I have written numerous articles on home fitness. But writing on such a grave issue is no less than a huge responsibility. Educating people about risks associated with resistance bands and creating awareness is a must.
Snapping/breaking of resistance bands is one of the primary reasons for most of the injuries associated with resistance bands.
Further, I have also provided a list of some advanced resistance bands which come with anti-snap technology.
So, what are the best tips to prevent resistance bands from snapping? The best ways to prevent resistance bands from breakage is to avoid overstretching, keep bands away from sharp objects and identify the symptoms before resistance bands may snap all of a sudden. Replacing aged resistance bands proactively is also the key.
Fair enough! There are over 15 factors that may cause resistance bands to snap untimely under full tension. Further, there are several symptoms to look out in resistance bands that may help you decide when to replace your favorite bands.
Here are some of the closely related questions often asked by our readers.
Feel free to click any one of them if you are short of time. However, I would urge you to read the answer to the 1st question on priority.
❝ Hi, I am Ravi, your companion and a passionate fitness athlete, cyclist, runner, gym enthusiast who just loves the concept of resistance bands for their extreme flexibility. I have been using resistance bands as one of my primary fitness equipment for the last many years ❞
Why do we need to consider the snapping of bands as a serious threat to our safety?
During my fitness journey over the years, I have heard several stories about the severed eye and dental injuries caused by resistance bands which ruined the personal life of people.
There are two most prominent causes of injuries with resistance bands –
- Snapping of resistance bands under tension.
- Slipping of resistance bands from beneath the feet.
Here are two of many serious cases reported through the media channels
The severed eye injury happened to Ms. Lapp (reported by Newyork Times in 2014 )
Here is what quoted in her lawsuit filed by her lawyer against the manufacturer
As stated here, eye injury was the result of the snapping during fitness class which was being performed under the supervision of the instructor.
This case was reported on aao.org (American Academy Of Ophthalmology) –
Here is what happened with flight attendant Trish Sullivant
She was on a layover in San Jose, Calif., when she decided to squeeze in some arm exercises between flights with her new resistance band. As she began doing bicep curls, the band suddenly snapped back, hitting her directly in the eye. The impact caused her to pass out for a few moments.
The delay in getting medical treatment cost her one eye. She is now blind from one eye.
Turning the head away from such news is not the solution. Little attention and compliance with the guidelines can drastically improve your experience with the resistance bands.
How to identify if my resistance band is going to break anytime soon?
Before I discuss the ways to prevent the resistance bands from snapping, HOLD ON.
Here is the bitter truth! No matter, how much you care for resistance bands. Resistance bands being made from natural material are bound to decay with time. With aging, they become prone to breakage under tension.
➥ For diving deep into the material aspects of resistance bands, I would recommend you to go through this article – How are resistance bands made – Learn Implications and Reduce Anxiety
That said, it is of utmost importance to know when your resistance bands are going to fail in the first place.
Nothing fails overnight. Here are the symptoms to look out for –
1. Discoloration of resistance bands –
Often it is seen, the resistance bands with the usage over time loses its original color and get faded. Observe your resistance bands for any signs of fading. If it is happening with adorable bands of yours, it is time to replace them with new ones.
2. Visible cracks over resistance bands –
I am not talking about the huge crack you may notice one day when one part of the resistance band falls apart on the floor. The kind of cracks I am talking about can easily be ignored. Just check this picture-
Such cracks often develop at some places of the resistance bands and require careful inspection. If such cracks are visible in your resistance bands kit, it is a clear sign of an untoward incident bound to happen.
3. Resistance bands surface getting rough –
Usually, the surface of newly purchased resistance bands is perfectly smooth. However, due to heavy usage, aging and rubbing, you may observe that there is some roughness at places over the length of resistance bands.
Often, the rough surface becomes the ground for fine cracks.
4. Lose in the elasticity of resistance bands with time –
With aging, the bonding between the cross-linked polymer chains of rubber molecules starts depreciating. As a result, resistance bands start losing their prime parameter which is elasticity.
