must be adjusted (by removing or adding the chain to adjust how high/low the pin is) as the weight stacks change after each set. This forces the user to use either one limb (unilateral movement), or in instances where more than one plate is added, the height of the pin will need to be adjusted to accommodate the total amount of weight on several plates. This provides a 50% increase in the amount of reps that may be performed on any exercise because the user will have to do the same amount of work again to rebalance strength and/or symmetry between one limb and another or left/right side of the body.

Improved strength and endurance are essential in any form of training. For those who are looking to increase their strength and/or size of the muscles, the use of Gympins will improve strength and endurance far greater than traditional machine training.

Targeted Muscle Activation

Gympins can be extremely useful when trying to isolate certain muscle groups. Simple movements like performing bicep curls while stepping on the bands and shrugging your shoulders can build incredible muscular endurance in the arms and traps. These movements would not prove challenging with free weights and would not be possible with a simple rubber band and its corresponding width. Any movement (or sport for that matter) that requires explosive power or a strong base can be enhanced with the use of targeted muscle groups. Leg strength can be dramatically improved by coupling a squat type movement with various widths of bands on your back. The bands stay in place whereas a barbell would roll off without the hands to stabilize it, forcing the lifter to use greater force to stand up with the weight. An example of developing explosive power would be playing a game of one-legged hopscotch. Firing one of the smaller Gympins with an ankle attachment can provide the resistance needed to turn this childish game into an extremely good exercise for single leg strength and balance.

Versatility and Adaptability of Gympins

Gympins are also perfect for people wishing to train in between weight training and plyometric (isometric) exercises. Exercises that require explosive power such as pull ups, chin ups, dips and various sports activities can be difficult to train for, as training pure body strength will often sacrifice the muscle growth from hypertrophy. Using the gympins on a lower pin setting will be equivalent to isotonic exercises and weight training, and increasing the pin setting to match the individual's body strength will train body strength and power resilience, acting as the link between weight training and isometric exercises. Due to the nature of plyometric exercises, the gympins can provide an easier alternative to weighted belt training and weighted vest training, as there is no need to hold extra resistances and removes the risk of injury from receiving impact while holding weights.

Another major plus of the gympins is that they can be used in conventional weight training exercise. Frequently, bodybuilders will attempt to do the same exercise with and without weight resistance to see if it will target the muscles differently. The problem with using the same exercise without resistance is that it just won't be as effective as there's less stimuli for the muscle fibers to grow. Often training without weights can lead to the bodybuilder abandoning the exercise altogether, and just choosing a different exercise to target the muscles more effectively. With the Gympins, any exercise that can be performed with weights can be adapted to use weight resistance, meaning that it can be tested for effectiveness and the same pin setting may be used for a completely different exercise that targets the same muscle in a different way.

Seeking Permission and Safety Measures

For bodyweight exercises, it is fairly straightforward to obtain permission. A basic explanation of how gympins work and showing the difference in exercise difficulty is likely to convince supervisors or trainers to give the go ahead. During rehab, use of Gympins allows the patient to increase strength and muscle mass without increasing the load or frequency of a certain exercise. This makes Gympins an ideal tool and easy to use substitute for other exercises with a go-ahead from health professionals.

Obtaining Permission to Use Gympins on Gym Equipment Although most gym instructors would not hesitate before using Gympins, athletes often are hesitant to ask for fear of being seen as weak or unfit. Clearly, using Gympins on the athlete's own body is a personal choice. It should be made clear that using Gympins increases resistance and is not the same as attaching a resistance band to a bar or machine. This is important when a coach considers the cost of the purchase and potential benefits of doing so.

This part of the essay is aimed primarily at gym instructors and professional athletes. It is these people who are most likely to have supervisors or coaches telling them to increase muscle bulk or tone a certain body part. At the same time, they are also expected to maintain a certain level of fitness and not incur any injuries. All of these people will find Gympins extremely useful for increasing resistance in bodyweight exercises, rehab or even in sports specific training. However, it is extremely important that use of Gympins gets the go ahead from whoever is in charge.

