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Gym Flooring - Making Right Choices at Ground Level

14th June 2020

Whether you are opening a new fitness facility or refurbishing one, starting at ground level, literally, could be the reason for the success or failure of your facility and here is why.
Designing your gyms flooring is part science and part art, which is why we’d encourage you to give the experienced Art of Fitness team a call to discuss your gym flooring needs.
As part of that discussion, there are 3 key elements you need to think about.

These 3 elements affect the way people move in your gym, their safety, the stability and longevity of your equipment and the overall look and feel of your facility. If your gym is a confused, unsafe, unstable, demotivating place, members will leave.

Art of Fitness team have a variety of solutions available to you and provide expert advice, so you get the flooring right the first time. We start with:


1. The Plan

a 3d CAD drawing of a gym floor plan

Whether you are designing a new space or re-imagining a facility already in use, you can immediately improve the safety, functionality and feel-good aspects of your gym with flooring and here is how.

You will probably have a plan in mind of where you would like different training spaces to be. Perhaps you envisioned the free weight section in an already mirrored part of the gym and the treadmills in front of the windows. But your plan might not fit with how people naturally use the space.

There is an interesting theory in the design of public parks, where landscapers provide no brick pathways in newly opened public parks, but instead wait a few months to see where people naturally walk to get from point A to point B. Once they have observed this natural movement, they install brick paths in the park that mimic this natural flow of human movement.
In the same way, whether you are refurbishing a space or have a new gym, take some time to observe how people naturally move around the space as this will help to inform how you zone various areas within the gym.

Another way to make good gym flooring layout decisions is to go to competitor gyms and watch how people use the space. Notice whether they cut between machinery, free weights, or class spaces. Visit the gym in rush hour and notice blockages, confusion, or what happens when people are waiting for their turn on various machines.
Finally, we suggest that you do a little research with current members or people you know that visit other facilities and ask them what the most frustrating thing about being at the gym is. This invaluable information will help you better plan your facility to avoid frustrations by directing people with clever flooring that subtly directs movement.
This kind of planning will help you create multifunctional spaces in the gym using different type of flooring and flooring colours that facilitate the movement of people around the space, reduce confusion and give the illusion of openness.


2. Functionality

rubber gym flooring tiles in an exercise room

The next element to think about when planning your gym flooring is the different functionality you need for unique areas of the gym.
Perhaps you have a free weight section, a gym equipment section, and a fitness class section. You also need to consider water coolers, health monitoring machinery, clothing and supplements sale areas, bathrooms, food and drinks sales areas, offices, and your reception.

Each of these sections requires a distinct type of flooring. There are 3 fundamentals to flooring you need to consider:

  • Underflooring: The first flooring you need to consider is the different thickness of underflooring for each section in the gym. Underflooring is the insulation between the structural floor and the floor overlay.
    The thickness of the underflooring assists with improving the longevity of gym equipment such as free weights because it absorbs the impact if these weights are dropped during training. Conversely, the stability of equipment like treadmills can be negatively affected if the underflooring is too thick.Once you have decided on the different areas of the space and installed the appropriate thickness of underflooring the next consideration is what type of overlay would work best.
  • Rubber Floor Tiles: Thick (10mm and more), interlocking rubber floor tiles, provide durable but stable protection for the free weights and other high intensity section of your gym. The stability of this flooring is critical for your gym members during exercise while the additional rubber padding protects your weights should they fall.These floor tiles must be professionally installed to ensure a seamless finish as there is an enormous concern about members tripping if the edges of these tiles lift.
  • Flooring Roles: Flooring roles are a great option for sections of the gym that require more stability, less spring, and a seamless look. We recommend flooring roles for gym equipment such as treadmills, bikes, and cross trainers.
    Professional installation is critical to ensure that the flooring roles stay perfectly smooth to avoid injury to gym members.


3. Design

a 3d conceptual drawing of a gym exercise area

Great gym spaces, whether home gyms, corporate gyms or private gyms, inspire people to move.
They inspire energy.

What most people are unaware of is how the gym flooring contributes to this feeling. Art of Fitness team have put together 2 examples for you to think about.

  • Colour: By choosing different colour flooring for different areas of the gym you will create different wall free “rooms” in the gym. Colour is a marvellous way to keep people within a certain space to assist in busy peak hour times.
    For example: If you need to create a passage between the free weight section and the bathroom, using different colour flooring will delineate those “rooms” in the gym. Unless it is crowded it is unlikely that people will move out of the free weight section and into the “passage” while exercising, because there is a visual barrier or difference between the two sections.
  • Shape: By using different shapes in the flooring, you can communicate what you’d like people to do.
    For example: If you want people to keep moving in a certain direction, arrows in the flooring will create that flow and communicate how you’d like those people to move.

By using colour and shape you can create a clearly visible floor plan that subtly moves people around the gym and effectively manages crowded spaces.

Strategic planning of your gym flooring along with professional installation of the right materials in the right places, is critical to the successful use of the space, gym equipment longevity, and most importantly, the safety of your customers.

Contact the Art of Fitness team today for expert advice on how to use flooring to boost the success of your fitness facility.

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