Setting up A CrossFit Box: You Complete Equipment Guide
updated September 5, 2018
CrossFit is your life - you live and breathe it! For a long time you’ve dreamt about actually having your own box, but you’ve always thought that the task would be too daunting. But then you see other people, people just like you, who have become successful Crossfit affiliates.
If them, why not you?
Why not you, indeed!
Setting up a CrossFit Box is something that, if you have the passion and the desire, is definitely within your reach. In this guide we’re going to find the best companies to deal with, the packages on offer, and types and brands of equipment that you need to equip a hardcore CrossFit box without busting your budget.
Your Starting Strategy
So, you’ve got some capital behind you, found a location and you’re ready to start thinking about how to fill your Box. It’s time to decide on your starting strategy - are you going to start with a rather modest Box equipped with basic gear and build as you grow or are you to going the whole hog and open with an impressive array of gleaming gear to hook in the punters?
If this is your first step into the fitness waters, you will want to be conservative in your initial setup. Basic gear that meets the needs of users and a huge emphasis on personal attention will allow you to build and grow along with your membership. Of course you will want to buy equipment that is built to last. And the last thing you want is to have members standing around waiting for gear in your first months of operation. But neither do you want to have a half dozen Ski-Ergs collecting dust while 90% of your members are focused on their WOD.
Your Basic Setup
Let’s take a look at the non negotiables for setting up a quality CrossFit Box. As a rule of thumb before we get started, you should have at least one of every piece of equipment that is used in the Crossfit Open.
You need to have a budget of anything between $20,000 for a budget set-up and $60,000 if you have the money to go all out.
Pull Up Rig
A pull up rig is an expandable framework that allows you to perform such moves as pull ups, chin ups, muscle ups, squats, deadlifts and olympic lifts. Make sure that the framework is made from at least 2 inch by 2 inch square steel and is extremely stable. Having plate holders extending from the uprights adds to the rigidity of the unit. The rig must also be expandable so that you can easily add to it as your business grows.
You should also look for a rig that will allow you to perform rope climbs - this will impact upon where you situate the rig in your facility.
Take a look at the majority of WODs and you’ll see that most of them include some sort of work with a barbell. So, if there is any area that you do not want to skimp on, then this is it. Yet, rather than forking out for the very top of the line range, such as Eleiko, you’d be better to buy more of a mid priced bar. However, make sure that whatever bar you do purchase, it comes with a lifetime warranty.
Speaking of lifetime warranties, you want to have confidence that the company you’re dealing with will be around long enough to be able to honor the guarantee. That’s why you are better off in the long run dealing with the larger retailers who have an established reputation - no matter how nice it would be to give your business to local manufacturers!
When it comes to choosing bars, you need to offer your female members a range of bars that are made just for them. Women’s barbells are lighter than the male version. Remember, your female members will generally do a better job of promoting your business than your male members, so you want to do everything you can to meet, and exceed, their expectations.
Obviously, you will need a good selection of bumper plates. Rather than going for the prettiest or most colorful, concentrate on durability. Bumper plates take a real beating and you don’t want to have to be throwing them away and replacing them after a year. Look for crumb rubber, such as you find with Rogue Hi-Temps.
Medicine balls are a versatile and relatively inexpensive addition to your Box. In recent years, a lot of quality brands have entered the market. You want to offer a decent range of balls, running from 14 to 20 pounders, but also have at least one lighter (10 pound) and a couple of heavier (30 pound) balls on offer.
Your established CrossFitters will come to their workouts carrying their own jump rope. However, you should have a selection of ropes on hand for newbies and members who left theirs at home. No need to go for the most expensive ropes - you should be able to get a half dozen for around a hundred bucks.
Plyometric training is an integral part of many WODs and box jumps are by far the most popular of all plyo moves. As a result, you need to have about a half dozen plyo boxes on hand. You may be tempted to knock up a few boxes yourself, but buying them provides you with a warranty, which can be a big deal if a member gets injured. The ideal box measurements are 24” x 20” x 30”. This provides you with 3 heights for each box.
While you don’t need to set up a full on cardio room, such as you’d find in a conventional gym, you do need some cardio gear. This should include a couple of rowers. After all, they have been used in the Crossfit Open in recent years. They are also a great tool in maxing out your cardio fitness.
You are likely to come across some pretty good rower deals. However, we suggest sticking with the tried and true Concept 2, which is the model used in the Crossfit Open.
