Rob Bishop, Larry Gurney and Gary Klencheski discuss how many square feet per person are necessary for group exercise:
Q: “What is the ideal per-person square foot allowance needed for a group exercise room? I'm trying to estimate room size vs attendees?”
A: A lot of factors go into deciding how much space per participant to allow for in a group fitness room. The type of class will be a big factor.
A yoga mat might take up 8 sq ft and the person using the mat may need an additional 1-2 feet around them in each direction for various movements. A step might only occupy 5 sq ft but a member will require a great deal more space around the step for movement. Also, you have to allow for some degree of "personal space" between participants.
When deciding on room size, don't forget to plan for space for equipment storage (steps, mats, exercise balls, etc.). You also need to allow for the instructor who often requires more room than a typical participant--usually taking up most of the front of the room. As a point of reference, a 1,500 sqft room, with equipment, can accommodate 20-30 members depending on the type of class being offered. In my opinion, if you plan to make group fitness a focus for your club, and you are good at it, the room can not be too big.
Rob Bishop, Owner
Elevations Health Club
A: The ideal per-person square foot allowance for a GROUP -X- ROOM is approximately 45sf per member.Industry standards consider a room that is 3,000 to 4,000 a BIG ROOM and below 2,500 to be small. When designing a room for SPINNING, the ideal per-person square foot allowance is approximately 25sf per member.
With the ever growing popularity of GROUP EXERCISE, it is always better to have a room too big than too small. Comparable to the number of parking spaces you have at your club, it's a terrible thing when you lose business because someone can't find a space.
Larry Gurney, CEO/President
The RUSH Fitness Complex
A: According to the Health/Fitness Facility Standards and Guidelines published by the American College of Sports Medicine, group fitness studios/exercise classrooms should be designed to provide 40 to 50 square feet of space per expected user. The exact space requirements are dictated by the program activity conducted in the exercise classroom.
Gary Klencheski, President & CEO