Gym Equipment Maintenance
So you have taken delivery of your new gym equipment. The technician and installation team have left the building and hopefully taken their wrapping and cardboard boxes with them. If you have planned the job correctly you have one or two days until the influx of members begins.
So what now?
How do you look after your new gym equipment? How do you perform preventive maintenance to keep your treadmills, weight training, selectorised gym equipment and other gym equipment lasting for years?
Your First Workout
I have lost count of the gym owners and managers who don’t use their own gym equipment. The best possible way to check the installation of the gym equipment is to use every piece of the equipment yourself. Lightly at first, especially if you don’t train frequently .
Take each item through a full range of motion and adjust everything that you can on the machine. Most circuit training and strength training machines will have some sort of seat and height adjustment.
Walk around your new gym and stand next to each machine. Have you left enough space for people to walk around and load weights onto the machines?
Layout of Your Gym and Gym Equipment
Generally gyms are arranged into sections and each requires slightly different forms of maintenance and attention.
Spinning classes or indoor studio bikes. If you don’t actually have the brand name of a Spinner then don’t refer to your classes as spinning. The copyright holders can get quite possessive over their naming rights.
Aerobics and Group Training Studios. This where the aerobics classes, Zumba, Pilates, Step Classes and Yoga take place. There will be aerobics dumbbells,
Circuit Training Area: This normally consist of a number of selectorised machines.
Selectorised machines. Most larger gyms separate the machines from the free weight training areas
Dumbbells and adjustable bench area. In a large gym the dumbbell racks and adjustable benches form an area all of their own
Free weight training or resistance training would include a combination of squat racks, leg press machines, Smith machines and other plate loaded gym equipment.
How Frequently Should I check The Gym Equipment?
Ideally you will develop Daily, weekly and monthly checklists. All safety issues should be addressed as daily checklist.
Always refer to the maintenance manual that is provided by the manufacturer. If you have bought equipment from us and you have not received your operating manual then please make contact with me.
Keeping A Record of Your Gym Equipment
Each machine and asset in your gym should have an asset number or serial number. This will become its own unique identity. For machines such as your leg press this may not be vital, but for your cardio vascular machines and especially your indoor studio bikes this is vital.
So with these basics under our belt let’s take a look at each of the various classes of machines and what you can do to keep them and your members as happy as possible.
Free weights and Strength Training Gym Machines
Fixed Dumbbells and Barbells need to be checked for welding and loose weight plates. If you have Olympic bars then check the revolving ends and ensure that the collars fit correctly.
All dumbbells and barbells should be stored securely and safely. Check that they don’t fall easily from there storage racks.
Squat Racks, Power racks and Smith Machines may need to be bolted down. If they are then check the bolts. If they do not need to be bolted down then check that they are stable and don’t wobble when being used. This should only need to be done on installation and perhaps once per month.
Check weight plates for cracks, especially the plates on the fixed barbells and fixed dumbbells.
Selectorised Gym Equipment and Circuit Training Gym Equipment
Daily Check List
See that all upholstery is free of tears and cracks.
The surfaces should be disinfected on at least a daily basis. If you make disinfectant and paper towels available most members will clean their own machines after use.
Are the cables the correct length? Ensure that there is a minimum of slack cable.
Has the cable frayed? Look at the cable connecters attaching the cable into the machine and also look at how the cable moves over the pulley system. Be wary of transparent cable coatings that have turned black as this implies that the cable underneath may have deteriorated.
Does the selector pin move in an out easily, or do you sometimes see your members trying to force the pin in?
Does the weight stack move freely or does it get stuck on the guide rods? This implies that there is a bend or twist in the machine.
If the gym machine has an adjustable seat or height adjuster such as with an adjustable bench, lat pull down or chest press) then check that this moves easily and that the pin engages completely.
Metal frames need to be cleaned on a very regular basis. Perspiration is highly corrosive as many a gym owner will tell you.
When cleaning chrome tubes use a chrome polish then add some car wax. Don’t ever use acid or chlorine based cleaners
Monthly Check List
Upholstery and stain removal.
Use a cloth and apply automotive / car engine oil or silicon oil to the guide rods
You can use a 10% solution of a household liquid soap such as sunlight. Apply with a softish bristle brush. Follow that up by wiping with a cloth. For tough stains you can use a 10% of household bleach.
Always test a small area of the upholstery before applying to large areas.
Ensure that you remove all of the bleach or cleaning agent afterwards.
