Stretch bands and other fitness equipment were all the rage on late night TV a number of years ago. Promoters would make fantastic fitness claims on thirty to sixty minute infomercials where you’d be deluged by a plethora of magnificently fit people all extolling the virtues of one system or piece of equipment or another. The problem is, most of the people you saw in the infomercials were paid to be there and had probably never seen the product being advertised before they began taping for the infomercial. These products ran from the ludicrous to the downright dangerous. Following are some of the risks these stretch bands present:
1. Wasted Money
The fitness claims made by these infomercials were ludicrous. Lose a total of between four and 14 inches just sitting on your couch and using our product! This product promoter made the claim that if you used their product and followed the heavy breathing exercise routine, you could lose between four and 14 inches total from all the affected areas on your body. They even said they had laboratory proof.
A few years after they started their infomercial campaign, they were sued by the FTC for making false and unsubstantiated claims, since nobody who bought their product received the stated results. This company was ordered to set up and administer a refund fund and contact all buyers and offer a refund to those that requested one.
2. Serious Injury Can Result from Inferior Engineering
The product mentioned above had a serious tendency to roll off the user’s feet, snapping back and hitting them in the face, causing bruising, and in some instances, fairly serious eye injuries. This product’s resistance was increased by winding the band around the handle. This increased resistance made the stretch bands more liable to pull free of the plastic bar, again slapping the user with increased force about the head and face. If the user failed to keep a very tight grip on both ends of the handle, it could pull apart and possibly strike the user in the head, sometimes causing severe injury. This product was later recalled due to these engineering flaws.
3. Muscle and Joint Injury Due to Uneven Resistance
Unlike regular iron weights and bars or nautilus machines, exercise equipment using resistance mechanisms that make use of stretch bands don’t provide a smooth, constant resistance across the full range of motion. Maximum resistance is reached during the middle of the motion. This change in resistance at either end of the motion during exercise can cause muscle and joint injury due to the arms or legs moving with a lack of control at the extreme ranges of motion. Also, when doing pull down or pull over type exercises, you are at your weakest point in the range of motion at the limit of the motion. This can cause injury to hips and rotator cuffs by pulling the legs or arms in the wrong direction when they are in an extended and weakened position.
If used properly and within limits, resistance training using stretch bands can be beneficial for building stamina and lightly toning the muscles. When used improperly, or when inferior products are used, serious injuries can result.