4 REASONS TO MOVE FROM A COMMERCIAL GYM TO A POWERLIFTING GYM
There’s never been a greater availability of choice when it comes to gym than right now in 2023
Each and every week, new gyms & often new gym CHAINS are opening up with the promise of results & offering different options with new experiences.
We love to see a more diverse offering because at the end of the day, whatever gives people a lower barrier for entry into the gym and gets them started on their goals is always going to be a great thing.
But it also means that the waters are starting to get a bit muddied - it can be genuinely very confusing to know which kind of gym to go to for you to get the most from your strength training, with more and more now putting their own spin on what’s considered ‘strength’ and even ‘powerlifting’.
While there is a lot on offer, there is rarely going to be any better decision for your strength training, health, fitness and future goals than making an investment in joining up with a dedicated powerlifting gym.
When it comes to getting strong, knowing the ins and outs of powerlifting, and how to get the most from your training while making you feel a part of a time, you cannot go past joining a facility dedicated to exactly that!
So let’s take a look at the top four reasons why it’s a GREAT decision to make a move from a commercial gym and into a powerlifting gym today.
Let’s start with one of the most fundamental and important aspects of your lifting experience - the equipment you’re actually going to be using
While a lot of gym equipment can look similar from the surface, there are actually some major differences in quality, accuracy and accessibility that we want to highlight today
Because a standard commercial gym operates with a membership base of anywhere from 3000-5000 members, much of the equipment that gets purchased is at wholesale and dedicated for a more broad audience
This makes it more commercially viable for facilities to replace this equipment when it becomes damaged or needs repair, and allows people to need slightly less specialised understanding to be able to use it
However this also means that a lot is lost in quality - barbells with little to no knurling, or knurling that wears out very quickly, means a far more difficult time holding onto the bars
A lower quality bar will ‘whip’ much more throughout the set, often compromising your centre of balance and limiting your ability to stick with a hard set or give your best effort as often as you’d like
The plates are often rubberized, which means they’re far more prone to inaccuracy with the advertised weight (sometimes being off by as much as 500g+) and much thicker, so they will sit further away from the centre of the bar, exacerbating the bar whip and movement even more!
Not to mention the issues with frequent wear, tear & breakdown due to the sheer volume of people using this gear on a daily basis.
Where Powerlifting Gyms Get it Right
Even the most popular powerlifting gyms often operate with a smaller membership base - gyms tend to be very team focused, and even here at Ethos Strength we really pride ourselves on knowing every single one of our members.
That means we can make a greater investment in far higher quality equipment from reputable brands.
This is doubly important, because all of the powerlifting gear that is used within the gym should be competition specific - meaning you get the opportunity to train on not only higher quality gear, but the EXACT equipment you’ll be competing with.
That means no nasty surprises on competition day, and that you will have the confidence of always lifting to the highest possible level.
Because of the smaller membership base, we are able to maintain our equipment to a far higher level too - daily spot checks and maintenance are a regular part of our daily routine to make sure everything is in working order.
The higher quality equipment means that you’re often training on ‘stiff’ bars, or power bars - while it may seem intimidating and can throw you off at first, this is actually a very good thing.
Not only are you going to be getting a more accurate assessment of your ‘true’ level of effort without assistance from a whipping bar, but your training will massively benefit from the level of control & bracing you can now execute when you lift, as you no longer have to worry about excessive movement.
We also use calibrated steel plates, rather than rubberized or bumper plates - meaning the plate is thinner, so closer to the centre of gravity, and also INCREDIBLY accurate with its advertised weight (within 10 grams!).
Throw in some custom machines for accessories that are equally as well looked after, not to mention COMPLETELY ACCESSIBLE because of the smaller membership sizes, and you’ll have access to the best maintained, highest quality equipment with no lines - pretty perfect for crushing your goals.
When you train, you want to be able to give it your all.
