Resistance Band Training Safety Expert Overview

The use and availability of exercise resistance bands has become extremely widespread over the last 20 years for individuals working out at home as well as gym settings. Although training with resistance bands is very accessible and appears to be less intimidating to newer trainees, improper use of bands can result in serious training injuries that may be preventable with proper instruction, supervision, and maintenance.

In this article, Weightlifting & Fitness Facilities Expert, David Ester looks at some of the most common causes of preventable injuries that occur from unsafe training practices, and injuries that can occur when proper inspection and maintenance of the equipment has not been performed.

Resistance Band Expert Witness

The proliferation of band training has been spurred on by the affordability, availability, and utility of the equipment. Due to these factors, and because training with bands has a small footprint, it has become extremely common to see bands in both commercial and private fitness centers across the country. With the increased availability and usage of resistance bands, injuries involving these devices have also increased.

Resistance Band Injuries

Resistance bands can accumulate considerable energy under tension (when stretched). If the level of resistance is not anticipated, if resistance is applied unsafely, or if the energy is released abruptly, injuries from loss of balance, over strain, or impact can result. The most common safety concerns in band training are rooted in user inexperience, a failure to perform routine inspections, and a lack of supervision or instruction by coaches, trainers, or gym staff members.

In the context of an injury investigation, typical issues to consider will include the setup and type of bands being used, the information on training techniques provided, and the decisions made to determine the appropriate level of resistance.

Best practices for safe exercise band usage include:

  • Proper set up, mounting and/or anchoring of the band(s) based on the intended usage.
  • Choosing a band with the appropriate resistance level and utilizing it with the proper level of tension.
  • Positioning the band correctly to avoid injuries, ex: always above or below a major joint (like the knee).
  • Executing movement patterns correctly to avoid muscle pulls/strains.
  • Ensuring that there are no hazards in the surrounding use zone of the equipment that will interfere with the safe execution of the exercise.

Facilities, coaches, trainers, and staff members also have a responsibility to their clients to ensure that the individuals using resistance bands have had proper instruction and/or supervision while utilizing bands. If an individual within a fitness facility is seen improperly using bands, the staff has an obligation to intervene.

Standard of Care for Resistance Band Maintenance

In comparison to other types of gym equipment, bands have an extremely simple design and require minimal maintenance. However, routine maintenance and oversight are necessary in order to prevent injuries associated with band failure and/or misuse.

Malfunctions due to improper maintenance can include:

  • Worn bands snapping unexpectedly during use, which can result in the injuries to the eyes and face.
  • Mounting device failure, which can result in the device falling from the wall or becoming a projectile.
  • Deterioration of bands stored in improper conditions (wet, humid environments).

All facilities have an obligation to ensure that the equipment they are providing to their clients is in safe working order.

Facilities should conduct inspections of bands on a regular basis, coinciding with the inspection schedule of other equipment, and trainers and coaches should inspect them before each use with clients.

For safety, bands should be checked routinely for wear and tear. This enables the operator to spot signs of wear like cracks, dry rot, and major discoloration; indications that the band material is nearing or at the end of its safe usage cycle. Accompanying parts such as handles or mounting devices should similarly be inspected to assess their condition and ability to function safely.

Exercise Injury Expert Witness Investigations

The experts at Robson Forensic are frequently retained to conduct investigations when individuals are injured utilizing resistance bands. The scope of our investigations will typically include an analysis of how the incident happened, the condition of the equipment and environment in which it occurred, and the way the facility managed the emergency situation.

Submit an inquiry to discuss your case with an expert.

Featured Expert

David Ester, Weightlifting & Fitness Facilities Expert

David Ester

Weightlifting & Fitness Facilities Expert
David Ester (Sergeant, US Army Retired) is an expert in weightlifting and fitness facility operations. As an International level USA Weightlifting (USAW) coach, his expertise spans the full scope of… read more.

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