Requirements for Spacing of Workout Equipment


Whether you are designing the floor plan of a home gym or purchasing a membership at a fitness center, the layout of the exercise equipment will determine the effectiveness of your workout. Equipment should be spaced to maximize efficiency by allowing for an easy transition between machines targeting similar muscle groups. Select a layout that is most conducive to your fitness needs.

General Equipment Spacing Guidelines

  • Exercise equipment should be placed according to the targeted muscle group and the danger of the exercise. Thus, all equipment that targets the chest muscles, such as the bench press, the inclined press and the chest fly, should be grouped in the same vicinity. This will allow for a more efficient workout by limiting the travel time between exercises. In addition, equipment that targets secondary muscle groups should be included in that particular section of the floor plan. For instance, chest workouts also target the triceps. Many exercise routines require that you train the primary and secondary muscle groups in the same workout. Leave as much space as is required to prevent a machine from impairing the movement of an adjacent piece of equipment.

Public Gyms

  • Public gyms have much more space than home gyms. As a result, they are able to offer a larger selection of exercise equipment that will train a wider range of muscle groups. With such a plethora of equipment, public gyms are more concerned with placing related machines in one area because they want to make the workout as efficient as possible for their members. Generally, public gyms have a few feet of space between adjacent exercise equipment. This is for health purposes, because members do not want to perform exercises while someone is coughing next to them. Although public gyms charge membership fees, the vast selection of equipment and the spacing of the machines provide their members with thorough and efficient workouts.

Home Gyms

  • Home gyms are less concerned with the number of machines and the spacing of the equipment. The space in a home gym is limited. Thus, select equipment that allows for several exercises and place the machines as close together as possible. A home gym is meant for a quick, effective workout because it has fewer options than a public gym. However, refrain from simply filling the area with equipment. Leave enough space for movement and an open area for stretching and resting. A gym that is too cluttered and packed will make it difficult to have a productive workout. Because a home gym has a very limited number of users, health concerns are not as pertinent of an issue.

Free Space

  • The free space in a gym floor plan is just as important as the layout of the exercise equipment. Free weight exercise equipment is not limited to a particular area. Dumbbells can roll and weight plates can drop. Include enough empty space around free weight stations to prevent possible injury and allow for a more dynamic workout. Also, dedicate a specific area of the gym to stretching, abdominal exercises and core workouts. This area should be free of any workout equipment and as far as possible from free weight stations.

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  • Photo Credit the gym image by Rick Sargeant from
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