The reasons why you choose to focus intently on your training on a given day might vary - it could be to push your competition efforts forward, to hit a new PR, because you are only a few weeks out from a major meet, or simply because you’ve had a bad day and need to turn your attention inwards.
What matters is that when you are in an environment where you can focus on your needs, you’re more likely to feel fulfilled from the training that you do.
While commercial gyms can be fun, they’re often filled with distractions.
We’ve all seen the memes, the gym-fail videos etc. Much of that is harmless and purely people giving their best effort with the information they have available to them at the time, but if you’re truly wanting to see progress in your efforts you want to make sure that the environment you find yourself in actually reflects that.
Where Powerlifting Gyms Get it Right
There is always going to be a far more focused, goal driven environment at a powerlifting gym because of the nature of the sport & its community.
A great analogy when thinking about the importance of mentality, culture & attitude with the training going on around you is that ‘iron sharpens iron’.
When you are training in an environment where people possess national or world level experience, have competed at the highest levels within the sport, have been training for a long time, have an eye for detail and are dedicated to seeing the people around them succeed then it creates an environment that brings out the best in you.
Because of the team-focused nature of powerlifting within a powerlifting gym, it also means that the people around you are more likely to support your EFFORT than a specific weight.
Of all of the powerlifting gyms I have visited and been a part of over the world throughout the years, the thing that gets acknowledged most is not necessarily how heavy someone lifts but how hard they try in the pursuit of it - that is what we love to see, and what we dedicated our environment to.
When you train in a gym that is centred around the right mental approach, you cannot fail.
In a commercial environment, it’s easy to become simply another face in the crowd.
Most commercial and franchise-model gyms are built around one solitary statistic - VOLUME.
They want to see a high volume of people coming in, joining, and allowing the business to grow.
While it might seem shocking, the reality is that 27% of people who purchase commercial gym memberships attend less than once in a 12 month period, and the average attendance across all memberships is 1.5-2.3x per month.
That doesn’t paint a strong sense of community.
It’s absolutely possible to find people that you get along with at these gyms, and people that you may be able to build a relationship with - but because of the many different reasons people often go along with the high turnover, commercial gym environments are often isolating, leaving people feeling disconnected & unvalued.
Where Powerlifting Gyms Get it Right
At a powerlifting gym, you’re immediately going to find common ground with people. It’s powerlifting.
You’re going to be training with like minded people who all share the same purpose - to challenge themselves and to see their team mates succeed in strength training.
That looks different for each person - what is a major accomplishment to one person might be an every day effort to another more experienced lifter, but that doesn’t take away the value of it - you are all there as a team to support each other.
There is no better feeling than walking under the bar for a tough set, knowing the challenge you’re up against, but having the confidence of your team at your back and hearing them cheering you on as you finish that final rep.
I have never felt stronger than when I know my team are right behind me - honestly, as a coach and as an athlete, it’s about as close to invincible as you’re ever going to feel.
And that’s not including the amazing friendships and relationships that can develop from a tighter more familiar community.
It isn’t just limited to what we do in the gym - we get the opportunity to meet people who genuinely change our lives for the better, who we love to see, and who we especially love to train with.
4. SUPPORTING LOCAL BUSINESS
When you invest in a powerlifting gym, you’re investing in supporting local business.
Franchise gyms & commercial gyms can look great from the outside - but often lack the heart & soul approach of an owner, team & community that understands you and hears out your needs.
Joining a powerlifting gym means you’re making a choice to support being apart of someone else’s dream, and helping them really make a difference by offering something truly unique.
The chance to be a part of something like that truly is special, and can’t be found in another environment.
SO THERE YOU HAVE IT
Those are our big four reasons for making the switch from a commercial environment to a powerlifting environment in 2023.
Not only are you going to be levelling up your environment with elite equipment and a winning mindset, but you have the chance to make some incredible friendships along your strength training journeyReady to join? Contact us at email@example.com with ‘I AM IN’ along with your name and phone number, and we will take care of the rest!