In an ever changing fitness industry, it's no surprise that gym operators are constantly talking about what developments and gym design trends are next to sweep across gyms.

Instead of hanging our hats on weird and wonderful training 'fad' predictions, we have put together the top 5 emerging gym design trends for 2017 that every gym owner should seriously consider.

1. The HIIT Zone

The arrival of the HIIT training zone is a concept already being embraced by gyms of all types. High profile operators choosing to open boutique HIIT style training facilities have reinforced the need for all operators to seriously consider adding this type of training to their offering.

This increased demand means club managers may need to reshuffle their space. HIIT requires flexible floor space for circuits, specialist training rigs, bodyweight workouts, and more performance orientated activities including agility, plyometric and functional movements.

Many sites now include specialist HIIT cardio items such as the Speedfit, SPARC, Versaclimber, Jacobs Ladder and Concept 2, in place of traditional bikes and treadmills. These pieces of kit work perfectly in these zones as it enables users to jump on and off within this HIIT type of workout within circuits or as a group. This combines the rise in free weights, kettlebells, ropes, and other functional accessories that are becoming key features in these areas due to their versatility and mobility.

Most of these spaces will provide some open gym time for members but will work best when accompanied by a well thought out class structure and programme. Many feature standard 'workout of the day' programming and group sessions of around 10-16 depending on capacity.

This type of group training is slightly more broken up than standard exercise to music/studio classes where you have 40-50 minutes of solid work without the chance to interact with each other.  Team and partner work is also easy to incorporate and facilities doing this shouldn’t be surprised if they end up building micro-communities centred around this type of offering.

sprint track trend

2. Turf Sprint Tracks for Sleds & Tyre Flips

The functional training area is something so prominent in gyms today that we can no longer justify its inclusion in this article. We can however, focus in on the introduction of sprint tracks and areas making use of artificial turf or other innovative flooring solutions to create spaces where users can perform exercises like sled drags, prowler pushes and tyre flips which, were previously reserved for outdoor workouts. These prints tracks can be enhanced with the use of floor markings to indicate distance, start and finish lines, and even seperate track lengths.

It is also becoming popular to have designated areas on the gym floor using tracks and grids.  This is something many of our clients have been doing, and works well with the transition from one client to another. For example,creating warm up areas or seperate sections in group workouts. It enables more structure for groups and routine to sessions. Find out more about how to use floor markings to enhance group sessions in this article.


Boutique Studios - Indoor Cycling

3. Boutique Fitness as Sub Brands in Larger Sites

The increased competition to multifaceted operators from specialist studios and boutique offerings has forced many to reconsider their own provision for these exercise types.

This helps to keep members who enjoy a specialist training type, for example yoga, boxing, and indoor cycling, from moving away to a site where they perceive they’ll get a better standard of service. Lots of clubs are choosing to focus their marketing on increasing the perceived value of a class programme with a sub brand.

This could be a council site launching “Core” or “Revolution” as their new yoga or indoor cycle studios. This separation of service from the main brand can differentiate it and allow a more tailored marketing approach, targeting it at the members likely to engage with the service. This can also help to create a communities within a larger membership base that's centred around a shared enjoyment of that particular activity.

Weight lifting trend

4. The Continued Rise of Weightlifting & Powerlifting

With a steady rise in enthusiasm for free weights training among the general population it’s no surprise that over the past five years the average number of weightlifting platforms in a community or high street gym has vastly increased. If you consider a medium sized CrossFit gym, they’re likely to have capacity for Olympic weightlifting sessions with maybe 15 people training at once.

The huge popularity boost in CrossFit has turned their brand into one of the world’s most influential fitness movements, often to the distaste of many specialist strength coaches who might have a huge amount more knowledge and experience, especially in teaching the Olympic lifts.

We are anticipating the result of this to be a growth in the number of specialist lifting facilities, with powerlifting and weightlifting coaches/entrepreneurs seeing the potential that CrossFit has already capitalised on and helped to develop.

More strength training facilities will see the benefit in providing serious lifting support. No longer just for athletes and competitive lifters but for the growing cross section of the public interested in getting stronger. In all around facilities we’re going to see this manifest itself as further movement away from the traditional CV/Resistance approach towards a more balanced, traditional free weights equipment breakdown.

Functional rig trend

5. Traditional Studios Need to become Versatile Functional Spaces

The days of a versatile studio within a gym being a wood sprung floor, low ceiling, mirrored, wall barred room are now gone.

The new essentials when designing a functional studio are; agility and plyometric equipment, kettlebells, mats, medicine balls, gym balls, suspension trainers, slam balls, studio weights and other functional accessories. However, the modern equipment breakdown in these studios has broad design implications. To use spaces for kettlebell classes, sprung wood floors aren’t ideal because they’re liable to get damaged.

Many of the classes and exercise methods also require the use of overhead bars for bodyweight work or for hanging suspension straps on. This can be achieved by either a freestanding or wall mounted rig, both of which require a ceiling height of at least 3 metres. These rigs often also incorporate storage solutions to make accessing kit faster and easier. Ideal for back to back classes and small areas that may not have ideal storage elsewhere.

Studios being setup for alternative use is crucial, which is why light indoor bikes like the Origin OC5 and roll away ballet barre’s like the Fluidity Barre are ideal.


We are confident that adding any one of these latest gym design trends will help ensure a training facility stays current, up-to-date and meets the demands of their customers in 2017.

If you have any queries regarding the latest gym design trends, or would like to speak to our gym design experts about your vision, please get in touch or call us on 0333 2000 750.