Gyms need to be a haven for elite athletes, while also being inclusive of those working to rise to that level. One person may come in performing an overhead press with a medicine ball, while another is swinging the heaviest kettlebell in your fitness center or training facility. But regardless of ability, there is one piece of equipment every gym-goer uses every visit at the gym: your weight room floor.

The days of simple rolled rubber flooring as the industry standard are long gone. So too are the days of treating your floor purchase as a commodity, with little thought being put into whether you are getting the best flooring solution. Your fitness floor is now just as important as the equipment your athletes train on.

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This 36,000-square-foot weight room is a feature in the University of Michigan’s 78,000-square-foot Oosterbaan Field House. Photo courtesy of REGUPOL

How to Select the Right Rubber Gym Flooring

So, how do you select the best weight room floor? At REGUPOL, we know a thing or two about sports and fitness flooring—after all, we invented the technology of recycling rubber more than 65 years ago, turning old tires into rubber flooring that forever changed the fitness world. That means our customers benefit from decades of experience and expertise. We work closely with our customers to explore and recommend the best flooring solution to match the practicality and flexibility of their gym design, the safety and comfort of their gym environment, and the aesthetic appeal of their facility.

Let’s be clear: The type of flooring you choose is greatly dependent upon the gym you are attempting to establish, as well as budget. Because fitness comes in all shapes and sizes, the prevailing trend in modern facilities is to accommodate multiple activities while also providing a safe, comfortable, and social environment. To begin, ask yourself this simple question: What are my space requirements?

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REGUPOL rubber gym flooring completes the Elite Training System at Kennedy Collegiate Institute in Windsor, Ontario. Photo courtesy of REGUPOL

Performance Measured in Durability and Safety

Athletic performance centers are different from the regular fitness and recreational centers. The focus here is on providing an environment where individuals and small groups can train to improve various aspects of their athleticism, often through explosive movements. Many exercise and workout routines are sport-specific, geared towards improving an athlete’s speed, agility, strength, power, flexibility, and quickness. Each program component requires a tailored space and specialized equipment.

It is no secret among coaches and athletes that to improve performance you must train hard and practice often. Each season sports and conditioning professionals help elite athletes of all levels shore up weaknesses, decrease injury risk, and build strength and power. With so much gym use it’s essential for the flooring to be safe, resilient, and high-performing.

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REGUPOL AktivPro Roll is durable enough to withstand the impact of dropped heavy weights and protect the subfloor with inlaid platforms. Photo courtesy of REGUPOL

Our REGUPOL AktivPro Roll is the preferred flooring among many strength and conditioning coaches. The one-inch thick system raises the bar in performance, shock absorption, and slip resistance. And it is durable enough to withstand years of repetitive movement and impact from heavy loads and high-impact activity. It is also hard to gouge or scratch.

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REGUPOL AktivPro Roll is ideal for professional, collegiate, and youth athletic performance programs as well as general fitness facilities. Photo courtesy of REGUPOL

The goal of a strength coach is to not develop a bodybuilder, a powerlifter, or even an Olympic weightlifter—it is to develop a well-rounded powerful athlete. You want athletes to build a foundation of strength and then establish proper movement technique and body control in sport-specific situations. In these facilities, even if you aren’t dropping a bar, you will probably be setting a large amount of weight on your floor repeatedly, and a heavy weight will eventually start to damage any floor. The best way to protect your subfloor from damage is to invest in commercial fitness flooring systems like our REGUPOL AktivPro Roll.

A standard AktivPro Roll system is 24 millimeters thick and made up of a customizable underlayment and a dense wear layer surface. Our customers have the flexibility to choose from three underlayments—Plyo, Fitness, and Impact—in varying density and thickness. Each underlayment is engineered to absorb maximum shock on impact, diminish barbell bounce, and ease joint stress while simultaneously delivering ideal energy return levels for safer training and drastically boosted performance.

