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4 reasons correctional facilities need to ditch their free-weights for multigyms

It’s a debate that’s been ongoing since the 1990s – should correctional facilities make weight training equipment available to inmates?

We believe that the pros of having healthy inmates and providing safe, and cost effective physical activity options available outweigh the cons. The real question is how to provide the health benefits associated with consistent exercise without increasing the risks to inmates, and correctional staff. Safe and effective are the keywords we’ve built our business on. That’s why we’ve designed our multigyms to be 100% tamperproof and biomechanically correct, so correctional facilities can have all the pros of providing fitness equipment, without any of the cons.

Based on thousands of conversations with correctional staff and administrators we’ve compiled 4 common reasons that correctional facilities should ditch their free weights and other training equipment for tamperproof, correctional grade multigyms.

They prevent bulking up

A common concern with heavy free weight exercise is that inmates will “bulk-up” and become body-building mammoths, creating a greater potential for risk to other inmates and correctional staff.

Body weight resistance training equipment, unlike free weight training, does not create muscle bulk. It promotes long lean muscle, increased bone density, and joint health. It’s also proven to stabilize blood pressure and weight in older prisoners, especially when done in a circuit-training format. All of the health benefits without the risks associated with overly muscled inmates.

Dramatically increase officer and inmate safety

Any piece of equipment introduced into the prison environment has to be assessed as a possible threat or a possible cost. Free weights, exercise bars, and poorly constructed exercise equipment  that is suspectible to sabotage and removal of parts, represent a real risk to everyone inside the correctional environment.  These are serious threats to inmates and correctional officers, who already experience some of the highest rates of workplace injuries. The majority of injuries are due to assaults and violent acts, and contact with dangerous objects and equipment.

Any equipment you install in a correctional environment needs to be designed to be tamperproof, and built ruggedly enough to prevent sabotage or accidental damage. It’s crucial that the equipment you choose has tamper-proof nuts and bolts, not just tamper-resistant hardware. This is a critical component to prevent the equipment being taken apart and used as a weapon or merely taken for other uses – leaving the exercise equipment useless or dangerous.

Manage your health costs

Managing medical costs through preventative disease and injury management is an important priority for correctional institutions. Physical exercise, or lack thereof, can have a powerful impact on the health of the correctional population.

Up to 30% of the budget of a correctional institution is spent on medical care. The US Federal Bureau of Prisons requested a budget of 8.5 billion in 2015, meaning over 2.5 billion will be allocated to medical care.

Multigyms, like the ones from Outdoor-Fit, are designed to ensure biomechanically correct positioning, regardless of the fitness level or experience of the inmate. They prevent poor form and eliminate the need for a trained supervisor. This drastically reduces the potential for injury, even among those competitive users who routinely over-extend themselves.

Improving the general health of the inmate population improves the bottom line for everyone by reducing the percentage of your budget that needs to be spent on inmate medical care.

Help eliminate or reduce maintenance costs

Correctional facilities have limited budgets and a lot of responsibility. Spending money on on-going maintenance for recreational equipment isn’t a viable, long term option. Invariable there are other areas and demands that administrators need to focus on. Rusted out free-weights and barbells have to stay that way, creating more potential risk.

Outdoor-Fit multigyms are tried and tested in the harshest environments and designed to be maintenance-free. But don’t take out word for it. We’ve had equipment installed in correctional facilities and military bases across North America without any major complaints.

Small investments result in big rewards 

Looking for additional research and information on why things like free-weights should be a thing of the past in correctional facilities? We invite you to download our free e-book, 7 Objections and Solutions to Prison Yard Fitness Equipment or to get in touch with us about the difference our equipment will make in your facility. Your initial investment will help reduce risk in your facility, help increase inmate health and fitness, and reduce operating costs.