Monday, October 6, 2014

Opening a CrossFit® Gym - The One Piece of Equipment You Can't Live Without

We saw a question asked up on the CrossFit® Message Boards from a new gym owner and thought it was super relevant.  Here's what he asked:

We will be opening our doors in the next few months. We have put together a list of standard equipment for a start-up.   My question is, What piece of equipment can you not live without that you did not even imagine having before opening your affiliate?
I may have some room in the budget for something other than "needs" and I would love to hear what experienced owners have to say.
Many thanks,Mike

That's a great question from Mike and I'm glad he asked it.  A piece of equipment that you can't live without is one that you can use every day and that brings about a great level of fitness.  By and large the best use of your funds is in basic, multi-use equipment.  If there were room in the budget for more equipment, sticking to the basics is always the smart choice.

What we've seen starting gyms most successful with is a list similar to this:

A Wall Mounted Rig - lower cost than Free Standing, takes up less space too and leaves athletes most visible. It's also more economical than separate pull-up bars and squat racks in most cases.

A mix of men's/women's and training bars - this is always a gamble on what is the proper mix. But don't forget training bars. If you buy solid quality, then you can use them for class overflow, too. They can easily handle loads of 75lbs and less.

Hi Temp Bumpers [average 120lbs-140lbs per athlete] - as others have chimed in on and we can attest to as well, buy quality here. Even if upgrading bumpers to Hi Temps is an add of a few hundred dollars, it's always worth it.

100-150lbs of small steel weight plates [2.5lb, 5lb] - low cost but super necessary. Don't forget more than just a few of these.

Gymnastics Rings - One of the most infinitely scalable tools that nearly any level athlete can use. There are no less than a dozen different push/pull exercises you can incorporate in a class with rings. That versatility comes in handy.

Kettlebells - it's easy to over buy here but kettlebells are another piece that fills your grab bag with exercises. We agree that it's better to stay away from heavy kettlebells when starting out. Buy too few and you won't be able to incorporate them into your classes. A good rule of thumb is to have 2x on hand for the number of athletes in your class.

Resistance Bands - low cost and helpful for mobility, and adding resistance or assistance to many different movements.

Medicine Balls - another big winner when it comes to versatility. These are great for core work too.  And nearly anyone who walks through your door will be able to pick them up and put them to use immediately.  They can be great to add weight to squats, teaching the clean and intensifying lunges to name a few.

Abmats - pretty standard stuff here. They aren't a huge investment but will make getting down on the floor a bit easier for your clients.  Great for HSPU too.

Jump Ropes - a handful of low cost jump ropes with thick durable cables should be in every gym. The thin cable jump ropes are hard for beginners to use and as your athletes improve enough to need an upgrade, encourage them to buy their own fitted to their own height/style.

Possible Add Ons:
Plyo Boxes [16x20x24 or 20x24x30] The 20x24x30 has been the dominant piece in most gyms but now we're seeing more need/requests for the 16x20x24 for that shorter jump height. They also work great to measure squat depth [save the medicine balls for being used as measuring squat depth]

Resist the temptation for single use or low use equipment right off the bat. There are ALWAYS unexpected costs that come up and having some reserve in hand will help you sleep a lot better at night.

Our 5 Athlete Packages are perfect for starting your CrossFit® Affiliate and are packed with more than enough equipment for 5-7 athletes working at once.