Fitness Experts React To Iowa Weightlifting Accident

22 Year Old Died After Barball Slipped From Grip, Landing On Neck

Kyle Thomson, 22, was bench pressing 315 pounds at the Elite Edge Transformation Center in Ankey, Iowa Monday morning.

Authorities say the barbell slipped out of his hands, landing on his neck.

Officials say he later died in a Des Moines hospital.

Paul Keizer, General Manager of D1 Sports Training in Sioux Falls, said accidents, such as losing grip on weights, is common.

“Even in environments that have shown to be safe and amongst experience weightlifters, accidents, unfortunately, do happen,” said Keizer.

He said education is the best medicine to prevent a serious injury.

Through his experience, he’s spotted several techniques that can cause bodily harm during a bench press.

The most common problem he’s noticed: an open grip.

“An open grip is common just because of comfort level, comfort level while they’re performing that exercise. Unfortunately, here’s an accident that has spread across the country,” said Keizer.

He said a closed grip with the thumb wrapped around the bar is the safest way to avoid the barbell slipping out.

Sioux Empire strength trainer, Jona Leo, is an International Powerlifting Federation Bench Press World Champion.

He said he agrees with Keizer regarding the importance of a closed grip.

However, he believes lifters need to take safety into their own hands and not rely solely on spotters.

He said alternative options such as safety equipment or built-in spotters put less reliance on the human element.

A spokesman for the Iowa facility where Thomson dropped the weight says spotters were watching him on the bench.

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