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Beware of Resistance Cords!

I had kind of a crummy day today, so I decided to avoid any workout that could result in “drama”–that is, ones where I can’t comfortably do the moves or finish all the reps.  If I’m feeling bad to begin with, I’ll generally stop the DVD and collapse in a huddled, frustrated, sobbing, heap.  So I decided to do a familiar favorite with my own music—Slim in 6 “Ramp it Up.”

I’ve always used light weights instead of a resistance cord, but tonight I realized that I now actually own one!  I bought The Gaiam Stability Ball Chair, and it comes with a resistance cord, a toning band and a DVD. (You can read about the chair, which is actually great, in my post here.) So I pulled out the toning band, and the thing SNAPPED while I was doing biceps!!   The way the cord is connected to the handle is with a ball inside the cord.  What happens if you pull hard on the handle (that is—use it exactly how it was designed to be used) is that the ball pops out!  The cord lashed me across the arm, leaving a red mark.  I’m just glad it wasn’t on my face or my eye!  It still hurts and I’m kind of traumatized!  So much for no drama.  Anyway, I feel terrible because I really talked up the chair in my other post, and I’d feel kind of responsible if anyone bought it because they saw it here, and then got hurt by the cord!  I would say that my experience was just a fluke, but if you look at the pictures below, you can see that the problem is inherent in the design.  I even confirmed that I was using it correctly by looking at photos on the Gaiam site.  I wrote Gaiam an e-mail tonight, so I’ll report back with their response.

So that’s it!  I knew I avoided these things for a reason!  From now on, I’m sticking to my hand weights, which in 14 years have never hurt me!


UPDATE:  Gaiam got back to me–here’s our e-mail exchange:

Here’s what I wrote:
I recently purchased the stability ball chair (order number below),  which is working well–thanks.  One big problem though–today I used the resistance cord for the first time, and while I was doing biceps exercises, the handle snapped right off!  The ball that was holding the handle in place inside the tube just popped out.  The cord lashed me across the arm, leaving a red mark.  It really hurt!  I really think you need to take these off the market until you come up with a better design. It was lucky that the cord didn’t snap into my face or eye. 

And here’s the response from Gaiam:

Thank you for contacting us.  I apologize, but it sounds like you have received a defective resistance cord with your balance ball chair system.  I would be happy to send you a replacement cord if you would like one. 

 I have also credited back $20.00 to your Visa for the inconvenience.

 Please let us know if you need anything else. Thank you, and have a good day.


So that’s nice, kind of–I appreciate the $20 credit.  But I’ll pass on the replacement band–it’s hard to imagine how this wouldn’t happen again.  I really can’t see how that little ball has a chance of staying in place when you’re exerting all that force on it towards the opening of the tube! I read a bunch of  Amazon reviews about cords like this, and it sounds like they snap all the time!  Not just Gaiam’s brand, but all of them!  The cord can snap near the handle, or at any area that has some wear on it.  People report welts and blood blisters resulting from being hit by the rubber after it snaps.  Charming!   It’s too bad, because this could have been a great piece of equipment for travel.  I don’t know why these are still on the market with so many people complaining of injury!   While perusing Amazon, I discovered that you can buy covered resistance cords, which look like they’d be safer if they snap.  But that wouldn’t have prevented the way mine broke!  Perhaps this whole experience is a sign that I need to ditch all equipment and just do more push ups.






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