We are pretty sure that the favourite part of any new gym owner is actually choosing the equipment. Namely, we all probably had that moment where we thought “Why don’t they have more of X” or, “Why is Y here, nobody uses it”. Well, now it’s your turn to set things up exactly how you want them to be. However, no matter what your personal preferences are, some things are non-negotiable.

If you want your gym to be a success, certain pieces of equipment are obligatory. So, below you can check out our list of the things that every single gym simply must have.

Sets of dumbbells and barbells

First, the good old basics – dumbbells and barbells. Probably the most important piece of gear you need, people use these the most. Namely, free weights are just so useful and flexible, you can basically do an entire workout using just dumbbells and a barbell.

Now, you should get a set of dumbbells that has a very wide range. So, you want everything from a pair of small 3 pound dumbbells, right down to 100-pound monsters. And of course, if you can get two sets, that would be even better. Keeping them adjustable will be sorely appreciated as well.

As far as the barbells are concerned, variety is key. Regular barbells, Olympic barbells, EZ bars, these are all necessary. If you really have to choose, then just stick to a pair of Olympic barbells, and then work from there.

Cardio equipment

A good gym shouldn’t just focus on weights. You also need a couple of treadmills so people can do their cardio. Many weightlifters need to do some kind of aerobic exercise, and having a treadmill right in the gym is the most convenient option. Furthermore, a lot of people go to the gym exclusively to do some cardio. You will be losing valuable customers and gym members if you don’t provide them with the right cardio equipment.

So, we suggest you get treadmills, bicycles, and even steppers. While treadmills might serve as the best option, some people simply can’t handle the strain running does on their ankles and knees, and so prefer bicycles. Other times, people just find them boring, and prefer to get on a stepper.

Pull-up frames and cables

Next, you should let people have a space where they can do some bodyweight work as well. And the pull-up is probably the king of bodyweight exercises. So, a pull-up bar is an absolute must. Find one that isn’t too thick, or too thin. Also, try to place it in such a way where people have enough room to do both chin-ups and pull-ups, and to have them vary their grip width easily.

Cable machines, while not essential, can be very useful as well. People can do a lot of isolation work, like stuff for their triceps and rear delts. Now, the reason we mentioned these with something essential like pull-up frames is that quite often you can find sets that combine pull-up frames with cable options. The Cyberfit functional trainer, for example, allows you to store a couple of barbells, while providing you with a space to do pull-ups and to execute some cable work.

Set-ups like these provide your members with a great opportunity of doing multiple exercises back to back, while also saving you some extra space.

Core items

Well, of course, you need the right place where people can sit and lie down when they need to their exercises. Sure, people should do more floor pressing, but that doesn’t mean they can do everything like that. So, get a couple of benches, and, if possible, keep them adjustable.

And of course, actual weight plates you can put on your barbells and adjustable dumbbells are a must. There is hardly a limit to how many you need, and you should probably keep on adding more as time goes on. Then, mirrors around the place, lockers for your changing room, and showers, if you have space are crucial.


And there you have it folks, some essential pieces of equipment every gym needs. Remember, you want to have people of all sorts to come to your gym. This means providing them with equipment that allows them to lift heavy weights, while also having some room for bodyweight work. Some cardio equipment will get you people who just want to get some aerobic exercise done quickly, and, of course, they actually have to have benches on which they can use all that gear.

Author's Bio: 

Mia Johnson is a writer with a ten-year long career in journalism. She has written extensively about health, fitness, and lifestyle. A native to Melbourne, she now lives in Sydney with her 3 dogs where she spends her days writing and taking care of her 900 square feet garden.