There's a lot to consider when you're buying strength training or cardio kit for your facility; whether that's a public gym, or a gym in a school, hospital, apartment or even your home. Here's everything you need to know to get started, and remember to always ask for advice if you're unsure.
Things to ask yourself…
Get the team together and make sure these key questions are answered before you start to shop around:
What do we have space for?
Do we need to get rid of anything to make room?
Will we need to re-arrange the gym floor?
What have members or clients told us they need or want?
Which bits of kit are regularly overused or have a queue?
What kind of kit will make us stand out from local competition and appeal to our niche?
What’s new to the market?
Do our favourite suppliers have any new kit on offer?
Check certifications and warranties
Whether you buy new or used gym equipment, ensure it has the relevant certification to meet health and safety demands. New equipment should come with a certification and warranty as standard. Second hand kit bought via the manufacturer should go through in-house certification to show it has been properly refurbished before you buy. And if you purchase second hand gym equipment from a private seller, auction or gym clearance, you should take the responsibility to get the kit checked and certified by a professional who is licensed to certify gym kit.
You’ll need to choose gym equipment based on your facility and client base. This could include:
Free weights: Bars, plates, dumbbells and specialist items like power lifting bars, bumper plates, microplates and power racks
Weight machines: Pin loaded or plate loaded machines, both individual and multi-use
Cable machine: A multi-use cable rack is a useful feature for most types of gym
Benches: For the free weights areas, including a selection of flat and incline benches
Cardio equipment: Treadmills, cross trainers, steppers and rowing machines
Conditioning equipment: Sandbags, battle ropes, prowlers and sleds and plyometric equipment
Studio equipment: Mats, steps and risers, small dumbbells, bands and other items needed for group exercise classes
Specific equipment: For kettlebell training, Crossfit, Strongman or spinning classes
Get the most out of your purchase by choosing equipment made by trusted manufacturers. Take a look at the warranty, returns and repairs policies. If the manufacturer is overseas, pay close attention to how this might affect post-sales customer care.
Expect high levels of wear and tear from members and clients using the kit, especially strength training kit and more popular items. Always put gym rules in place, and be clear with members that they can help protect their favourite bits of kit by treating them with care.
Care for your gym equipment
Cleaning, maintaining and regularly checking your new kit will help it last longer, and minimise downtime. The main culprits are corrosion and rust from contact with sweat and damage from rough treatment by members.
Mats, upholstery, seating: Check every day for tears and rips and repair any you do find immediately. Always wipe surfaces at least once a day with a suitable cleaning product and tackle more difficult stains overnight.
Metal frames, tubing and hardware: Check regularly for scratches, rust, corrosion, dents and chips.Keep equipment clean and dry to maximise protection against sweat. Always wipe down all frames at least once per week and dry thoroughly.
Never use harshly abrasive cleaning products and clean up any liquid spills immediately (encouraging gym users to do the same). It's best to use a chrome polish on chrome tubing and don't forget to check kit regularly for loose nuts and bolts.
Grips: Almost all gym kit will have handrails and grips. Check regularly for any damage and replace immediately.
Cardio equipment: Check belts regularly and replace annually (or more often if heavily used).Inspect belts for tension, damage, distortion, splits or fraying.
Cables: Cables can quickly become damaged and frayed.Replace all cables annually, or when required. Regularly inspect cables for damage, wear and tear or cracks in the outer covering. Deal with frayed cables immediately. Ensure cables are best places to stop any twisting or bending.
Labels and signs: Check labels on kit, decals and signage around the gym and replace or fix as soon as you spot any peeling or damage.