How would you design a sports performance enhancement facility?

On a weekly basis, I get emails from SIG members and others about my thoughts on both program design as well as design of a performance training facility.  I’m very humbled by the fact that so many have reached out to ask my opinion on this as there are numerous very capable people out there to opine on this.  I thought it may help SIG members, and be an interesting topic of discussion, about how to design a facility and what it should include.  Please, any and all interested, throw your "two cents" in.  I'll just start the discussion.  

I think it’s great that sports PT’s are moving to this realm more because there is some terrible training going on out there. Further, it means many of us are moving to more cash-based services, which given the insurance market, is an awesome development.  I think it's also great that many sports PT's are moving into the realm of overseeing performance training.  We certainly may not be experts in the actual process of training, but having the extra know-how of pathology, biomechanics, etc makes us an important part of performance training.  

Obviously, budget and space are your first things to consider.  A couple of other things to think about are what type of facility you want it to be – will there be just training, or will you have space for massage therapists, chiropractors, nutritionists, etc?  Will there be PT there too?  Are you going to offer group fitness classes during non-peak hours?  Another thing to consider is not only what your competition is, but also what the needs of the community are/what you want the facility to be. For example, you may have a market that is heavily catered to baseball or football, but girls softball and lacrosse are underserved.  Conversely, is there a need for say, MMA training? If you plan on having basketball players, you may need large tables as well as equipment, like the power racks, that enable a 6'9" guy to do squats for example.  So, you may need space/facilities/marketing for those sports.



You need to have space for both a weight training area w/ rubberized flooring, an area of field turf for not only group class work, but also for speed work and sprints (20 yards really won’t do – you really should have 30-50 yards if possible, more the better).  Space outdoors is a plus as well. High ceilings are a must too.  I suggest having an area for cardio as well as an area for stretching/mobility work Functional testing should be considered in design as well.  Things like showers, kitchen, and bathrooms are based on needs, space, etc.  In my view, a giant box with needed offices, etc on the periphery is the way to go.  I’m not a huge fan of stuff in the middle and a track around it.  Just my opinion…



The Essentials
1. DB Rack from 5-100lbs

2. Olympic platforms w/ Olympic bars equipped w/ bumper plates and regular plates.  Power racks as part of the platforms also preferred.

3. Training bars for teaching Olympic movements.  This can even be old rebar from a local steel factory.   PVC pipe can even work for teaching purposes

4.  Benches (adjustable preferred for incline).  If space and budget permit – leg press, OKC knee ext/flexion, flat bench, lat pull/multi-station, glute/ham raise.  Not so much for “performance training” so to speak, but you may be in a situation where you’re still “bridging the rehab” gap and need auxiliary/ancillary exercises. 

4. Plyometric boxes (prefer ones w/ wide platforms).  Amazing how many of those boxes have small landing surfaces.  

5. Medicine balls, preferably ones that bounce. 

6. Cones or other similar devices used for drills

7.   Ropes for metabolic and core work

8.  Set of kettlebells

9. Mats for core work and mobility/stretching, various Swiss balls

10.  Multi-station machine (Kaiser, etc - I have no financial interest in Kaiser :)  )

11. Functional testing equipment – vertical jump, timers/stopwatches, metronome, gym timer/circuit timer, Tendo unit for RFD measurement

12. Various resistance bands, jump ropes, Suspension bands

13. Cardio equipment – treadmill, elliptical, bikes, spin bike, slideboard

14. Soft tissue stuff – massage sticks, foam rollers, etc. 

15.  If budget permits, software for movement analysis with a TV for teaching/instruction and a force platform would be sweet.  As always, one of my first wish list items is water - it's just a great tool in so many ways. 


Love to hear what others have to say...hope it helps for those interested.