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Optimizing the Foundations of Group Exercise Rooms

Optimizing the Foundations of Group Exercise Rooms

Remember, many exercisers spend time in your group ex rooms over the years. Ensure a positive experience by installing the best flooring you can afford.

Group exercise has evolved significantly over the past 25 years, and today remains very popular at health clubs, student recreation centers and corporate fitness facilities. Many clubs have several group ex rooms to accommodate demand and different formats. And specialty studios based solely on group exercise are thriving and continuing to add facilities, such as Orangetheory Fitness, SoulCycle, CorePower Yoga, Pure Barre and more.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, group exercise ranks No. 2 on the top 10 fitness trends, jumping four spots from 2017 to 2018. Where hi-low aerobics and step were the backbones of a great group ex program years ago, today, the variety of classes is constantly expanding. Facilities offering group ex programs now are expected to include multiple formats, including strength training, boot camp, HIIT, indoor cycling, low-impact cardio, circuit training, Zumba, yoga, and Pilates.

Group ex not only draws members, but also is critical for exercise adherence and retention. It fosters a palpable energy and community within any fitness center, helping build relationships and camaraderie that contribute to the success of the business. With the value of and variety in group exercise, it’s important to have well-equipped rooms that are aesthetically pleasing and versatile. And it all starts at the foundation.

Fitness flooring also has evolved and changed over the years, and plays an integral role in comfort, safety, performance and ambiance in group ex rooms. Faced with a wide selection of surfaces, fitness centers should consider the following when making their choices:

  1. Modality – Different activities, such as Zumba, cycling and CrossFit-type workouts are enhanced by various surfaces, so if you have separate spaces available, choose flooring that best accommodates each activity. For instance, suspended real or synthetic wood flooring is best for dance classes like Zumba; rubber flooring is ideal for cycling where sweat and water are constants; and thicker, vulcanized rubber flooring is ideal for boot camp or CrossFit regimens.Bamboo flooring adds elegance to yoga and Pilates studios; rubber flooring with inlaid markings can guide circuit or functional training routines, and outdoor exercise areas need weather-resistant surfaces.If you only have one or two studios, select multi-purpose options that can best facilitate the variety of classes. One ideal product is Exceed from PLAE, which has a randomized wood grain surface, with the unique PLAEtech shock layer underneath, for optimal force absorption and energy return.
  2. Shock absorption – Related to the specific classes in each room, consider the amount of shock absorption needed and evaluate flooring accordingly. Of course, HIIT workouts and heavy strength and plyometric sessions require more impact absorption than regimens like Pilates, yoga and Tai Chi.Manufacturers now offer thicker rubber to boost shock absorption and reduce vibration, especially for studios that are located on building floors above ground level. Suspended hardwood floors and specially designed rubber surfaces, such as Achieve from PLAE, typically include a shock layer that facilitates force absorption as well as energy return. Used in premium health clubs worldwide, Achieve is highly durable, with solid-grip technology and maximum wear resistance.
  3. Sound mitigation – Gyms are loud, with many competing sounds, and the proper surfaces can help minimize noise for a more pleasant environment. Newer rubber flooring offers performance acoustics, such as hollow core stanchions, that can capture and isolate sound effectively, which is particularly important for studios in mixed-use buildings and densely populated facilities where structure-borne sound can travel. This technology also can help attenuate noise from a packed cycling room, for instance, that is located next to a yoga studio.
  4. ┬áSafety – With shock absorption, energy return and uniform elasticity, flooring helps enhance exercise performance and reduce the risk of injuries from excessive impact and falls. In addition, check for slip resistance, friction coefficients and antibacterial and antimicrobial properties.
  5. Durability – A busy studio regularly hosting crowds of exercisers that are jumping, dropping weights and sweating naturally results in more wear and tear on floors than a smaller room where only a few yoga and mat Pilates classes are held. Flooring today is sophisticated enough to offer different levels of durability based on usage, along with resistance to indentations, tears, split seams, warping and more. Ensure that you clearly understand how the floor is designed to withstand various workouts and its life expectancy.
  6. Aesthetics – Flooring should complement the club’s image, with high-end, luxury selections for premium facilities, such as hardwood flooring, and complementary colors where appropriate instead of basic black rubber. Some flooring options can incorporate club logos or artwork as well.
  7. Sustainability – Eco-friendly still matters, so choosing materials that are recycled and recyclable, or that are manufactured with minimal impact to the environment, demonstrates your commitment to the environment and creates a powerful, promotable “green” message about your facility. Look for manufacturers that collaborate with the U.S. Green Build Council (USGBC) and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), along with various environmental certifications for specific products.
  8. Maintenance – Some floors are easier than others to maintain and keep looking great. Before selecting flooring, review the manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations, and confirm that you can consistently implement them to maximize the performance and life of the floor.
  9. Price – Everyone has a budget, but skimping on flooring can come back to haunt you, with potential performance and quality deficits, a need for repairs, maintenance issues or simply a short life. With fitness flooring, you definitely get what you pay for, so don’t simply pick the cheapest option without doing your homework. In the long run, it’s better to pay more for your foundations, which deliver ROI in terms of aesthetics, performance and longevity.

Remember, many exercisers spend time in your group ex rooms over the years. Ensure a positive experience by installing the best flooring you can afford.

 

For more information about premium flooring options for group ex studios, click here.



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