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Custom REGUPOL AktivPro Roll rubber gym flooring at the Anaheim Ducks Training Facility at Five Point Arena in Irvine, California. Photo courtesy of REGUPOL

The system also features flush inlaid platforms with REGUPOL Crash drop zones, allowing for Olympic platforms to sit perfectly in-line with the rest of the floor and, in turn, maximizing space for athletes, limiting tripping hazards, and making it much easier to clean.

Crash is our ultra-dense, proprietary surface engineered to withstand the rigors and abuse of heavy impact in the weight room. It was designed to mitigate noise, reverberation, and the bounce-back of the barbell to better enhance athlete safety and well-being. It is offered in three standard thicknesses: 3/8 of an inch, ½ inch, and 1 inch.

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The AktivPro Roll system is perfect for a virtually seamless appearance with custom colors, inlaid platforms, and your facility’s branding. Photo courtesy of REGUPOL

Show Your True Colors

A well-designed athletic center—one with visual personality and aesthetic appeal—is better able to communicate to visitors its purpose and pride. When done well it will engage fans and recruits, and it will not only strengthen your brand but also tell a story.

The flooring provides an easy opportunity to make a bold statement. All REGUPOL flooring is available in a wide range of standard colors and styles with custom color capabilities using a wide array of vibrant EPDM color granules. AktivPro Roll (and tile), for example, is available in 17 standard colors and can be 100% customized to fit your brand and facility’s needs. Adding visual interest with multicolored team logos, inspirational slogans, intricate patterns, and other artistic elements is achieved using our water-jet cutting technology. The beauty of our flooring is in its brilliant colors and cushioned comfort. It truly is an attractive solution for tough environments.

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An AktivPro Roll custom logo at the University of Texas’ Nasser Al-Rashid Strength Complex. Photo courtesy of REGUPOL

A Floor with Environmental Care

Sports facilities throughout the country are incorporating more and more green features in their design. At REGUPOL, we are committed to operating our facility in a manner that uses resources wisely and promotes the health of the environment. The recycled content in our products ranges from 75 to 100% recycled materials.

Our REGUPOL AktivPro Roll consists of 100% recycled SBR rubber underlayment topped with a recycled SBR/EPDM pre-manufactured wear layer in a 1-inch thick system. SBR is a synthetic rubber derived from styrene and butadiene monomers. This material is recovered from post-consumer tires that are mechanically shredded—each year we are reclaiming more than 90,000 tons of SBR (more than 9 million tires annually). The material makes the best solution for heavy weightlifting and other athletic and performance training areas.

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REGUPOL AktivPro Roll rubber gym flooring is available in both standard and custom colors. Photo courtesy of REGUPOL

We understand that sustainability is not only about material content, which is why our manufacturing facility is near our rubber supplier. By eliminating excessive fuel use created through transportation of resources, fossil fuel expenditures are minimized and atmospheric damage reduced. We are practically a zero-waste manufacture, as we regrind our scrap material and use that in our acoustic materials, anti-slip cargo mats, and underlayments.

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AktivPro Roll rubber gym flooring makes for the perfect Elite Training System at Iroquois Park Sports Centre in Whitby, Ontario. Photo courtesy of REGUPOL

There is an increasing demand for honesty and transparency from manufacturers. We were the first Pennsylvania manufacturer to be GreenCircle Certified. They provide independent verification of our products annually to ensure the legitimacy of our recycled content claims. But our commitment to sustainability does not end—we’ve gone one step further. We work with UL Environment to independently certify our Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) to better under and communicate the sustainable qualities and the life-cycle impact of our products.

We are also USGBC members and our products can potentially assist architects and designers in earning points under two out of five categories—Materials and Resources and Indoor Environmental Quality—of LEED certification.

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gb&dPRO members are recognized experts in their fields and contribute opinion columns as one of their member benefits. The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and may not reflect the view of gb&d. We are committed to a diversity of voices advocating for high-performing, sustainable built environment practices. We’d like to hear what you think about this article or any of our other coverage. Send us an email at [email protected].