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Get the Most Out of Your Group X Studio’s Design

Get the Most Out of Your Group X Studio’s Design

How do you get the most out of your studio design? Whether you are trying to up the quality of your studio in a larger club or create a free-standing studio model, there are a few key elements to consider in the studio to maximize the design.

First, identify all the programs or classes you want to run in the studio. You want to have a firm grasp of the following in relation to your classes before you start designing:

Number of people per class: This will determine the amount of square feet you’ll need. If you are running a studio model, it is important because the number of participants directly impacts your bottom line.

Number of classes you are going to run and schedule: There are only so many hours in a day and during peak times. This analysis may tell you that you need more than one studio to accommodate your program or you need to reduce your program.

The second item to consider are the “props.” Do you need TRX bars, yoga mats, kettlebells, ballet bars, etc.? This is very important because it can impact the amount of storage you’ll need for one class’ accessories while another is in progress.

We typically recommend an adjacent storage room that has a through-circulation with an entrance and an exit. This allows members to move in an orderly fashion before and after class to pick up or put away the equipment, and not have to backtrack through the same door others are coming through. A separate room keeps the floor space clear in the studio, increases class size and gets unused equipment out of the way of the class in progress, thus reducing opportunities for injury.

The third element to consider is lighting. Some classes have specific lighting requirements, others desire lighting for ambiance. Lighting can add drama to your class when done well, and make your class feel sterile when done poorly. Remember, studio classes have an opportunity to be a form of entertainment. Lighting can do that.

Building on using lighting as part of the entertainment, the fourth item is technology. There are so many new technologies: video screens, synchronized lighting systems, tracking systems and audio systems that can make your studio unique. It is imperative you discuss these options with your design team prior to starting the design process, because it may require expertise of an audio-visual consultant. You also want to understand what it will take to implement the technologies, maintain them and keep the content running in them current, appropriate and engaging.

Great studio classes are a way to build community among your members, and the competition for those members has never been more fierce, so you want a studio that helps you gain and retain members.  This starts with great instructors, but giving them a studio that looks and functions great goes a long way toward those goals.


Bryan Dunkelberger is a principal for S3 Design and has designed health clubs for over 15 years. His firm specializes in designing clubs that maximize the member’s experience. For more information email bdunkelberger@s3design-inc.com.


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