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Cardiff Met entrepreneur thinks outside of the box to avoid fitness injuries



Will Ruscombe-King with his patented plyometric boxes.

A Cardiff Met School of Sport graduate has launched his own niche business manufacturing and selling gym equipment, which he hopes will help fitness enthusiasts avoid painful injuries.

Will Ruscombe-King, 27, who is originally from Oxford but now lives in Cardiff, has just graduated with an MSc in Strength and Conditioning at Cardiff School of Sport. Will has developed the World's first soft edged wooden plyo box and has secured the patent for his design of plyometric boxes. It uses industrial grade vinyl and high grade foam as the corner seams to reduce injury.

Plyometric - or 'plyo' - boxes are widely used in gyms around the country and by fitness enthusiasts generally. The six inch or higher platforms, usually made of wood, are used to jump on to develop a range of physical qualities. 

Will, an accredited strength and conditioning coach working in field hockey, was inspired to design and create his own plyo box and to launch a company, boxjumps.eu, after he fell off a wooden model and scraped his shin along its side during a training session.

Speaking about the decision to develop his own plyo box, Will said: "The kind of injury I experienced is very common amongst fitness enthusiasts and I found it hard to believe somebody hadn't done something before now to address the problem. I am aware of one man who needed knee reconstruction surgery and physio after a fall from a wooden plyo box that took his knee cap off.

"My MSc in strength and conditioning at Cardiff Met has also hugely influenced this project, in particular, keeping the athlete safe as a priority."

This new product is considerably cheaper than existing foam plyo boxes already on the market and much safer than the wooden version. In addition, the foam edges are replaceable, meaning the product lasts much longer than other existing foam products.

Will was able to make use of the unique Fab Lab Cardiff workshop, based at the Cardiff School of Art and Design to make the prototype. Will said: "Without having access to Fab Lab and the use of a CNC machine to cut material, the cost of producing the prototype would have been too excessive for me to take on. The expert advice and support I received from the Fab Lab team was invaluable in the design process."

Will's idea won a 'Countdown to Launch' investment prize for boxjumps.eu via a competition at Cardiff Met, sponsored by Santander and Welsh Government. Since then, Will has received business support from the ideas accelerator program run by Simply Do Ideas and Cardiff Met Centre for Entrepreneurship.

The plyo box product has been rigorously tested by members at a local gym and Will has secured a facility to manage larger scale production of the product. He said: "Ultimately, I'm hoping to improve safety of athletic training by offering an affordable and safe alternative to wooden plyo boxes to fitness centres and individuals across the UK and beyond."

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