But how do you identify the loss of elasticity – With experience, you may notice that your red color resistance bands are not providing as much resistance as it used to provide earlier. Don’t confuse it to be the result of your improved stamina.
5. Check malfunctioning of joints at the handles of tube resistance bands –
In the case of tube resistance bands kits, the handles are one of the most susceptible parts to be checked regularly.
All manufacturers insert a small metal ball from the hollow end of the resistance band under pressure which prevents the ends of cylindrical tube bands from coming out of the groove crafted in the handles as shown in the picture above.
Due to extreme pressure during high-intensity resistance training, such ball joint may fail as happened in my case
Check the ends of tube resistance bands on a regular basis to avoid any mishappenings.
How to proactively prevent resistance bands from snapping?
Most of the resistance bands in the market are made from natural rubber. Natural rubber is a soft and flexible material that needs due care and maintenance.
In short, you can’t treat resistance bands to be equivalent to the dumbbells and barbells which are rock solid pieces of iron and steel.
Here are the most effective tips you may ever need to prevent resistance bands from snapping-
1. Inspect Resistance Bands Regularly –
Though this tip doesn’t count directly into the proactive measures, however, it is worth making it a habit to inspect your resistance bands every two weeks turn by turn and foot by foot across the length of resistance bands in spare time.
Check for any signs of breakage as stated earlier.
2. Don’t use resistance bands near sharp objects –
Take notice of the surroundings and remove any sharp corners that may come in the way of resistance bands during exercises.
You may be exercising near the corner of the wall or the door you are using for anchoring may be having sharp-edged metal handles.
If you can’t avoid those things from the vicinity of the workout area, at least take notice of such items while doing resistance bands exercises.
3. Dress properly before using resistance bands –
Here, I don’t mean to do a dress rehearsal for a fashion show. It means not to wear rings, earrings, watches, and several other items that may rub against the surface of resistance bands during exercises.
It also means that you also need to cut your nails before using resistance bands.
If you can’t afford to cut the nails, be aware of your hands while handling workout bands.
4. Never do resistance exercises over the rough floor –
Due to their soft and flexible material, resistance bands need to be protected from any kind of rough surface.
Usually, many of the exercises with resistance bands involve stepping over the bands to perform overhead shoulder press, biceps curl, shoulder raise, and many others as cited in this picture –
In case you are exercising in the park, avoid stepping over the elastic bands altogether.
If you are not fortunate enough to access the ideal surface for resistance bands. You may also do resistance bands exercises over the yoga mat while stepping over the bands.
Here is one such example.
Picture showing lady stepping over band and mat
5. Clean your hands before using resistance bands –
Even the tiny dust particles stricken over the hands may rub against the soft surface of resistance bands and damage them over repetitive use.
Further, other dirt particles such as oil, grease from your hands may react with natural rubber of resistance bands. Natural rubber is known to react and swell after repeated exposure to oils, grease, cooking oil, coconut oil, and other alcoholic products.
➥ Here is the detailed information provided in relevance to the above aspect – how to lubricate resistance bands? – Our research
6. Never store resistance bands in congested bags –
Often manufacturers provide you a tiny net or cotton bag which is just enough to pack elastic bands together as also shown in this picture below
Here is the cotton bag that I received from my supplier –
The major issue with such carrying bags is that resistance bands get stacked over each other with sharp bends and twists.
When natural rubber remains under stress caused by the sharp bends over an extended period of time, cracks are bound to happen.
Here is the large cotton box that I found in my house for storing resistance bands which is way better than the ordinary carrying bags supplied by the suppliers.
➥ For more innovative ideas related to storage of resistance bands, do visit this fantastic article – Best ways to store resistance bands – DIY and Ready to use
7. Buy Flat and wide resistance bands –
Flat, wide and thick resistance bands such as power loop resistance bands are comparatively less prone to damage from sudden snapping as compared to tube resistance bands.
Further, It is seen that flat and thick resistance bands don’t break all of a sudden like tube resistance bands.
