Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Pull Up Rack and Effective Equipment Layout

At the cornerstone of today's popular commercial facilities is the Pull Up Rack.  Call it what you will - Affiliate Rig, Pull Up Rig, Squat Rack - any gym owner and coach will tell you that the majority of their strength and conditioning programming centers around this highly effective piece of equipment.

And whether it's installed against the wall or it takes place right in the center of the gym, 99% of programming will have athletes moving in, on and around the rig doing a host of different exercises.

With the pull up rack taking center stage, it's important to maximize it's effectiveness and usefulness in conditioning and strengthening the athlete.

Proper equipment layout in the commercial gym space is paramount to the success of the gym as well as safety of the athletes during programming.  A gym space without effective layout such as over-crowding of equipment infringes on an athlete's ability to move efficiently through a workout program and can have an adverse effect on safety and timing.

Bird's Eye View Diagrams - One of the most important assets to the aspiring gym owner to maximizing the effectiveness of the space in any facility is pencil and paper.  We strongly suggest obtaining a plan view diagram of the gym space from the building owner or leasing agency and creating a few copies.  As you begin to plan equipment layout, draw several different equipment arrangements to see what looks and functions the best to maximize floor space while keeping as many movement options open as possible.  Be sure to plan for expansion and equipment additions as well.

An Athlete's Personal Space - Keeping all athletes and equipment safe during workouts, consider that the most space an athlete would need is about an 8x9 foot area.  That amount of space will allow for burpees, double unders, and moving a bar from ground to overhead for example.  Begin all programming and gym layout with this in mind first as your overall square footage in the gym will limit how many members can effectively and safely work at any one time.

The Pull Up Rack - As the centerpiece of your gym, layout and positioning is critical.  As the largest piece of equipment in the gym, begin all equipment layout with the pull up rack first and be sure to keep a 9 foot perimeter clear all the way around it so that athletes can work safely.  And whether you opt for Wall Mounted or Free Standing, build in plans for expansion, especially if your gym's footprint allows for more athletes than you currently have equipment for.  Once installed, moving the pull up rack is still an option, but a little pre-planning will take away those expansion headaches.  And moving a pull up rack can effectively shut your gym down for 1-2 days.

Gear Tip:  If the pull up rack is the showpiece of your gym, maximize it's effectiveness with attachments that keep your athletes progressing.  Our Pole Extension Kits, increase the height of any of your rig poles by three feet.  With poles at 12 feet high, you can now add:

Ring Muscle Up Stations - suitable for either Wall Mount or Free Standing Rigs, add single or dual stations which allow your athletes more options when it comes to gymnastics rings.  Pull Overs, Skin the Cats and Muscle Ups are just a few movements that they can now do.

Climbing Rope Stations - The added benefit of the Ring Muscle Up Station is that you can easily add a few climbing ropes to keep your athletes challenged.

Vertical Storage - As much as is possible, store your unused equipment vertically.  Wall space and floor space alike is extremely valuable and effective equipment storage can turn even the smaller 1200-1500 square foot gyms into open, safe training areas.  Consider barbell storage for a moment.  At 7 feet long, the barbell stored horizontally on the wall will take out at a minimum a 7 foot wide area on your wall.  And storing barbells higher than 6 feet can make them unreachable for many athletes.  Instead of storing on the wall, consider the vertical barbell storage unit.  In as little as a 2 foot square space on the floor you can store up to 12 barbells.  That's effective and smart space management.  And our barbell storage unit has no bottom so your barbells land softly on your rubber flooring rather than pounding into a steel platform.

Plywood Makes a Great Wall Covering - Drywall wall coverings just aren't gym friendly, especially when you program Catapult Situps [throwing a medicine ball against the wall as you sit up] or Handstand Pushups.  We've seen some pretty ugly walls and costly damage.  And chances are, damage to drywall and re-painting costs and time is on you as the gym owner.

CrossFit R5 in Ardmore, PA lined many of their open walls with plywood.  Not only is plywood super strong, it gives your gym that industrial feel which is super popular.  And painting is always an option too.

Your gym's decor will also contribute to your success so having a space that is friendly to the programming you know you'll be putting your athletes through all the while looking great will pay off dividends.

Whether you're just getting started with your gym's design or getting ready to expand, we'd be happy to talk through layout ideas and expansion options.  Call us or email for a free, no obligation consult.