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How to Tell If It’s Time to Replace Your Workout Equipment

A woman using resistance bands, a man holding a jump rope, and a woman using a boxing bag.
Whatfit/WOD Nation/Dripex

So, you’ve got all the workout gear you need to tackle those fitness goals, but do you know how long each piece will last until it needs replacing? These tips will help you ensure you get the most out of your workout equipment.

Wear and tear on fitness equipment happens no matter how careful you are with it. After all, its entire purpose is to provide resistance or aid you in working those target areas. When your equipment starts to wear out, though, both its effectiveness and the safety of your routine are in jeopardy. These tips will help you ensure you’re always working with the best equipment possible.

Resistance Bands

Three people using resistance bands to work out

Resistance bands absolutely need to be replaced from time to time, as they become ineffective when they’re too stretched out and not providing enough resistance. The exact amount of time between replacements depends on how frequently and intensely you use them, as well as the kind of material they’re made of and which type (or shape) they are.

Generally, resistance bands that get a moderate amount of use should be replaced within two years, but many will need to be replaced long before then. If you regularly use them for moderate to challenging workouts, you’ll probably need a new set after 6-12 months.

Don’t rely on these general timelines, though—weakened resistance bands are not only ineffective, they can also be dangerous. Whenever you start noticing signs of wear, like cracks, tears, or any other damage, it’s better to replace them than have them snap mid-workout and cause an injury.

If it’s time to replace your set, we recommend either the Whatafit Set or the more affordable Te-Rich Resistance Bands.

Whatafit Resistance Bands Set

A complete set for all your workout needs.

Te-Rich Resistance Bands

Perfect for lower-body workouts.

Treadmill Mats

A treadmill mat; a treadmill sitting on a black rubber mat

Like a lot of other workout gear, how long a treadmill mat lasts depends on its quality. If you invested in a quality, nonslip mat made of high-density material with finished edges, you’ll get a lot more use out of it. If, however, you grabbed the cheapest option you found online, it’s probably time for a new one.

Because usage varies from person to person, just keep an eye on any abrasions or signs of wear on your treadmill mat to determine when it’s needs to be replaced.

Other signs might not be visible, though. For example, if you notice any unusual vibrations or loud sounds while you’re using your treadmill, check the mat in addition to the machine to discover what’s causing the issue.

When it’s time to invest in a new one, a heavy-duty option, like this one from SuperMats, should last you a while.

SuperMat Heavy Duty Treadmill Mat

Made from nontoxic materials, this sturdy mat will hold up to all your exercise needs.

Boxing Bags

A woman and a man using a black boxing bag

A quality, heavy boxing bag should last for years, but they do require some care. The most important thing to do is clean your bag properly and regularly. Just wiping it down with a damp cloth and, occasionally, with a mild cleaner should do the trick. You’ll also want to keep it away from heat and humidity, or too much direct sunlight.

Check the bag often for any signs of wear or damage, like cracks, holes, or tears in the outer layer. Also, check for any permanent misshaping or significant weakening in the areas you tend to hit the most.

If it’s time to replace yours, a freestanding bag, like this option from Dripex, is not only easier to clean than a hanging bag, but it’s also a lot easier to install.

Dripex Freestanding Punching Bag

Easy to install and will hold up to frequent use.

Jump Ropes

A jump rope with red and black handles; a man holding up a jump rope

Jumping rope is a popular workout, especially as part of a varied regimen. Given the stress you put on the rope, though, you’ll want to keep an eye on it and replace it as soon as necessary. Typically, a workout jump rope should last you a couple of years.

One warning sign that you should probably replace your jump rope is if the plastic tube is starting to shred or crack. Another is if the actual cable is showing through or the handles are pulling away more than before.

Some jump rope companies also sell replacement cables if you don’t want to replace the whole shebang. Weighted ropes, like this WOD Nation model, might show wear and tear sooner than a more basic option, like the DEGOL Skipping Rope with Ball Bearings.

WOD Nation Weighted Jump Rope

You can customize this rope with the included removable weights.

DEGOL Skipping Rope with Ball Bearings

Ergonomic handles provide excellent grip for a secure workout.

Running Shoes

Two gray running shoes

Did you know you’re supposed to replace your running shoes based on the distance you’ve run, not the amount of time you’ve had them? Like any other piece of workout equipment, running shoes have a finite lifespan. Running or working out in worn-out shoes can increase your risk of injury, so be sure to keep track of when it’s time for a new pair.

One study recommends replacing your running shoes every 500 miles, but there’s a catch: running in brand-new shoes before you’ve broken them in isn’t ideal. The stiffness can restrict movement and cause issues with pressure on different points of your foot.

This is why it’s best to replace your workout shoes or runners when they start to show signs of wear. After you get your new shoes, work up to your usual routine rather than jumping right back in at full intensity.

Be sure to look for a replacement pair that provides good support, like ASICS Gel-Kayano 27 for women. The brand’s Gel-Venture 7 is a great choice for men.

ASICS Women's GEL-Kayano 27 Running Shoes

Breathable and provide fantastic, high-impact foot support.

ASICS Men's Gel-Venture 7

Versatile and provide excellent support for runners at all levels.

It’s not something we often think about, but like any other product, your home gym equipment and accessories will eventually need to be replaced. If you regularly work out at home, be sure to keep an eye on these signs of wear and tear and upgrade your gear when it’s time.

Amanda Prahl Amanda Prahl
Amanda Prahl is a freelance contributor to LifeSavvy. She has an MFA in dramatic writing, a BA in literature, and is a former faculty associate focusing on writing craft and history. Her articles have appeared on HowlRound, Slate, Bustle, BroadwayWorld, and ThoughtCo, among others. Read Full Bio »
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