8. Never overstretch your resistance bands –
It is quite obvious that the resistance bands can’t be stretched infinitely. Every manufacturer specifies the maximum stretching allowed for their resistance bands. We have done a survey of the popular brand of resistance bands for stretching limits.
Here are the findings-
|Sr. No.||Brand Name||Stretchability Limits|
|1.||Thera Bands||4 times the resting length|
|2.||Bodylastic||3 times the resting length|
|3.||Rubberbanditz||2.5 times the resting length|
|4.||Quantum||3 times the resting length|
As you can observe, brands have specified different stretching limits for their bands. However, it is generally recommended to stretch resistance bands only up to 2.5 times the resting length of exercise bands.
More details about the stretching of resistance bands are covered in this article – how far resistance bands can be stretched?
9. Never use one resistance band for all the exercises –
Though resistance bands are a very flexible piece of equipment, one type of resistance band may not provide you with exercises for all the body parts.
There is a reason behind the various shapes, sizes, and designs of resistance bands in the market.
Take an example of mini loop resistance bands – You can’t perform overhead press with the help of these tiny hip bands. Further, you can’t also perform biceps curl and tricep curl with mini loop bands.
If you try to do a shoulder press with these bands, you are bound to overstretch your resistance bands beyond the safe limits.
Always buying a combo of two or three types of resistance bands such as one set of power loop bands, tube resistance band and a mini loop band, can be more than sufficient for all the body parts exercises.
More details about choosing the resistance bands have been covered in this article- how to choose resistance bands?
10. Always tie only same color resistance bands together –
Sometimes you have to tie resistance bands for doing some kind of exercises that are not possible with individual bands.
For example– you may need to tie two power loop resistance bands for doing dynamic exercises as shown in this picture –
Sometimes, you may also need to tie therapy style resistance bands to form a closed loop for doing biceps curl, triceps curl, and many other exercises.
if you tie two resistance bands of different colors together, the resistance band with a lower resistance will get overstretched whereas the resistance band with higher resistance shall be underutilized.
So it is always advised to tie the same color resistance bands only.
11. Avoid rough handling of resistance bands-
Often people assume resistance bands equivalent to the dumbbells and barbells. As a result, bands are mishandled like a solid piece of gym equipment which is a big mistake that can be avoided by giving them a little more attention.
Always place resistance bands gently over the floor after every use and don’t throw them or hurl them towards the wall and doors.
12. Do not stock resistance bands along with other gym accessories –
People often store resistance bands along with their other gym equipment such as dumbbells barbells kettlebells etc. The soft natural rubber of resistance bands can easily get scratched when it comes into contact with other gym accessories as shown in this picture-
So I always recommend using dedicated storage bags for resistance bands.
13. Always use recommended anchoring system for resistance bands –
The resistance bands are after all made of a natural rubber which is extremely soft in nature. We can’t anchor resistance bands around the handles of the door or around the legs of wooden furniture for the sake of doing exercises as also shown in the picture-
The best solution for the anchoring system is the door anchors made from high-density nylon webbing as shown in the picture.
Such door anchors are not only gentle over the surface of resistance bands but they also keep resistance bands fixed over there place while doing exercises and prevents rubbing.
14. Do not blindly follow the instructor inside the gym / Fitness Club –
You would be surprised to know that a major portion of such injuries happens in the presence of instructors within the gym premises.
It shall not be wrong if I would say that resistance bands are the most neglected part of equipment inside the gym. In fact, nobody provides the attention and care, these soft resistance bands need inside the gym.
Further, gym instructors do not understand the dynamics and risks associated with resistance bands.
Rather than blindly following the instructor, correct him/her if he or she instructs you to anchor resistance bands around an iron railing or ask you to stretch resistance bands beyond the safe limits.
