Tuesday, January 21, 2014

10 Ways To Maximize Your Floor Space

Whether you've just got the keys to your new gym and can't wait to fill it with an equipment package you've just purchased or you've been in business for a while and are busting at the seams, we've got a few ideas to maximize your effective training space to keep your athletes moving freely and safely.

We've trained in some tight spaces - everyone has.  And there are times when more people are going to pour in your door than you can comfortably fit.  That's not a bad thing.  Necessity is the mother of invention and should you find yourself in this spot, we've got a few ideas to make the most of what space you have.

Chances are that you've signed a 12 month or longer lease so if things start getting tight, you've got to take action.  You've got a few choices to make.  Some are easier than others.  Let's have a look at three different possibilities:
  • Restrict class size - This is by far the easiest of all the options but restrictions have the most potential to limit your overall growth.  If the next two options are exhausted then sometimes this is the only opportunity.
  • Get creative in programming - if you are running short on space then chances are a workout with Rope Climbs, Box Jumps, Ground to Overheads and Double Unders will wreck havoc.  The more pieces of equipment you involve in a workout the more space is necessary for your athletes to safely execute.  Ever run the 12 Days of Christmas Workout?  Now you know what we're talking about.
  • Maximize your useable space - Equipment layout and storage are important to consider up front if possible.  If you've invested in a Wall Mounted or Free Standing Rig, those are tough to move but not impossible.  We'll show you a few ideas to make the most of the space you've got.
  1. Use Windows Wisely - If you've got a wall full of windows this is a great place to store equipment.  Keep it stacked low enough so that folks outside can see what's going on in there.  Windows are great for letting natural light in, but there's not much you can use them for in the middle of a workout.  If your windows are spaced out, underneath each one is still a great option.
  2. Keep Bars Off the Walls - Wall space is at a premium in your gym.  You'll need them for Handstand Pushups, Wall Balls, some mobility work, and the whiteboard to name a few.  Most bars are 7 feet long and if you store a dozen or more on the wall that's a 7 foot wide block of space that can't be used for anything else.  Vertical Bar storage is the best choice.  You can store 12 or more bars in 3 square feet of space and our storage racks are easy to move while you experiment with the best location.
  3. Choose Your Weapon for Squats - When we see squat racks and a Pullup Rig on a quote request we offer this little tip.  Choose one or the other.  If a Pull Up Rig is the way you want to go, opt for the Free Standing Rig if you have room [maintain 8 feet clear all the way around].  It has double the number of Squat Stations than it's Wall Mounted counterpart and it provides the most visibility for you to watch your athletes while they are moving.  Combining individual Squat Racks and a Rig takes up space fast.  If you want to go with Squat Racks, pair them up with our Wall Mounted Pull Up Brackets.
  4. Store Vertically Whenever Possible - just like the bars, lining up kettlebells and medicine balls along a wall starts taking up real estate fast.  
    The higher you can stack equipment, the more space you'll save.  Put the heavy stuff toward the bottom [even putting kettlebells on the floor under our storage rack is smart] and get the lighter stuff up high.  Stack no higher than 6 feet or some of your athletes might not comfortably reach what they need.
  5. Assign a Space for Coats/Shoes and Personal Belongings - If you don't visually assign a space for all your athlete's personal gear then they will find the most convenient space on their own and it might be right behind them during a WOD.  Sometimes this works, sometimes not.  One of our friends suggested that different colored flooring be used to mark out an area for post workout stretching and personal gear.  That's brilliant.  Get some coat hooks up on the wall and invest in some shoe cubbies.  If you've got a rather resourceful member, trade some personal coaching time or money off their next month's dues if they will tackle this project for you.
  6. Moveable Bumper Storage -
     Bumper Plate Storage
    If you've got a few thousand pounds of bumpers in your gym, the moveable bumper storage rack is a great choice.  First, it gives all your athletes a target for putting all their gear away [each size bumper on its own dolly for best results] and second, the heavy duty casters help you move them around.  And our removable center pin makes it easy to take the bumpers off the dolly when it's go time.  Chances are when it's time to clean the floor, you're not going to be up for the 2500lb bumper shuffle WOD [before AND after :)]  These rolling dollies make it easy.
  7. Rings and Climbing Ropes - When you've got a small space, having dedicated stations for every piece of equipment just isn't feasible.  Rings and Climbing Ropes are two pieces that rob valuable real estate when not in use.  If rings are up high enough [to clear any Overhead movements and/or jump rope use] then no prob.  Climbing Ropes should have a dummy cord tied to the bottom of them that you can hoist over a high point in your gym [overhead bar joist or the like] and pull up out of the way.
  8. Assign a Running Lane - If your athletes need to move from inside the gym to outside [for a mid-WOD run], assign a running lane for them to move safely from their station outside and back.  A running lane also works well any time there is a transition between equipment that the athlete might not have at their station, i.e. rowers, GHDs.  And marking out the lane with colored floor tape is a great idea, too.
  9. Get out Pencil and Paper - The easiest way to envision your equipment placement in the gym is to put pencil to paper.  
    If you didn't get a floor plan from your Landlord when you signed the lease, ask for one.  Chances are they've got one.  Make several photocopies.  Next, take the length and width measurement with a ruler to determine the scale.  Most plans are drawn 1/8"= 1 foot or 3/16"= 1 foot.  Find out what yours is and double check it.  Next, make small scaled versions of your equipment on another sheet of paper. No need to be fancy, just make squares and rectangles to represent the rig, GHDs, bumpers, etc then cut them out.  Write the name of the equipment on each scaled model.  It's also a good idea to make 8'x8' rectangles to represent your athletes [64 square feet per athlete is a minimum, especially if they have a bar in their hands].  Now, put all those small scale models on your floor plan and move them around to see what arrangement works best.  Be sure to leave wall space for Handstands, Wall Balls, Mobility work and your whiteboard.  And allow for reasonable space around your equipment for athletes to move in/out.
  10. Bring the Equipment to the Athlete - Your best chance at maximizing floor space is designing workouts where the athlete can stay in relatively one spot.  If they do need to move to a rower or outside for a run, then they've got the running lane [see above].  (Gear tip - keep heavy stuff away from rowers :)  They are a huge investment and don't play well with dropped bars and kettlebells).  So, if at all possible, during pre-WOD setup, each athlete should bring all necessary equipment into their space.  That way, they can judge how far away they need to be from each other.
Need more tips and tricks to maximize your equipment?  Or want to keep up on the latest product developments and enhancements at Hammerhead Fitness?  Subscribe to our blog.