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Running a CrossFit Facility Tips and guidance on how to open and operate a CrossFit gym.

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Old 02-02-2014, 05:32 AM   #1
Joey Scafidi
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CrossFit gym layout design

Hey guys,

We just signed the contract on a new building with over 5000sq ft. of training space!

I'm writing to ask if anyone here has experience with layout of equipment, designing of CrossFit gyms etc.

Yes, I could do it myself but I'm sure that someone has better ideas than I do and I want to do it right the first time.

I'll be able to post/send a more detailed layout this week but here's a VERY rough idea of what I want to do.

I'm pretty sold on the free standing rig versus the wall mounted. But not 100%.

Is there CrossFit company that consults on gym design/layout?

Thanks
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Old 02-02-2014, 02:45 PM   #2
Steinar Ţór Ólafsson
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Re: CrossFit gym layout design

First of all congratulations on your new space Joey!

In regards to your questions on gym layout here is my personal oppinion. So here is the background story:

I starting coaching at my current gym in Luxembourg in the fall of 2012. Previously I lived in Iceland where we have 9 boxes so I had been at different places and knew what I liked and didn't like.

At the point I came to my current gym it had already been put up and I had to work with how the space had already been put up (and what equipment had been bought). Last fall after few very successful months we got to expand so now we have one room about 300 square meters and the new one about 270 square meters.

* Standing rig is a huge waste of space. We have to place the rig a little bit away from the wall so people can actually swing on the pull up bars without hitting the wall. Therefore the space between the pull up rig and the wall is hardly never used. People also don't do anything inside the pull up rig in regards to regular workouts.

* * For the new space we went with the same strategy as we had seen in Crossfit Reykjavik (Annie Thorisdottir gym) where the pull up bars kind of hang over the floor space making the room underneath the pull up bar being usable for almost everything else when we are not doing pull ups.

* * We bought portable squat racks from Again Faster and can stack them together in the corner when we need the floor space or move them around regarding what is on the agenda. While in our old room where the squat racks are part of the standing rig dong movements from shoulder to overhead are hard to do in 2 out of the 4 racks. We don't want to have the rig too much away from the wall to have less floor space and doing it inside the rig is impossible unless you are not so tall (unfortunately strength doesn't follow size so we pair our people up regarding strength but not size).

* Aim for having as much usable floor space as you possibly can. At our box at least we are doing "traditional Crossfit exercises" for 90% of the time. As rent is expensive and we don't have that big of a space the more space we have occupied by some untraditional equipment the less space I have for people in the gym.

* * Let's face it the only way to run a successfull Crossfit affiliate that will not get you out of business is working around the economies of scale or have the membership fee really expensive. But if you aren't Chris Spealler or a big name that really sells than you are going to have a hard time doing that.

* * Everybody want's to train at the same hours. Right before work, at lunch time and right after work. These are the peak hours at all gyms. We try to accommodate as many people at these times as we possibly can. It's better for your business to hire extra staff to keep the coachesarticipants ratio normal than renting bigger facility thats hardly used for the remaining 18 hours in the day but you still need to pay rent for. Which brings me to the next point:

** Why do you wan't to put turf on the floor? (here I think your are talking about the stuff I could call "fake grass") I have been in gyms as Butchers Garage in Copenhagen and gyms in Iceland where there are turfs on the floor. For majority of the time they aren't used for anything. If you are not sure that you will be using this turf on very regular basis I would skip it (keep it for later) and have regular flooring. For some occasional sledpushing you will survive with out it and it will be in your way when you need it for everything else (remind you again this is my personal oppinion).

Hopefully these pointers will help or gives you a broader perspective on things.

Best regards,
Steinar
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Old 02-03-2014, 01:03 AM   #3
Adam Morden
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Re: CrossFit gym layout design

Steinar makes some great points and suggestions. I'm also a fan of portable squat stands over a set rig - the rigs sure can look cool but they can completely dominate a space. You might have a lot of difficulty mounting pull up bars from the ceiling though - maybe if you put them on an end wall?

I've been in boxes that loved and used their turf all the time. and in others where all the turf did was collect dirt and grime and take up otherwise usable space. If you love to program sled pulls and pushes in say 50% plus of your workouts its probably worth it - if not I would skip it as well.

A counterpoint to rigs - if you really love them (and they do look awesome - really give that CrossFit feel) you could also put one right down the middle where the stuff that's marked "will be gone" is and use it as almost a space deliminator - giving you 2 smaller spaces to work with, instead of just 1 5k space. having a clearly defines set of spaes would allow you to run smaller classes on one side with maybe either specialty classes or personal training or some other option like intros on the other side. This is doable in 1 big open space but harder to do.

The big things that I've found make an affiliate run smoother and easier on a day to day basis is figuring out the paths people will take to get equipment and put it away - and make that as clean and short as possible.

if you email me I'd be happy to chat about where you might want to put your gear and tell you the mistakes I've made in the past so you can avoid them =)

adam@rhinofit.ca
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Old 02-03-2014, 09:17 AM   #4
Joey Dussel
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Re: CrossFit gym layout design

I've planned and set up three gyms now and visited >20 for conversations with the owners.

I'd argue that the free standing (FS) rig could be better than a wall mounted rig because the FS rig would allow you to use J Cups as squat racks around the entire perimeter of the rig...while the wall mount only has one side available for squatting.

A rig reduces your set-up / take down time immensely. If you can avoid "wasting" time setting out squat racks, then you can get more done in the hour...getting more good training done = greater improvements in fitness = more members as word spreads.

And when you factor in the attachments (Dip bar, kids pull up bar, safety spotter arms, etc), I wouldn't trade our rig set up for portable squat racks ever.

