Start-up Equipment?

T-Folks, I’m thinking about opening a personal training studio and wanted to know what you guys think the first five pieces of equiptment I should have. My list as of now is: 1-Power rack, 2-Dip/Chin station, 3-Olympic Flat Bench, 4-Lifting Platform, 5- Treadmill. By the way, if one of your suggestions is the Smith Machine, please disregard this post. Thanks, Folks!

Tap: Make that an ADJUSTABLE bench; Add a Preacher Bench…PowerBlocks are a space saver…and if you’re in America (and this is SERIOUS)…probably your most important “equipment” is Insurance. Don’t blow it off, 'bro…

Get some swiss balls and a reverse hyper.

No offence, Mufasa, but I don’t agree with the Preacher bench suggestion…Our man is better off getting another multi-use piece of equipment (the powerblocks you suggested are an excellent choice for a small stock of clients). As far as I’m concerned, a preacher bench would be a waste of cash. Perhaps add some less-common cardio equipment (once your weights are in), such as rowing machines, a climbmax (rock climbing motion - good workout) and things like skipping ropes, a heavy bag, and bouncing medicine balls. The last options are comparatively cheap (especially the skipping ropes and medballs), but tremedously effective training tools. Good luck!

I think you are leaving out something for horizontal pulling (perpendicular to your torso). I would add a seated row machine to balance the flat bench movement.

If I were going to open a personal training studio (and I am planning on doing so once I get the cash together) here are some of the things I would (will) get: (1) Power rack w/ holes spaced every one inch or so and raised bars along the bottom for tying bands to (also try to get one that has a pullup bar up top); (2) Olypmic lifting platform (w/bumper plates); (3) adjustable incline/decline bench (no need for a separate bench press stations with the power rack); (4) dip bar; (5) full range of dumbells (all the way up to 200 lbs); (6) glute-ham-gastroc station; (7) reverse hyper machine; (8) hi-low adjustable pulley – must be plate loaded not selecterized (too easy to max out the stack); (9) inertial-impulse machine (very specialized piece of equipment used to train rate of force development); (10) Chest supported t-bar; (11) leg curl machine (most likely the standing version since this seems to have the best carry over to running); (12) horizontal leg press machine (to be used for 1-legged reverse leg presses). I would also make sure to have all sorts of boxes, medicine balls, different types of bars (i.e., cambered bars, trap bars, e-z curl bars, etc.), bands and chains, swiss balls, cones, hurdles, parachutes, sleds, heavy and speed bags, jump ropes of various weights, agility ladders, 2- 3- 4- and 5-boards (for board presses of course), manta ray and sting ray, shoulder horn, D.A.R.D. (good for the hard to hit anterior calf), rounded blocks (for calves), eloctro-stimulation machine etc. For recovery I would also like to have a dry-heat and wet sauna, whirlpool jacuzzi bath, and a massage and stretching table. I also plan to provide various supplements as part of the costs of training. For measuring I would like a high-speed digital camera, calipers, a force-plate, one of the various electronic measuring devices for sprints (which also gives split times), etc… As you can see, my gym concept is more for the strength and speed athlete than the average bodybuilder/sculpter. I do not know what your target audience will be so the above list may not be particularly relevant.

Can I come over and play? Sounds like my dream training studio! In faith - Matt Slaymaker

Matt had a ton of good suggestions, although you may not have room for all of those pieces of iquipment. One thing you should definitely do is use an adjustable bench and a power cage as a bench press station. This will save a lot of space as opposed to a dedicated bench press that takes up a lot of room and has limited versatility. Also, make sure you get a bench that adjusts from flat to straight up and down in about 10 degree increments. This allows your clients to press at several different inclines, as opposed to many people who only bench at two angles, flat and whatever the angle of the incline bench in their gym happens to be.

Hey Nilo, ever heard of bent over rows? 86 the horizontal pulley system. Now Tap, Matt and Matt, how many personla training clients are gonna use a lifting platform? It’s not a criticism, it’s just in my experience, people who use such equipment arer generally advanced past the point of needing a PT. This “studio” of yours sounds more like a performance centre. Still, I only wish I had access to half this stuff. Reverse Hyper machines, Glute-ham Raise, great stuff. Nevertheless, if you’re looking to maximize return on your dollar, do you think a lifting platform is gonna give you the bang for the buck?

When I get it up and running, ABSOLUTELY!! Unfortunately I think it will take me two years to get the funds and financing together to do it right. My guess is that I will need between $400,000-$500,000 in start-up cash to be successful (most new businesses fail due to being underfinanced). The equipment won’t be too bad, but I will need a slush fund for operating expenses for a year plus advertising. I figure I’ll be able to get about $150,000 of my own $$$ together. The rest ($250k-$350k) will have to come from bank loans and/or investors (or maybe from a partner – but that’s a longshot). The business concept might be a tough sell since I am in a pretty competitive market where personal training studios are a dime a dozen – Santa Monica/West Los Angeles/Beverly Hills/West Hollywood. But who knows… I get one or two professional athletes to train there or one or two movie stars training for a role and BANG it might just take off… otherwise I will have to spend my time helping to “sculpt and tone” (said with derision) fat Beverly Hills housewives. Only time will tell. BTW, who out there in t-mag land owns there own training studio? I would be interested to hear about your experiences.


Matthew A. Levy