Obtaining Permission to Use Gympins on Gym Equipment

If the gym itself or the specific equipment to which the gym pins will be attached is owned by a person or business other than the gym pin user, then McGlashan suggests that the gym pin user should obtain a signed agreement from the owner of the equipment. This agreement should document the condition of the equipment prior to the gym pin user's application of the gym pins and clearly outline the owner's expectations of how the equipment will be used. A sensible safety measure would be that any gym pin user should take photographs of the equipment to which they will be attaching the gym pins and store these with the aforementioned documentation.

Experts say that a form of written consent is paramount when it comes to attaching home gym accessories such as resistance bands to gym equipment due to the possibility of damage occurring to both the equipment and user, particularly when the equipment is being used at a public fitness facility. "In the event of damage such as scratching to upholstery and metal parts, the gym pin user may be held liable if a certain level of negligence can be proven," says Cameron McGlashan, owner of PowerUp Fitness who manufactures Pin-Resistant Cables for use with exercise equipment. "A written agreement between the gym or fitness facility and the gym pin user should outline the conditions in which the gym pin user may use the equipment and what that gym pin user will be liable for in the event of damage to the equipment."

Safety Guidelines for Using Gympins

We still have our faults when the tone is omitted, but we make safety suggestions to offset those faults. It is probably best that the spotter gives a vocal cue on the last repetition before positive failure (the point where no more concentric reps can be completed). Upon positive failure, the spotter should assist with only a minimal amount of force to help the lifter get the weight to the finish position. This is called post-failure training and it is widely accepted as the most effective way to safely stimulate muscle growth to those shining on the shoes of Mr. 1983. Would you believe we're getting closer now? Remember, slow progress is still progress. Later on in a training career, it may become necessary to use eccentric training where the spotter lifts more weight than the lifter can control and the lifter slowly lowers the weight. At these times, it is often useful to use a second pin to prevent injury. Now and really this should have been number one rather than three, but NEVER use an adjustable bench plain and simple. Flat, incline, or decline, it does not matter, just don't do it. This is a surefire way to screw yourself out of getting the bar back to the starting position after a great set because there is no way to safely simulate a wedged position for a bench press. We're currently in the mental design phase of creating an adjustable bench which does not use a sliding seat. When we get around to sketching plans on paper, I'll post them and you may take it as open source material to try it yourself, but until then you've been warned of free sliding or inclining movement on any type of bench. A common mistake is reading the guidelines then trying to use the gympins. We stress that reading and understanding is a key point. Without this understanding, the little extra safety may cause one to put themselves in a more hazardous scenario. This is an example of what is known as counterproductive regulation or more commonly, legislation which creates more bad than good. Without the safety pins, a missed repetition on an exercise which doesn't have a touch point to the chest is deemed less hazardous because the next repetition can be attempted with the previous repetition acting as an extra half of a negative rep. During this time, the lifter is likely to self-deceive and use a few more half repetitions before an attempt to slightly increase weight on the next workout. During all this time, the lifter is making minimal progression but the scenario is perceived as safer due to the lack of knowledge on rest-pause training. The safety pins are conducive to declaring a single rest-pause rep and then immediately increasing the weight. Rest-pause training itself can be done safely and effectively with a free weight movement and gympins.


Hillen, B., Pfirrmann, D., Nägele, M., & Simon, P., 2020. Infrared thermography in exercise physiology: the dawning of exercise radiomics. Sports Medicine. [HTML]

Weakley, J., Schoenfeld, B.J., Ljungberg, J., Halson, S.L. and Phillips, S.M., 2023. Physiological responses and adaptations to lower load resistance training: Implications for health and performance. Sports Medicine-Open, 9(1), p.28.

Dhlamini, W., 2021. A musculoskeletal injury profile of weight trainers at gyms within the eThekwini municipality.