The days of selectorized gym equipment machines are behind us, yet we have been slow as an industry to make the investment to upgrade to the proper equipment. An important aspect of member retention and use is making sure the current offerings of the gym meet the users’ demands.
The current trend is for more personalized, functional training programs, usually with specific goals of improving performance. The key categories of performance are flexibility/mobility, strength, power, endurance and recovery. Here are some highly recommended pieces of equipment that every club should consider offering to its members and guests for each of these areas:
• Flexibility and mobility are often grouped together and should be thought of in terms of equipment that gets the body moving better. Basic items like foam rollers, massage sticks, and stretch straps are a great place to start, preparing the body for more intense movements. Adding mobility sticks, and even a stretch cage, aids in injury prevention. Having a variety of resistance bands of different lengths and widths, along with stability balls, not only helps to train for stability, but also for developing flexibility in different positions. Most importantly, appropriate space in the gym is key to inviting a member to utilize these modalities for training.
• Strength equipment is at the foundation of any gym, and making sure you have an appropriate variety to meet all of the individual’s needs is important. Free weights are the highest in demand, next to cardio equipment, at the majority of gyms. To allow for strength training that is golf-specific, the use of dumbbells, kettlebells, squat racks, and weight vests is ideal. Specific training bars with a wide range of strength plates, such a hex bar (also known as a trap bar) can set a gym apart from others,
• Power development is where most gyms fall markedly short in their offerings. Power training involves speed, highlighting the importance of having an appropriate facility layout to ensure safety. Having a variety of sizes and weights of medicine balls and a soft, plyometric box of varying heights for power training are essential. For less of an investment, longer resistance-band options, a cable cross machine or a Keiser functional trainer are all effective in power training. Golf-specific swing-speed trainers, such as SuperSpeed Golf, can help connect the dots from training to golf performance.
• Typically, country club gyms have plenty of cardio equipment. But expanding current offerings of treadmills, ellipticals and stationary bikes will allow for a better correlation to golf performance demands. Such equipment would include battle ropes, sleds and versa climbers. Stationary bikes with air resistance, such as the SCHWINN AIRDYNEX, along with a rowing erg and heart-rate monitors can round out a gym that is nicely outfitted for cardiovascular development and endurance.
• Finally, the hottest trend in fitness today is recovery. Recovery equipment promotes relaxation and increased blood flow, which allows individuals to train harder more frequently. Modalities can range from simple, handheld vibration guns and trigger-point sticks to saunas, hot tubs, and steam rooms. Taking recovery to the next level with anti-gravity chairs, compression boot systems, cryochambers and sensory deprivation tanks optimizes a member’s overall health and performance.
All aspects of performance should be taken into consideration when creating a layout for a gym with cutting-edge equipment. As trends shift, implementation and member training become increasingly critical for the effective use of performance equipment in a club gym setting. Ultimately, the move to specialized equipment will significantly improve members’ health and their overall experience.
Keke Lyles is recognized as a leader in human performance. With experience with professional athletes and Navy Special Warfare operators, he now leads fitness initiatives at The Bridges of Rancho Santa Fe (Calif.)