Elastomeric resistance bands can be a convenient, highly portable tool for exercise and rehabilitation, and are often used for strength training, building balance and endurance, and increasing joint function. With the rise in use of elastomeric bands in popular exercise programs, there has also been a surge in the number of injuries reported when these bands fail. ESi consultants Anand Shah, Dennis B. Brickman, Joseph Grzetic and Joseph Eganhouse embarked on an effort to determine common causes of failure, and the specific design, manufacturing, and material characteristics that are important in preventing these failures. Mr. Brickman recently presented their findings at the 2017 SPE ANTEC conference in Anaheim, California – a leading international forum for technical professionals in the plastics industry.
In their paper, “Preventing Failures in Elastomeric Resistance Bands,” the authors analyze three separate cases, each involving a failure in a different component of one of these bands, including the band itself, the handle, and the mechanism used to attach the band to the handle. The authors performed tensile pull testing on each of the bands to ensure that the assessed failure was caused by the weakest component. Six different commercially available bands were also evaluated, each with unique design elements and materials.
The authors’ testing revealed that the weakest design element in resistance bands can vary and failures in some resistance bands can occur at a pull distance of 10 feet and at loads that are possible to exert during exercising. Some bands incorporate built-in safety mechanisms which can minimize the risk of injury by preventing or reducing snap back, reducing travel in the case of a snap back, limiting the pull distance, increasing load capacity, or alerting the user that the maximum pull distance has been reached. Additionally, product warnings and safety precaution guidelines can be used to help alert users and reduce the risk of injury.
The paper was published as part of the conference proceedings. To find out more about the paper and presentation, you can reach Anand Shah at firstname.lastname@example.org or Dennis Brickman at email@example.com. In the absence of industry accepted design standards, the authors’ research provides valuable insight into the use, design and manufacture of resistance bands that could be used to help prevent future failures. The methodology can also serve as a guideline for evaluating key performance characteristics that contribute to the safe use of these bands.
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