15. Carefully read resistance band manuals –
Every resistance band that you buy comes with a manual. Such manuals not only guide you about the variety of exercises that are possible with resistance bands but also provide certain warnings and guidelines for safe use of resistance bands as also shown in this picture (My black mountain resistance band’s manual)
Do make it a habit to read the manual that comes with the resistance band and try to follow instructions given by the supplier as much as possible.
How to protect yourself from injuries caused by resistance bands?
As said earlier, you can’t completely stop resistance bands from snapping no matter how much you care.
Besides following the tips mentioned here, it is a wise idea to protect yourself just in case exercise bands fail.
There are two kinds of protective gear that I recommend you to purchase-
1. Safety glasses for protecting eyes –
From most of the incidents, I have heard from my friends and through social media, eyes are severed the most out of all risks associated with resistance bands.
So, it is a good idea to buy a pair of safety glasses which are specially designed to protect eyes from all the angles as also shown in this picture-
Such safety glasses are actually designed and manufactured preliminary for use in high-risk athletic sports like archery and shooting. These glasses can also serve the purpose of resistance band exercises as well.
These safety glasses may cost you some money. But it is still incomparable to the priceless eyes.
The decision is yours.
Click the above safety glasses here for more details
2. Safety helmet for protecting the complete face –
Buying a safety helmet for a resistance band! It sounds crazy!
I often face such a reaction when I recommend them a helmet. However, during my survey across various websites in the field of medicine and health for resistance band injuries, dental injuries have also been reported along with injuries related to the eyes due to the snapping of resistance bands.
So there is nothing wrong if you are wearing a safety helmet while doing resistance bands exercises just as athletes wear a helmet during cricket, hockey, rugby and several other sports
You may use a better helmet than this one…
In fact, I know few people in my contacts who actually wear safety helmets while doing high-intensity resistance training after taking lessons from the injuries of their near and dear ones.
|Do not feel ashamed while wearing safety glasses or a helmet while using resistance bands. Safety always comes first.|
Are there any anti-snap resistance bands in the market?
This is the quite common question that everybody would have come up with while purchasing resistance bands. You will be glad to know that such technology/ advancements are actually there.
After doing detailed research about the latest technology and designs of resistance bands among the most popular brands of exercise bands. We found a few different kinds of technologies used to prevent resistance bands from snapping.
Let us discuss each one of them one by one –
1. Multilayer rubber design for power loop resistance bands –
In this case, instead of using one thick layer of rubber, several thin layers of rubber sheets are stacked over each other. The power loop resistance bands made from multiple layers of rubber sheets are naturally stronger and rugged as compared to one single sheet of rubber.
Further, such kind of resistance bands doesn’t snap all of a sudden.
2. Tube resistance bands with reinforced thread –
In this case, the hollow tube resistance bands are reinforced with high strength cotton threads. The cotton thread is generally 3 to 4 times the resting length of the resistance band.
In case, the resistance band gets snapped in the middle of an exercise due to overstretching or any other reason, the cotton thread won’t break as it is much longer as compared to the maximum allowable elongated length of tube resistance bands.
This cotton thread further prevents the resistance band from overstretching.
3. Protection sleeves for tube resistance bands-
Such resistance bands are covered with oversized cotton sleeves. The cotton sleeve prevents your face from getting hit by the broken ends of the tube resistance bands by absorbing all of the impacts of breaking.
Further, this protection sleeve prevents tube resistance bands from physical damage.
➥ We have curated some of the best resistance bands in the market with anti-snap technology in this detailed article – the best resistance bands that won’t snap.
Final Words –
Extremely flexible and versatile resistance bands do need the care they deserve the most. Give them some extra love as compared to the other kinds of exercise equipment. However, they are still prone to damage.
Do not get overwhelmed by the instructions and tips suggested in this article. Try your best and stay positive.
Even the anti-snap resistance bands don’t guarantee that they won’t break. There are cases where anti-snap resistance bands had broken during exercises and injured people.
I always urge my clients to wear the safety glasses and if possible, a safety helmet during resistance bands exercises no matter how much they care for resistance bands.
STAY HEALTHY AND STAY SAFE
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