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Equipment Safety in the Fitness Setting

Stories of failed exercise equipment leading to injury have been making headlines. Recently the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced a voluntary
recall of 3 million fitness balls, for example. According to a press release, manufacturers received reports of balls bursting while in use. “Many of the injuries that occur with stability balls come from a poor-quality product [not made to handle] repetitive use in the gym,” states Abbie Appel, IDEA presenter and author, and Resist-A-Ball® master instructor. “Most companies produce an upgraded stability ball specifically for use in the gym rather than the home. These balls can withstand up to 1,000 pounds and are burst-proof.” Whether you work within a fitness facility or on your own, regular inspection of exercise equipment is a must. Courtesy of Appel, here are safety tips for a variety of common exercise tools.

Dumbbells and Body Bars. According to a representative from SPRI Products Inc., dumbbells and weighted bars typically have a long shelf life. Vinyl or rubberized coverings may peel, but that poses no hazard.

Stability Balls. Used frequently in the gym setting, stability balls can become worn and burst. Check your stability balls regularly for blisters and peeling near the seam. If these signs are present on a ball, immediately discontinue its use.

Resistance Tubing. If not used properly, resistance tubing can wear out. Inspect tubing regularly and look for nicks, tears or stretch marks. Damage is typically found at the center of the tube and/or near the handles.

Steps. Steps are used often and for a variety of classes. The rubber matting
on the surface of the step can separate from the platform, potentially leading
the user to trip. Most commonly, the rubber pads on the bottom of the step dislodge, causing it to slip.


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Ryan Halvorson

Ryan Halvorson is an award-winning writer and editor. He is a long-time author and presenter for IDEA Health & Fitness Association, fitness industry consultant and former director of group training for Bird Rock Fit. He is also a Master Trainer for TriggerPoint.

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