More Facilities Making Room for Functional Fitness | Athletic Business

More Facilities Making Room for Functional Fitness

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Photo of Nicholas Recreation Center, courtesy of University of Wisconsin

It has muscled its way into the mainstream and demanded space for battle ropes, plyo boxes, slam walls and suspension rigs. Functional fitness training is a relatively recent trend that’s showing no sign of weakening.

“You know, 10 years ago, 15 years ago, we weren’t even programming functional training spaces in our recreation centers. They didn’t exist,” says Erik Kocher, an architect at Hastings+Chivetta. “You had the classic weight room with selectorized equipment, free weights and cardio equipment. And then usually a stretching space. It’s also a little bit of a crossover to what varsity athletic programs, and particularly football programs, were already doing, which was training with sleds. They were kind of the beginnings of functional training spaces.”

Colleen McKenna, an architect at CannonDesign, says she’s also seen the fitness center evolve dramatically over the past decade or longer, especially in terms of how space is allocated. “You still have the core of it, but there’s just a lot more happening and a lot more diversity in the offerings,” McKenna says. “What used to be basically three zones: you had your heavy lifting; your strength, smaller muscle groups; and then you had cardio. And they were basically 30 percent each, and 10 percent for stretching. And what we’ve seen happen is those three spaces are now 10 spaces. Now there are areas for functional training, which might be indoor turf, might be bodyweight exercises, might be small group training opportunities, could be incline training, it could be personal training with a small area associated with that.”

Here’s a look at some of the latest functional fitness spaces accommodated by state-of-the-art athletics and recreation facilities from across the country.

Some 5,000 square feet of strength training area within the University of Connecticut Athletic District includes a 2,360-square-foot section of ¾-inch, non-infill synthetic turf, as well as a poured-in-place concrete slam wall. Available equipment includes bands, battle ropes, plyo boxes and dozens of medicine ballsSome 5,000 square feet of strength training area within the University of Connecticut Athletic District includes a 2,360-square-foot section of ¾-inch, non-infill synthetic turf, as well as a poured-in-place concrete slam wall. Available equipment includes bands, battle ropes, plyo boxes and dozens of medicine ballsPhoto by Robert Benson Photography

North Carolina State University’s Wellness and Recreation Center takes an indoor-outdoor approach to functional fitness.North Carolina State University’s Wellness and Recreation Center takes an indoor-outdoor approach to functional fitness.Photo courtesy of North Carolina State University

North Carolina State University’s Wellness and Recreation Center takes an indoor-outdoor approach to functional fitness.North Carolina State University’s Wellness and Recreation Center takes an indoor-outdoor approach to functional fitness.Photo courtesy of North Carolina State University

Plyo boxes, battle ropes and a heavy bag complement the bodyweight training rig inside Central Connecticut State University’s C.J. Huange Recreation Center.Plyo boxes, battle ropes and a heavy bag complement the bodyweight training rig inside Central Connecticut State University’s C.J. Huange Recreation Center.Photo by Trent Bell

The City of Westerville has moved fitness into the fun zone by taking advantage of a recent expansion of OH Community Center to add an indoor adventure course. The course measures 58 feet long by 16 feet wide and stands 13 feet high. It occupies nearly 2,000 square feet of space — including circulation clearance, bonded-foam carpet and 4-inch-thick crash mats — and is comprised of various ropes, rings and handhold challenges, as well as stop and start buttons and TV monitors that track and display the best course-completion times for each day.The City of Westerville has moved fitness into the fun zone by taking advantage of a recent expansion of OH Community Center to add an indoor adventure course. The course measures 58 feet long by 16 feet wide and stands 13 feet high. It occupies nearly 2,000 square feet of space — including circulation clearance, bonded-foam carpet and 4-inch-thick crash mats — and is comprised of various ropes, rings and handhold challenges, as well as stop and start buttons and TV monitors that track and display the best course-completion times for each day.Photo by Kmiecik Imagery, courtesy of William Architects

Even the storage unit is up for varied and heavy duty use in the functional fitness space within the Retriever Activities Center at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.Even the storage unit is up for varied and heavy duty use in the functional fitness space within the Retriever Activities Center at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.Photo by Matthew Arielly, courtesy of Sasaki

Functional fitness can fit anywhere, be it outside the footprint of Trail Winds Recreation Center in Thornton, Colo.Functional fitness can fit anywhere, be it outside the footprint of Trail Winds Recreation Center in Thornton, Colo.photo by James Ray Spahnn

Functional fitness can fit anywhere, be it tucked into a corner of the nearby Aurora Family YMCA at Wheatlands.Functional fitness can fit anywhere, be it tucked into a corner of the nearby Aurora Family YMCA at Wheatlands.photo by Dedi Rusli

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