GYMetrix - Blog - Unleash the power of free weights

Unleash the power of free weights

Free weights are one of the most popular types of gym equipment today. In our equipment rankings, compiled from surveys with +25,000 gym goers, free weights are men's most popular, but they are also in the top 10 for women. In fact, our studies show that of all the complaints that people have with gyms, the lack of free weights is the most common.

We have worked with more than 150 gyms and virtually every analysis we do reveals the gym has not provided enough free weights capacity to cater for their customers demand.

Operators are reluctant to invest in more free weights because they're scared of attracting those stereotypical Meatheads who grunt and groan over heavy weights. Understandably, operators want their gyms to appeal to both men and women, but this shouldn't preclude them expanding their free weights offer, especially when this is what their members want.

We have come back to clients and remeasured equipment usage after a refurb, and wherever they have expanded their Free Weights sections the demand for that equipment has grown more than any other type.

Angel centre it grew 75%,

Lagoon centre grew 92%,

On - X Linwood grew 123%,

Scotstoun it grew a massive 253%!

This illustrates the huge pent up demand there is for this equipment that is not being adequately catered to.

Here are our tips for expanding free weights areas successfully and keeping members happy:

  • Don't place all free weights in one area. This results in a Testosterone filled area in busy periods packed with male members, which deters females from using the space. Instead, split free weights areas up around the gym with spaces for light and medium weights as well as the area offering a full selection of weights.
  • Our research shows that dumbbells of 8-18kg are the most popular. Shortages of these and benches most dissatisfaction among members, so make sure you have enough.
  • Limit your heaviest dumbbell to 40kg to ensure you don't attract the really big guys who can be intimidating to other users.
  • House heavier weights at the far end of the gym and use resistance equipment to act as a buffer between this area and the spaces where female members work out.
  • Don't locate cardio kit backing onto Free Weights areas, or locate mats or worse still, abductor and adductors facing the heavy weights section - female users won't be happy.
  • Locate lighter weights section as far away as possible from the heavy weight area to ensure that women and those men who prefer lighter weights feel most comfortable. This will also prevent people from moving equipments such as benches and dumbbells between the areas at busy periods.
  • Enforce the gym etiquette you expect. If you don't want weights dropped, not put away and shouting then give your staff the authority to reprimand members when necessary. Don't be afraid to ban anyone who continues to flout the rules, you may lose one member, but will make others happier as a result.