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Designing an Efficient, Dynamic Functional Training Space Requires Multiple Perspectives

functional training

Renovating or redesigning your facility to create a functional training space? Be sure not to overlook the most critical perspective — that of your existing and future members: the “end user.”

Ironically, the end user is rarely fully considered in an operator’s functional design process. And if this is the case, the entire renovation could be set up for failure before a hammer hits a nail. 

The end user’s needs for the space must be best anticipated and deeply imagined. A functional design professional who specializes in the planning and development of exercise spaces can vividly imagine the use of the products, tools and digital platforms within the environment, so as to ensure a tight integration of equipment, other users and additional facility constraints.

Clearly, the plan must begin with the intended purpose of the space. What kinds of programming do you plan to offer and facilitate? What equipment is needed? Will you be offering modalities that require suspension, such as strap work, heavy bags, aerial training, etc.? Will you include speed work and turf drills that require special flooring? What types of accessories will be required? How will you store everything? Who will guide and assist the workout, or is there an alternative solution to do so? Will the space support future shifts in configurations, growth and usage? Envisioning all of these variables is essential.  

In terms of space, the plan must then take into account the size of the equipment and the working room required during their utilization. It must also address the total number of people occupying the area at a given time, and if and how they interact together. 

Functional design accounts for adjacencies and usage type of all objects and how they relate to one another. Further, the plan must concern itself with the existing constraints of the space, including elevations, area, lighting, plumbing, electrical, noise and applicable floor covering aspects.

Also, it’s important to be fully ruminated in the user’s experience in terms of guidance. Are there resources available to assist or provide exercise ideas, assistance with form, and safety compliance? How will the end user know how to act, interact and what to do in the space? A digital platform can offer users a robust workout experience in an otherwise unsupervised area, greatly decreasing the intimidation factor and ensuring your space is accessible to all.

Combining principles of the anticipated movement and usage patterns, the right equipment and accessories, and the best use of space are the skill sets of a functional fitness design specialist. He or she is skilled in the art of integrating the exercise considerations of functional fitness with the design principles of functional design.

When effective planning and design are incorporated with the end user and operator perspectives in mind, a beautiful synergy emerges that ensures safety, traffic flow, consistency in programming and strong client engagement.

Kim Kisner is a marketing and content strategist for Aktiv Solutions. Aktiv designs and supplies dynamic training spaces inclusive of a full suite of digital self-guided training systems. She can be reached at kkisner@fitnessventuresintl.com.


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