Last week five fitness floor safety tips were highlighted and this week, we will discuss five group exercise safety tips which differ from those on the fitness floor due to the group-nature of the environment. The concept is still the same for all trainers/coaches/instructors, “first do no harm”; however, group exercise settings require a few unique safety precautions. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.
Tip #1: Be aware of spacial considerations. When training in a group setting, although the trainer/coach/instructor should design the program with group spacial considerations in mind, you as the participant should observe the required movements and keep your body within safe range of other participants and moving equipment. This is particularly important during group circuit training. We often have clients using a club on a punching bag, running an agility ladder, jumping on a trampoline and sliding on a slide board simultaneously. Consequently, I certainly am well aware of my clients’ positions in relationship to moving people and equipment and constantly make adjustments accordingly; however, I am consistently coaching them to notice their surroundings and stay safe!
Tip #2: Check the small equipment. While professionally operated fitness facilities should be cleaning and checking their small equipment daily for any imperfections or defects, particularly with resistive tubing and other equipment which is stretched regularly, note any nicks, tears or defects before you use it and if you do notice it, make certain that the professional teaching the class inspects it and removes it when applicable. *Resistive tubing will occasionally snap regardless if it is in perfect condition or not if a participant rubs it against the tread on their shoes or simply pulls too hard on it based upon the tubing gauge and resistance capability. Therefore, avoid placing body weight against the tubing or placing it on an anchor which is abrasive. **Stability balls, mini balls, etc., also need to be properly inflated. While there are exceptions, be cautious when weight training on stability balls. Avoid lying on these balls and using the surface as a “bench” if you are training with the heaviest weights. The heavier the weight, the more stable the surface you are training on needs to be, so reserve your heaviest weight training for heavy, stable benches concentrating on muscular strength training rather than balance.
Tip #3: Look behind you! Prior to lying down, always check what may be located behind you so that you avoid hitting your head or body on the equipment, storage units or other participants in the group exercise environment.
Tip #4: When using equipment such as TRX Suspension Systems, Pull Up/Push Up Pro, slings for hanging leg raises, etc. where the body weight is suspended on or within this equipment, note any issues with the carabineers and attachment tools. Again, while it is the responsibility of the fitness facility to monitor the safety of their equipment, you are the user, so be aware and point out any issues to the staff.
Tip #5: Sweat is inevitable and so are water bottles that leak water; consequently, check the floor for sweat and water to avoid slipping. Point this out to your trainer and they should quickly clean up the mess to keep you slip free!