Attend to scratches and damages to your surface as soon as you notice them. This is also an intensive inspection and I suggest that you do this once per month. You can use a car polish to deal with small scratches.
Use touch up paint for bigger and more serious scratches.
Some gym owners also apply a coat of car wax, (automotive wax) as a preventive and sweat protection mechanism. Some environments are really tough for any type of gym machines. Coastal cities are notoriously tough on both strength machines and the electronics of cardio vascular machines.
All Cardio Vascular Gym Equipment
Includes Treadmills, Exercise bikes, recumbent exercise bikes, elliptical cross trainers, steppers and rowing machines.
Daily Check List
If the machines have a power cable, (all treadmills will) check for any damage on the cable. All treadmills should also be on their own individual circuit breakers. Never use a shop bought adaptor to have more than one treadmill running off a single plug.
When cleaning cardio equipment ensure that sweat and water is wiped off as frequently as possible. Make it easy on your members to help you clean the equipment. If you supply conveniently located cleaner and disposable paper towels then most members will clean the gym equipment after use
Nuts and bolts checked for tightness. Ensure that your maintenance log also reflects where these nuts and bolts are as a missing bolt may not be noticed.
Monthly Check List
Clean inside covers of equipment on at least a monthly basis. Treadmill covers should be checked at least weekly for dust build up.
Check functioning of the consoles quick start buttons, speed, resistance buttons and programs.
Members should be orientated around the gym and shown how to use the equipment. This includes how hard they need to press the buttons on how long each machine takes to respond. This you will have to gauge for yourself with each of your items of gym equipment.
For instance what sort of delay is there between pressing the incline button on the treadmill and the incline motor engaging? Teach this delay to each and every member during orientation, if you don’t then your new member will be incessantly pressing these controls harder and harder.
This simple orientation will add years to the life of the consoles.
Does your emergency stop button work? Try it yourself
Running belt needs to be lubricated to manufacturers recommendations. There are some treadmills such as the Tunturi Platinum that does not need any lubrication as it is a engineered self lubricating system.
Treadmills are notorious for sucking in dust and muck so ensure that the floor under the treadmill is kept as clean and dust free as possible. This means vacuuming at least three times per week, preferably every day. Alternatively you could use a protective treadmill mat or interlocking floor tiles which are easier to keep dust free.
As treadmills are the most expensive, popular and labour intensive device in the gym I suggest that each treadmill gets its own “book of life”. This worked really well in the gyms that I have run in the past.
The book or life or file gets all the manufacturer recommendations and a full record of all maintenance and checks.
The running belt also needs to be checked for alignment. This can be easily checked by looking at the back of the treadmill and seeing the that the spaces on each side of the roller are equal.
The tension of the belt also needs to be checked. Most of the time you will be dealing with a loose belt and this may lead to the belt slipping. Take note that slipping can also be a consequence of the drive belt slipping, (the belt under the cover connected to the motor).
Check out this video on what do about that and how to check it.
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Inspect the rollers at least once per month.
Treadmills are normally quite vocal when they begin breaking down or when bearings start to go. The main components on a treadmill to go are:
- MCB, (Master Control Boards)
- Elevation Motors
- Drive Motors
- Console overlays and console control buttons
Many treadmills offer a type of self diagnostic system where an error number will show for each type of error. This will obviously be different for each manufacturer.
On an annual basis you may want to check the calibration of the treadmills and other cardio machines. A qualified technician will be bet person to do this
When you inspect your treadmill belts then be on the lookout for the following warning signs: Waves, bubbles, peeling, discolouration, thinning, cracking and fraying
Spinning Bikes or Studio Bikes
Indoor studio bikes and spinning bikes get a thrashing in a gym environment so these bikes need to be checked more than once per day. All bolts to be tightened, check pedals, saddle adjustments and seat adjustments.
You will also need to look at the braking mechanism which is how resistance is created with the spinning bike.
Lubricate with the recommended lubricant every day. Ensure that your responsible staff members uses just the right amount of lubricant. The machine should not be dripping with oil.
Slides need to be cleaned of dust every day.
Cables to be checked for wear as well as attachments. I would do this daily although some manufacturers suggest that this is a weekly check.
Does the seat move freely? Is it wobbly and shaky as it moves?
Check that the foot plates are non slip and attached firmly.
Balls need to be inflated
Mats: check for tears and wear
Aerobics Steps need to have a non slip bottom surface and need to be stable. It should quite easy to see if a step is cracked, worn or broken.
What To Do Now
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