6 Must Haves For A Tallahassee Strength Gym

Strength Training 4 min Read

Written by

Keith Hansen
It seems like strength gyms are popping up all over Tallahassee

-Tallahassee Strength Club opened in early 2015.

-Capital City Barbell opened later in 2015.

-Seminole Strength and Conditioning just opened in 2016

And it is looking like the time of the big box gym is waning:

-Legacy Gym closed in early 2015

-Gold’s Gym Downtown closed in 2016

People are starting to realize that strength training with barbells is the real route to success, and the big gyms just aren’t barbell friendly.

Planet Fitness doesn’t even have barbells, and none of the other gyms allow chalk. Not to mention the shortage of squat racks or bench presses.

If you’re considering joining a strength gym in Tallahassee, or you are looking for personal training in Tallahassee at a strength gym, be sure it has these necessities.

1. Air Conditioning

I can’t stress this one enough. You might think I’m being a foo-foo wuss, but trust me when I say you want a gym with A/C. Tallahassee is too hot 6 months out of the year to go sans climate-controlled, and June, July, & August are sweltering.

When you’re worried about having a heat stroke you will not be able to pay attention to your squat form. When you’re pouring sweat down your arms even chalk won’t stop a deadlift from slipping your grip. There will be no lunch-time work outs because you can’t go back to work looking like you just competed fully-clothed in the 100m breast stroke.

Starting a new habit can be tough, and convincing yourself to lift weights in a 95 degree warehouse is just one more obstacle.

2. Chalk

If you’ve never used chalk then you have no idea what you’re missing. This stuff is like coating your hands in Gorilla Glue, and if you’re having trouble hanging on to deadlifts then chalk is the solution to your problem. The issue is that 95% of gyms in Tallahassee don’t allow the use of this magical powder.

Any real strength training gym in Tallahassee is going to have a big bucket of the stuff and encourage you to apply it liberally. It’s the Holy Water of the strength training gym: put it on as soon as you walk in to become closer to the iron gods.

3. High quality Barbells

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Every barbell you’ve ever used at your health club sucks. Those bars are not made for performance. They are made for durability so the owners never need to replace them. The difference is that strength training barbells are made for durability AND performance, and have specific jobs.

Our gym has 10 different barbells and each of them serves a different purpose. One is made very light for technique practice. Another is made only for deadlifting. We have a bar for people with small hands, and even another for squats.

Barbells differ in how much they weigh, the aggressiveness of their grip, how easily the collars spin, the markings on the bar, the finish, the length, and more. Each combination of these variables makes for a uniquely purposed barbell, and any real strength training gym will have a variety of barbells to choose from.

4. Dumbbells 5-100

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5lb dumbbells are great, until you need 10lb dumbbells. 10lb dumbbells are great, until you need 15lb dumbbells. 15lb dumbbells are great, until you need 20lb dumbbells. See the pattern here? You are going to get stronger; that’s the purpose of strength training, and you will need progressively heavier weights.

It is common for gyms in Tallahassee to only stock dumbbells to 75lbs, or even worse, 50lbs. If you see a gym with dumbbells only to 75lbs, or 50lbs, keep looking: these people don’t want you to get strong. Do you need 100lb dumbbells today? Probably not. Eventually, though, you will. Being able to see the 100lb dumbbells each time you approach the rack gives you something to aim for. It lets you say to yourself, “One day, I’m going to press those monsters.”

Pro Tip: The best strength gyms will have smaller increment dumbbells such as 17.5lb, 22.5lb, and 27.5lb weights. This allows for smaller jumps on tough exercises. 

5. Bumper Plates

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Bumper plates are high-density rubber discs with a standard diameter, 17.5″. What this does is ensure that whether you have a barbell loaded to 65lbs, or one loaded to 650lbs, it is raised to the same height off the floor. This is crucial when learning to deadlift, because a lower bar makes for more difficulty achieving a proper, safe starting position.

Think about how much harder it is to lift something from the ground versus lifting the same object from waist-height. Every inch closer to the ground makes it more difficult. Every inch closer to standing makes the task easier. Normal iron/steel plates come in many different diameters, but only the 45lb metal plates has a diameter of 17.5″. This means that you either need to be strong enough to learn the deadlift with 135lbs (45lb bar + 2x45lb plates) or you have to use smaller diameter plates and complicate the motion by hunching over.

6. Power Rack

Real power racks are the T-I-T-S. It is a cage you step inside of as a man, and emerge from as an animal. I’m kidding. Power racks are great because they eliminate the need for a spotter on two critical exercises: the squat and the bench press. They have these neat adjustable safety pins that you can set just below the lowest part of your squat or bench. In the event that you fail  a squat, you just set the bar down onto the safety pins. The same goes for the bench press.

Great strength training gyms have much more equipment & amenities than this short list, but these are the must-have, cannot-do-withouts.

When you consider a new gym consult this list and see how the facility measures up.

In the mean time, learn strength training from a professional. Click here to book your free personal training sessions.

Keith Hansen

Keith was an All-State wrestler in high school and in 2007 hung up his singlet to attend Florida State University to pursue a B.S. in business management. He wasn't sure what industry he wanted to be involved in at the time, but soon realized after graduating in 2011 that fitness was the ever-constant activity in his life. Keith began studying to become a personal trainer and in 2013 earned the National Strength and Conditioning Association's Personal Trainer certification. After a short stint as a big box gym trainer he realized he wanted to bring something different to Tallahassee. Keith competes in Powerlifting, Olympic Weightlifting, and Crossfit.