I also think it would be a good idea to use the rig to delineate the gym space into separate spaces. A rig set up that way plus 2-3 large rolling whiteboards (check out CF Verve to see a great example) would be an excellent way to run two similar classes simultaneously (like a CF teens class and a CF group class, etc).

Talking mostly about Rogue stuff here, but a 4 foot wide rig will play totally differently than a 6 foot wide rig.


I'd actually choose matting over turf as well, for a number of reasons I'll explain if you're interested.

I find this stuff really fun and exciting, so if you post a bird's eye view sketch of the space, I'd definitely like to participate...only if you promise to report back on how it all works out so that I can keep learning to!
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Old 02-03-2014, 04:38 PM   #5
Corey Coleman
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Re: CrossFit gym layout design

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joey Dussel View Post
Talking mostly about Rogue stuff here, but a 4 foot wide rig will play totally differently than a 6 foot wide rig.

Can you elaborate? How do you feel they differ? I am contemplating going with a 4' infinity wall mount versus the 6', just to allow an extra few feet of floor space. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.
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Old 02-04-2014, 05:54 AM   #6
Joey Scafidi
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Re: CrossFit gym layout design

Hey guys,

Thanks for the feedback!

I should have the blue prints from the architect by the weekend. Will contact via email to consult further.

Thanks again!
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Old 02-04-2014, 12:03 PM   #7
Jesse Gray
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Re: CrossFit gym layout design

I have laid out a few gyms over the last couple years and just got finished setting up my own affiliate.
Key things to remember: Every affiliate has both general and specific needs. General needs are things like squat racks, pull up bars, etc. Specific needs are unique to your location. For example, at my box we don't have the ability to push sleds outside so I had to put turf inside to accomplish that. For our pull up rig, I had to use a free standing cage because we're in an old brick warehouse and mounting to the crumpling brick would have been very difficult.

So first, identify those needs. Next, think about what equipment you really need. How many times are you realistically going to program workouts with a GHD? GHD's take up lots of space and don't get used in WODs very often. Based on that, I only got one for use outside of WODs and we haven't had any issues.

Now, what I do is make an exact scale model of my floor space. Draw in all necessary details to scale (doors, windows, beams, etc) and then also make scale model footprints of your equipment (pull up rig, platforms, boxes, storage racks). You can then put you equipment footprints on top of your floor plan and move them around to get a pretty good idea of the flow, layout and potential infringement issues. There's probably a computer program that does this but I'm not good at the computers.

Finally, for a smaller space I really like having a free standing pull up rig. Mine is from Rogue and the modular design is incredibly versatile. I have the I-24 rig (24' long X7' wide). This rig gives me 5 squat/bench racks, well over a dozen spots for pull ups, a high extension for hanging rings from, a rig mounted reverse hyper, 5 wall ball target mounts and a flying pull up rig mount which I hang another set of high rings from. With this rig I can accommodate up to 15 athletes at a time (that gets pretty crowded but you get the picture). Additionally, I have modular dip stations and extra pull up bars that can be quick changed in and out and for any height with the pull of one pin.

If space is an issue, these rigs are awesome.
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Old 02-04-2014, 12:35 PM   #8
Christopher Morris
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Re: CrossFit gym layout design

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesse Gray View Post
Now, what I do is make a scale model of my floor space. Draw in all necessary details to scale (doors, windows, beams, etc) and then also make scale model footprints of your equipment (pull up rig, platforms, boxes, storage racks). You can then put you equipment footprints on top of your floor plan and move them around to get a pretty good idea of the flow, layout and potential infringement issues. There's probably a computer program that does this but I'm not good at the computers.
^^^ I second this. Seeing a scale of your layout is a great planning tool.

Once you've planned it scale on paper, I'd also recommend doing a layout in your actual space with tape. Put a mark of tape where the corners of your rig might be, other shelves or equipment. Then walk out the way your clients will use the gym. If they get a wall ball and walk to the targets, is their anything in the way? Could there be a shorter, more efficient path if you changed the setup? Are the barbells and bumpers close to the rack, but also close to where you'd do Olympic weightlifting? Will a warm-up area interfere with the previous class putting equipment away? Etc. Taking extra time to plan your setup pays off in the long run.
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Old 02-04-2014, 01:12 PM   #9
Joey Dussel
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Re: CrossFit gym layout design

We did 44 feet of the wall mounted Rogue Rig, before there was all the Monster, Monster Light, etc. options.

The 6 foot depth is superior to the 4 foot in our set up because 6 feet of bar from the wall is two pull up "stations" (aka two athletes can work side by side). If there was only 4 feet of depth, then only one athlete could be in that space. Also from a coaching standpoint, the 2 feet of extra space is about perfect for getting in close to help / coach / spot / whatever an athlete. With rings hanging from the bars, the 6 foot width gives you the ability to stagger the rings (one set close to the wall, the next set nearer to the uprights) and have more athletes doing the same work in less space.
Finally, if the workout requires both weightlifting from racks and floor space, we simply switch the J cups to the inside of the rig and do our lifting there (nothing overhead, because they could hit the pull up bars). I wouldn't feel comfortable having some squat in a 4 foot space, but 6 feet is fine.

We have the 44 feet of the six foot rig in a 28 foot wide by 56 foot long space and I wouldn't trade it for a 4 footer.

-Joey
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Old 02-04-2014, 01:38 PM   #10
Corey Coleman
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Re: CrossFit gym layout design

Thanks Joey, that really helps a lot. You make some very good points. I think we may have to revisit our rig plans... for the 15th time now. Measure twice, cut once I guess.
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