Gym ring moves are not for beginners. But having them sitting there will give your members a goal to work towards. You can get by with one or, at most, two sets of gym rings. Make sure, however, to purchase wooden rings rather than metal ones, which are very uncomfortable on the hands.
A gym timer will be really appreciated by your members. It will mean they don’t have to muck around with their watch during their WOD. The best gym timer out there is supplied by Rogue.
You will want a couple of ropes hanging from your ceiling. These will provide another challenge for your members to work towards. You can get them from most of the big gym gear retailers. But you’ll probably find something as god for a lot less down at your local Army Supply Store.
Having barbell collars is a legal requirement, so make sure that you have got plenty of them on hand - and that they work! There are plenty to choose from, but the best we have come across lately are from OSO.
Lifting chalk is something that your members are going to expect to see a ready supply of. Do not ever get to the stage where you run out of it. Purchase a couple of large boxes, so that you’ve always got one in reserve.
Your choice of floor coverings are going have a big impact on the functionality of your training facility. You need to invest in some heavy rubber mats to cover all of your heavy workout areas. Your most economical option would be to pick up some horse stall mats from your local farm supply depot.
The Companies You Need to Know
There are a lot of companies out there that will make all sorts of promises to you when they find out that you’re opening your own Box. In this section, we’ll tell you which companies you need to focus on and what they have to offer.
Rogue Fitness are the undisputed industry leader when it comes to home gym and CrossFit equipment. That is why they are the official suppliers to the CrossFit Open.
As is often the case, however, the best is among the most expensive. But they also provide you with a lifetime warranty on most of the gear that they sell.
Rogue have outfitted thousands of gyms all over the United States. They have tons of expertize and so you know you will be in good hands.
One of their most popular CrossFit packages is the Rogue 15 Alpha -15 Person Affiliate Package. Here’s what it contains:
That’s a pretty extensive list and will set you up with a pretty intensive Box. You can, however, get by with a pared down version. If you want to keep your budget down to around $20,000 you can ditch some items from the package, and go for the following:
All of this gear from Rogue carries a lifetime warranty!
Fringe Sport have been around since 2013. Everyone who works at the company is a committed fitness junkie. That means that they don’t sell anything that they don’t all love and use. Fringe’s mission is simple - when you buy something you keep coming back. That means that their focus isn’t just on selling you a product, but on providing you with a level of service and customer satisfaction that exceeds your expectations.
Fringe offer one of the best price points you’ll find in the industry. They offer a package to cater to smaller facilities. Let’s check out their Silver Level Package:
This is a good starter pack, tough it also includes stuff that you probably don’t need to get started. You can see our abbreviated Rogue list to see what you can cull. You’ll save thousands by going with Fringe over Rogue, but the quality won’t be quite as good.
A few years ago, Again Faster were a market leader but they have fallen on quiet time lately. However they are still offering quality gear at a price that it is a little higher than Fringe Sport but not as expensive as Rogue. Again Faster do not offer any gym packages.
Get Rx’d offer good, but not great, quality gear. The offer a 15 Delta Package which consists of . . .
A lot of the gear that Get Rx’d sells is made in China rather than the US. That makes it cheaper and not as high a standard as some of the American made gear, but it is still decent equipment.
Maverick Athletic Company
Maverick provide a range of gear that is of a similar quality to what you would get from Again Faster and Get Rx’d. They offer an Elite 15 Package which includes the following:
Rep Fitness are an established reputable retailer who offer a good mix of quality and affordability. Here is what they offer in their 15 person Affiliate CrossFit Package:
Beyond the Basics
The following gear will allow you to stand out from the crowd, providing your members with the extras that will give you a competitive advantage.
Glute / Ham Developer
If you can afford having at least on GHD unit is a great idea. The best on the market is the Rogue Abram GHD 2.0
When your members are in the groove with heavy power barbell exercises, you’ll want to consider a professional weightlifting flooring. Again Rogue are the go to guys here.
Concept 2 Ski Erg
For your extra heavy duty trainers, a sled will be a great motivator. The Rogue S-25 Fat Boy is the pick of the bunch.
You now have a pretty complete overview of what’s out there for you to start filling up your new CrossFit Box. Personally, I would probably start with the Rep Fitness 15 person package for around $20,000 and then add in the four extras I’ve mentioned at the end. That will be plenty to get you up and running.