“Do You Even Lift?” and “Strong is the New Skinny” are more than just popular gym quotes featured on tanks and muscle tees. These phrases (and many more like them) provide empowerment, a call to action, and support a trend that is gaining momentum – a shift in the mindset and goals of fitness enthusiasts from achieving simple aesthetics to improving functional and physical strength.
Traditional strength training protocols and exercises are making a comeback.
More specifically, the training style that seems to be gaining the most momentum is Olympic Weightlifting. The annual CrossFit Games continues to gain more participants and followers each year and has placed more visibility on the sport. In addition, USA Weightlifting reported their membership grew by nearly 20% from 2015-2016.
With all of this heavy lifting going on these days, do you have the tools and the space to support the training shift? Here are three ways you can ensure your free weight floor is optimized for new and seasoned lifters.
1. Streamline Your Strength Zone
As the free weight area of your facility increases in popularity not only as a result of the pending New Year’s Resolution Rush, but also in response to the resurgence of the weight training trend – is your free weight floor space optimized to meet the demand?
If you notice that your free weight area seems tight or claustrophobic, look to create more room by removing dusty pieces of equipment that are rarely used – or consider rearranging the configuration of your equipment to open up the free weight floor. There will inevitably be a small group of people who will be displaced by the removal or relocation of the unpopular pieces. Simply explain to them that the floor has been reset to increase the amount of space to accommodate their workouts. If you are removing old, unpopular pieces to make for an additional lifting platform or more barbells, plates, or free weights – be sure to point out what is new for them to use.
Ideally all members and staff will re-rack free weights and return lifting accessories to their appropriate storage locations – however, this is not always the case. Make this process simple by clearly labeling dumbbell and plate storage racks with corresponding weight locations. If these labels have worn off or become faded, contact the manufacturer as many companies offer replacement labels.
2. Equip Your Space
Now that you have arranged your weight floor to accommodate more lifters make sure that you have plenty of the most popular strength training pieces such as barbells, weight plates, dumbbells, and kettlebells. If you have plenty of the essentials, add variety to accommodate different training types. For example, offer 15 KG barbells and training bars in addition to the traditional 20 KG bars. Add bumper plates and storage in close proximity to the lifting cages and platforms. Stock up on popular strength training accessories such as barbell collars, lifting chains, and strength bands.
3. Offer a Workshop
Now that you have streamlined the access to your strength zone and updated it with equipment, empower your members to safely reach their goals by offering a weight training workshop. Many people are intimidated by this space but desire to learn more, so they seek out guidance from various online sources. While some of these sources may be more accurate than others, a hands-on workshop offering education and practical application of lifting techniques is the best way for members to learn. A more specific workshop such as an Intro to Olympic Lifting clinic might capture more interest. This workshop could lead to personal or group training opportunities for the trainers who host.
As you are prepping your facility for 2018 – consider updating your free weight floor by adding equipment and maximizing the space to set your new and existing members up for a STRONG START to the New Year! Trying to find the right equipment for your free weight space? Determine your best bar setup with this helpful guide.