Building a Perfect Weight Room Isn't Just for Elite Athletic Programs

Big, storied athletic programs usually have strength training facilities that are impressive showcases—think Clemson’s amazing new football facility. But creating the perfect weight room for athletes doesn’t necessarily mean unrealistic planning that requires a big budget. Smartly balancing what you need, how much space you have and how much you have to spend can create the perfect training space for any size of athletic training program.

So how do strength and conditioning coaches or athletic directors start the process?

Start by Dreaming Big

Know what you want before you begin. Sketch out the perfect weight room, a place you would create regardless of the constraints of budget and space. You can always scale down once you actually begin the process of building the training space.

When looking at changes for any weight room, always start with the ‘dream’ or ideal of what I want regarding equipment. Then the reality of what our space/capacity is dictates the end result.”

— Dirk Huebner, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach, Eastlake (WA) High School

Consider Your Philosophy

Does your training philosophy revolve around racks or plate-loaded equipment? Do you need areas for speed and agility training? Examining your personal approach helps plan equipment purchasing and layout.


Are you limited by space or have the freedom to determine the size of your weight room? Space dictates what equipment you have and the number of athletes that can be trained at any given time.

It starts with the amount of space you have. Once we knew the footprint that we could afford, I could plan on the amount of equipment that would safely fit into the space.”

— Mike Duffy, Athletic Director, Adrian College

What's In the Budget?

Money is almost always the biggest concern, but there are ways to make the most out of limited resources. Consider fundraisers or crowdfunding, which can help raise extra dollars. The added income could be just what you need to create the perfect strength training space.

We evaluated both the size of our space as well as our equipment desires, and Had to meet in the middle. We had to consider what our top priorities were for equipment, fit that in the space, and prioritize what else we could do with the remaining space.”  

— Frank Piraino, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach, Boston College

These are just a few initial considerations that help start the conversation and ideally result in a strength training space built for performance. To learn more about equipment choices and proper layout, and to find out how other coaches approach the task of building a weight room, download Building the Perfect Weight Room. It's a short guide, intended to provide ideas and guidance for any coach or administrator.