Fitness Flooring Innovations Enhance Ambiance and Activities

The fitness flooring industry is thriving, creating products that feature increased shock absorption and sleeker looks.

Today, the fitness flooring industry is thriving, with manufacturers creating new products to address the needs and aspirations of health clubs and specialty boutiques. Their goals: improved performance, enhanced aesthetics, and ease of ownership.

Increased Shock Absorption

When it comes to performance, an emerging trend is to utilize thicker rubber to increase shock absorption and reduce vibration.

“Standard 3/8"-thick recycled rubber isn’t adequate anymore,” says Steve Chase, the president of Fitness Flooring. “Now, tiles and rolls are 3/4" to 1-1/4" to protect areas where weights may be dropped.”

Over the past two years, SofSurfaces has redesigned its 1-1/4" thick DuraTRAIN product, renowned for its shock-absorption qualities for a decade, and additional “tweaks” are in the works, says Brennan Prins, the director of SofSurfaces.

Regupol’s new AkustiPro product has been designed specifically to provide greater shock-absorption and reduced transmission of vibration and sound in cardio and free-weight areas.

“With this high-performance surface, you can have a gym on an upper level, and offices or retail space below, thanks to the effective sound isolation,” says Florian Sassmannshausen, the business unit manager for Regupol America.

Flooring Meets Functional Fitness

Turning its attention to functional fitness and small-group training, Mondo USA has introduced MondoFunctional Fitness, which employs four separate surfaces to deal with the issues of performance, strength, movement, and mobility/stability.

“These sophisticated, engineered surfaces contribute significantly to overall fitness improvement, injury prevention, and the health and safety of exercisers,” says Greg Stamer, the director of sales for Mondo’s sport division.

“These sophisticated, engineered surfaces contribute significantly to overall fitness improvement, injury prevention, and the health and safety of exercisers.”

Greg Stamer, Director of Sales, Sports Division

MondoFunctional Fitness

Flooring Aesthetics

When it comes to aesthetics, Chase points out, virgin rubber tiles are an attractive alternative to recycled rubber products; they offer excellent resiliency and a softer feel underfoot.

Expanding the options for clubs, Fitness Flooring also has developed a new installation process that permits custom color and designer woods to be utilized in smaller spaces, and that provides good shock-absorption and the look, feel, and durability of solid wood.

And when it comes to ease of ownership, luxury vinyl tiles (LVTs) are growing in popularity.

“LVT are plastic, colored, and molded to closely resemble wood, and come in a wide range of designer colors, and with a weathered or hand-scraped-wood look,” says Chase, “but they aren’t subject to some of the challenges that wood presents.”

LVTs are easy to clean and don’t degrade if exposed to water—with good reason. “In the case of flooring, cleanliness and ease of maintenance and repair are very important to clubs,” Prins says.

And club operators haven’t forgotten about the manifold benefits bestowed by “green” flooring products. “An eco-friendly surface that’s nonporous, easy to clean, and antimicrobial is a necessity to prevent the spread of germs and to eliminate that typical ‘gym smell,’” Stamer says.

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This article was a team effort by several IHRSA experts.