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Why Bad Floors May Be Putting Your Health Club On Shaky Ground 

This is an IHRSA featured post, brought to you by sofSURFACES.

A health club at peak capacity is a great sight for club operators, but it may not be too good for your ears—or your nerves. With today’s trends of Olympic lifting and other functional fitness activities, your club may sound more like you’re hosting a Metallica concert than a first-class neighborhood facility. Without high-tech quality flooring absorbing the sound and punishment from weights, machines, and active bodies, your club may be creating an environment that runs counter to the image and culture you want to promote. 

Make no mistake: Noise, vibration, and acoustics matter. So does the integrity of your flooring when members drop barbells and kettlebells, and it’s a more common occurrence these days than ever before. 

Some blame CrossFit for this. Justified or not, reports of CrossFit gyms having to relocate or close after noise complaints isn’t uncommon. And even traditional health clubs can suffer if the owner opts for cheap flooring, as one gym discovered when they had to close two weeks after opening because of damage to floors from dropped weights.  

Too much exposure to noise from crashing weights can actually have harmful effects for members, according to an article in Healthy Hearing. The piece quoted Rachel Raphael, an audiologist with Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore and a certified group fitness instructor, who said: “I never actually took a sound level meter to the smashing of weights in a weight room, but it is likely that even short durations of loud intense weights dropping can have the same potential damage to hearing as a shotgun blast or an air bag deploying.”

That kind of takes the “health” out of health club.

Can New Floors Make Weight Dropping Acceptable?

Skimping on flooring can be costly in the long run if obtrusive noise and vibration create an uninviting environment for members. And if your club is situated in a multi-unit building where other businesses are adjacent or located a floor below, then disruptive vibrations can make you a lousy neighbor and ripe for expulsion.

It’s difficult to police members 100% of the time in order to reduce weight dropping and other sources of acoustic chaos. A busy gym is always going to produce heavy noise and vibration even if members do everything the right way. Unless you have flooring that can meet the challenge of today’s weight-tossing, bodyweight jumping, medicine-ball throwing clientele, you’re going to have problems.

These new challenges inspired flooring innovators sofSURFACES to engineer floors able to withstand the demands of today’s sometimes raucous health clubs. Famous for creating duraSAFE, playing surfaces for playgrounds and other recreational facilities for children, sofSURFACES’ rubber flooring meets tougher standards than what’s required from North American safety regulations. Now, they’ve taken the same approach to their newest lines of flooring designed for fitness facilities called duraTRAIN and duraSOUND.

DuraTRAIN’s three-stage compression molding process can withstand intense usage and traffic, and has been rated for over 400,000 repeated impacts with an 800-pound force.  This high level of shock insulation and sound attenuation is so effective that weight dropping is no longer an issue. If eliminating vibrations and improving acoustics are especially important, you can choose sofSURFACES duraSOUND rubber acoustic tiles, which can reduce audible structure-borne sound by up to 38 dB (decibels). 

All of sofSURFACES products are made from 100-percent post-consumer recycled materials and backed by a limited lifetime warranty. The interlocking tiles and tight seams make for a pleasing aesthetic look. They’re available in a wide range of colors and are also customizable. Visit sofSURFACES’ new online color renderer to create your very own custom color blend. For more information and to talk to one of their experts in choosing the right flooring product for your facility, visit