Friday, September 18, 2015

Keep Your Gym Looking Better Than the Competition

There is a lot of competition out there in  the world of CrossFit.  Boxes seem to be opening and expanding everywhere.  There are 20 boxes in the greater Rochester, NY area alone.  How do you make sure that you keep your athletes, or potential new athletes from heading down the road?  There are two very basic components:  excellent training and excellent equipment.  We are not trainers, and will not help with skills, techniques, or programming.  We can help your box with equipment.

You have spent a significant of money on your equipment to open your facility.  Therefore, it is extremely important to protect your investment.  And since visual impact of your gym can play a big role in potential clients signing on, keeping your equipment in great condition goes a long way.  There are some simple things that you can do to keep your equipment safe, performing well, and looking good.  Here are a few tips that we have come across over the years that require a small time investment but reap big rewards.

Steel Products: 

Barbells:  Barbells get used almost every day in a CrossFit box.  Barbells are dropped, chalked, sweated and bled on, have plates and collars constantly on and off, are racked, and abused in multiple other ways (even though you probably have penalties for these actions!)A quick wipe of the bar with a light solvent / oil and thoroughly wiping any excess off, will keep your bars looking good and feeling good in your hands.

Kettlebells:  I know, a kettlebell is a steel ball with a handle on it.  What is there to maintain?  Well, they do experience wear and tear on the handles and the base.  Paint and powder coat have a tendency to wear off over time.  Simply take a piece of sand paper or steel wool to the worn area, then grab a can of flat or gloss spray paint (depending on the finish) and touch up the bare areas.
Pull Up Racks and Squat Racks:  The pull up rig is the centerpiece of the gym.  If it is well maintained, it can last virtually for ever.  But, they do experience wear, especially when you've got 100+ athletes using it everyday (think how often pull ups are programmed).  

The squat stations have barbell hooks and barbells constantly moving in and about the posts.  Additionally, bands and gymnastic ring straps are constantly on the bars.  Just like the kettlebells,  a little steel wool and paint go a long way to keeping your pull up bars and posts looking like the day you bought it.  You could even look for a local powder coating shop to do a few pieces at a time.  Prices are usually reasonable, and you will get a new finish.

Truly any of your steel products will benefit from a fresh coat of paint.  Sleds, bumper stackers, and storage racks all take a lot of abuse and wear.  It is just the nature and the expectations of the equipment.  I have seen the difference with a sled at Victor CrossFit in Victor, NY.  Taking 15 minutes to add a fresh coat of paint, and a few new decals, brought that 4 year old sled back to new life!
There are other pieces that can use a little TLC to keep your gym looking top notch: 

Med Balls and Bumper Plates:  Like kettle bells, typically very little maintenance.  But, wiping them down periodically with soapy water will keep them looking good.  It is also an opportune time to inspect the bumpers for cracks or loose collars and the med balls for tears or ripped seams.

Plyo Boxes:  You jump on, you jump off.  That is the life of the plyo box. Most of the damage to a plyo box does not come from actual plyometric use.  The damage comes from an athlete dragging the box across the floor (I know, even though you tell them not to do it under penalty of burpees).  When dragged, the edges of the plywood can splinter and fray.  If you don't catch it early, it can spread and make the boxes look worn beyond their years.  As above, a good dose of light sanding on the worn areas with a hand sander or small orbital sander can make fast work of returning your plyo boxes to a great look.

Gymnastics Rings:  First and foremost, it is important to continually inspect the straps and buckles for wear.  Frayed straps or wearing springs in the cam buckles can cause serious injury to your athletes.  If they are frayed, or the buckles are not working properly, they need to be replaced.  And although we vote for wood for gymnastics rings over plastic, heavy use can turn the wood color to dark brown/black after even a few short months.  The easy button for getting your wood rings back to like new condition is that sandpaper which once again comes to the rescue.  A couple of minutes for each ring with a coarse sand paper will bring them back to new (or close to it). 

Also with rings, look at how you are hanging them?  Are they over rafters, in eye bolts, or dedicated brackets?  Well, it may be minor, but the different ways to hang the rings from the ceiling will impact the life of the straps, and the look of your box.

Rowers:  The Concept2 rower is extremely popular now.  They are very durable, and a very effective piece of training equipment.  But, over time parts can wear out or break.  Simply call Concept2, and you can order replacement parts, many under warranty.

In Summary:  It really does not have to take a lot of time to maintain and inspect your equipment.  The more often you do it, the less time it takes.  If your equipment is not maintained, malfunctioning, or dangerous, your athletes will find another place to work out.  It's just like the maintenance on your car - you change the oil, take it out for a wash and from time to time have to get new brakes and tires.  The good news is that with periodic maintenance, your equipment will continue to perform well for you and your athletes for years.  And the more often you set aside time to maintain, the better your equipment will perform.  

There is a lot of competition out there.  Prospect athletes are looking not only at where your gym is in relation to where they live, but they evaluate your training, your personality and making a great first impression visually also can be the difference between getting a few more clients every month or not.  We're here to make sure that your equipment stays on top.

So, if you are ready to expand or start a box, garage gym or simply buy some new equipment, visit Hammerhead Strength Equipment or call 585-298-1718 any time.