The top 8 must-have pieces of equipment for independent Gyms and Fitness Clubs to appeal to all age ranges, including the increasingly valuable 50+ demographic!
Are you a forward-thinking independent gym or fitness club owner? Do you pride yourself in always considering what steps are necessary to ensure the growth of your facility, the happiness of your members, and the future of your business?
Then our blog today is for you!
Today we will be going over one of the fundamentals of any independent gym or fitness club operation, equipment!
But we will be viewing equipment, something often taken for granted and viewed too simplistically, and examining it through a new lens!
And that lens is to focus on the demographics that will be using your equipment. Specifically, we will be focusing on what will appeal to the more low-intensity workout-oriented older demographics.
While there are obviously many factors (some of which we have already explored!) that help determine whether a gym or fitness club will appeal to certain demographics, one that is oft overlooked is the actual equipment within a gym. There is a habit of viewing gym equipment as a relatively static entity within a gym or fitness club. One that requires repair, updating, and occasionally replacing, but rarely anything else.
As such, we’ve put together this list of must-have equipment that favours older potential members, as well as those interested in more Recovery-based or low-intensity workouts.
Just want to see the list of our must-have equipment. We won’t keep you waiting any longer!
Type 1! Step Machine & Pedal Exercisers
The key strength of the Step Machine has always been twofold.
First, it is a surprisingly effective, relatively low-impact workout that can be utilised at the pace the user desires.
The second? Equally as important but just as overlooked. Nearly everyone knows how to take a step and is capable and confident of taking one. It is a satisfying and safe piece of equipment that people can easily operate while listening to whatever they want.
When someone who is interested in low-intensity exercise walks into a gym or fitness club for the first time, this is one of the pieces of equipment they will be looking for.
The same is true of pedal exercisers. They are a piece of equipment sometimes more commonly associated with private use than gyms or fitness clubs, but we have found they make a great addition to a low-intensity workout area.
Type 2! Stationary Bicycle
There is a similar logic that can be applied to our second piece of equipment. The Stationary bicycle!
Low impact, eminently popular, simple and safe to use.
Cycling is becoming an increasingly popular method of transport for older people the world over, and stationary cycling offers all the benefits with none of the risk (or actually going anywhere!).
While it is, of course, a staple of gyms and fitness clubs. When it comes to Stationary bicycles it is about asking two key questions.
1. Does a gym or fitness club have enough stationary bicycles?
Type 3! Rowing Machine
While more of a surprise hit, you only need to ask a gym regular to get confirmation that the venerable rowing machine is a hit amongst the venerable demographics.
When viewed through our existing criteria though, the appeal is not surprising. Once again it is a relatively simple and safe exercise machine that can be operated at the pace of the user. After an explosion in popularity due to technological advances in the 1980s, it would seem that many from that era are still using the noble rowing machine to this day!
Type 4! Balance Trainers and Resistance Bands
Our next one is not even traditionally thought of as gym or fitness club equipment, even less so than the pedal exerciser. Some would argue that would mean exclusion from the list. However, we would argue that this makes its inclusion all the more important.
Though not exactly machines, balance trainers and resistance bands have become a hit among beginners and upwards when it comes to low-intensity and recovery workouts.
Resistance bands have many positives. They are simple, portable, and lightweight. Perfect for more senior members.
They also focus on areas that many older gym members are very interested in. Muscular health, blood flow, and most importantly (and perhaps obviously, given the name) balance!
Given their relatively inexpensive nature compared to other, heavyweight gym equipment. We think that these should be high on the list of purchases for any low-intensity push a gym or fitness club attempts!
Type 5! Pressurised or Low-Impact Treadmill
From one end of the spectrum to the other, this next piece of equipment certainly isn’t inexpensive but it will certainly be impactful!
Or should that be not impactful? The goal of the Pressurised, anti-gravity, or low-impact treadmill is to reduce the impact that running or walking on a treadmill has on the body.
While this may seem of trifling concern to some, for those with injuries or impediments such a treadmill can be a massive selling point.
The quality of life improvement that such a piece of equipment can bring to certain demographics and gym members is so potent. For that reason alone it made it on the list!
Type 6! Appropriate Dumbbell Sets
Much like the stationary bicycles, this tip isn’t so much about getting dumbbells, or a perceived lack of them.
Once again the focus is more on their availability within any given gym or fitness club, and how they are being utilised, marketed, and promoted within that fitness environment.
The availability of lighter weight dumbbells is often not sufficient. Some gyms we’ve worked with have addressed this by having dedicated dumbbell racks within their lower-intensity area with specifically lighter weights.
This is a fantastic idea! As it helps set the tone for the area as well as providing plenty of additional weights of an appropriate weight. This makes it easier to incorporate them into classes, promotional material, and events.
How the equipment is presented is half the battle!
Type 7! Cross Trainer/Elliptical Machines
Another modern classic that needs little introduction. The cross-trainer, also known as an elliptical trainer has the potential to be the poster child for low-impact exercise. Designed and released in the 1990s, it doesn’t have the same pedigree as the rowing machine or the treadmill, but it is ready to be introduced to a new (or rather, old) generation.
Designed to fulfill the role of a treadmill but without the repetitive leg/foot impact or noise, the cross-trainer is a perfect piece of equipment to advertise low-intensity, life-improving exercise regimes and training classes.
While, to the uninitiated, it can initially look like a mass of moving parts, we all know that the cross-trainer is easy to teach and operate.
It is becoming more common that cross-trainers are just purchased and deployed within a gym or fitness club because it is ‘the type of equipment all gyms have’. This is done without reflection on why it should be purchased and how it should be promoted.
If we do actions simply because it is what ‘all gyms do’, we risk missing the reasoning that this equipment caught on in the first place. Perhaps more importantly still, we risk not being able to correctly message and promote that equipment quickly to members.
Type 8! Training Bench
The last piece of equipment on our list isn’t a new innovation like the pressurised/anti-gravity treadmills, nor is it a classic fitness machine like the stationary bicycle or rowing machine. In fact, it isn’t a machine at all.
You know already because it is the section title, it is the noble training bench.
If not saving the best until last, what we did was save perhaps the most overlooked until last.
Training benches often get forgotten, they become part of the furniture.
Which is almost forgivable…After all, they are furniture.
But as anyone who has spent time in a gym (or more vexingly, trying to work out at home without one) knows, they are incredibly useful. The Swiss-army knife of gym equipment.
They might not do everything for you, but they provide an incredible amount of versatility and support. With a bit of training or instruction, these can become a staple of low-impact workouts, allowing older members to access and train muscles that would otherwise take significant strain to train.
Interested in how to innovate and grow your independent Gym or Fitness Club?
If our article has got you questioning and reflecting on parts of independent gym and fitness club management that sometimes go unchallenged, you are in the right place!
The latest Gym Owner’s Workshop conference will be covering equipment, where to purchase it, why to purchase it and how we promote it for independent gym owners across Ireland and the United Kingdom!
Taking place at The Talbot Hotel Stillorgan, Dublin The Gym Owners Workshop is a focal point for fitness industry knowledge, specialising in techniques and knowledge for independent gym and fitness club owners.
Building on the momentum of the Gym Owners Workshop 2022, the 2023 event is promising to be even better, with more talks and more sponsors!
Our partners for the event over at Balance Leisure will be giving an event-leading talk entitled “How to Navigate Suppliers and Contracts To Get The Best Deal On Your Gym Equipment”
If our article has convinced you that a re-examination of how your business approaches gym equipment then don’t delay, tickets are live now!