What equipment do you need to start a CrossFit gym?

10 min read
What equipment is needed to start a CrossFit gym? Here’s a list of all the equipment and software you’ll need to start your CrossFit business.

What equipment is needed to start a CrossFit gym? Here’s a list of all the equipment and software you’ll need to start your CrossFit business.

What came first the CrossFit equipment or the gym? From getting certified to finding the right premises and everything in between, getting yourself set up as the owner of a CrossFit box takes some work. Whether you start with a few staple kit pieces or go for the full pack, outfitting your box with the essential pieces will help you get up and running in no time.

There are many, many barbells, weights, pull up bars and climbing ropes to invest in, but every box should include the most essential items. In this guide, you'll learn what those are and why you need them when opening your CrossFit gym to run and program the best workouts.

Two CrossFit box members doing pull ups.


Photo Credit: CrossFit 2012

Barbell sets, weights and dumbbells

A full set of weights and dumbbells is a good starting point when you're looking into what equipment to get for your CrossFit gym. For your weights, getting a barbell set with bumper plates is advisable so that they don't cause damage if they're dropped. Additionally, you should also invest in the following for your weights and barbell set:

  • Flat benches
  • Incline benches
  • Squat racks

A complete set of weights gives your customers plenty of options to use during CrossFit workouts and allows you to mix it up in classes.

Kettlebells for CrossFit exercises 

Kettlebells are a staple in CrossFit boxes. One of the easiest weights to move around, they can be stored easily and they're great for combining weights with body strength. CrossFitters can do a variety of kettlebell CrossFit workouts that put the whole body through its paces during their WOD. A great substitute for cardio, kettlebell workouts can have similar benefits to HIIT training. Kettlebells are also an alternative to barbell workouts. For example, if anyone is struggling with exercises such as barbell back squats, using kettlebell goblet squats offer a good way to improve form.

Quick-release collar

Quick-release collars are a better option than the standard spring collars. A big reason for this is that they enhance the safety of your CrossFit gym. This is because they lock to the bar more securely than spring collars. If one of your members drop the barbell while performing CrossFit workouts, the quick-release collar won't come off thanks to the strong grip of the runner inner. Additionally, quick-release collars are easier to use and won't scratch up your bar sleeves.

Pull up bars

Pull up bars are essential for CrossFit boxes and will be used frequently during all manner of workout sets, so it's worth buying a long-lasting option. You want to be sure that you invest in pull up bars that can support the weight of your largest clients so don't opt for a cheaper option that won't last.

Keep reading and find out why ring sets are an essential addition to your CrossFit gym equipment

Ring sets

A great way to develop strength through the lats, ring sets are also used for building upper body strength. They work the traps, scaps and pecs while also supporting the stabiliser muscles. Unlike the pull-up bars which are fixed, ring sets require your members to create stability using their own strength. There are generally two sizes that you can buy for your CrossFit box. The smaller ones are 1.1 inches are the official size for the International Gymnastics Federation, while the slightly larger 1.25-inch ring sets are more commonly used in CrossFit and other sports.

Your next decision when buying ring sets is the material used to make them; steel, wood, or plastic. Steel rings are sturdy but can become slippery when hands get sweaty, not to mention they could cause injury if they swing towards someone. Plastic ring sets are friendlier on the skin, and if you ever lead outdoor classes to mix things up a bit, plastic rings are resistant to water and moisture if they get left out in the rain. Wooden rings are definitely the best option for beginners to CrossFit, however, since they offer a better grip against sweaty palms.

Medicine balls for your CrossFit workouts

Medicine balls or heavy balls offer effective CrossFit workouts. Adding exercises with medicine balls such as mountain climbers, overhead squats, and a variety of core exercises, not to mention wall balls, are great additions to WODs (workout of the day). Medicine balls vary in weight, but 20 lb. is a good middle of the road weight for many CrossFitters. But adding a variety of sizes is sensible for those making progress and needing more of a challenge as they become more accustomed to workouts.

Jump ropes and speed ropes

Jump ropes are a great tool for warm-ups, and what makes them even more appealing is that they're relatively cheap compared to a lot of the other pieces of equipment you need for your CrossFit box. With brands such as Spark selling jump ropes from as little as $9.99 for beginners and intermediates to Bullet COMP selling them for $59.99 for expert or competitive CrossFit athletes, there is a wide range of types and prices. Depending on your budget and the skill level of your members, opting for something that is aimed at an intermediate level would be a good middle ground.

Use climbing ropes during your CrossFit box's WOD

Climbing ropes are one of the best tools for improving upper body strength and core strength. A simple part of any CrossFit workout, climbing ropes provide a great range of exercises. Climbing ropes tend to be made from manila hemp or thick nylon. For CrossFit, manila hemp ropes are the best option for the mere fact that they fray far less than their nylon counterparts, meaning replacing them less frequently. Manila hemp climbing ropes are actually what the military use on bases and shipyards for their physical training sessions as well. The length, or height, of climbing ropes, depends on the height of your CrossFit box's ceiling. If you want to stay in line with the CrossFit Games official regulations, CrossFitters need to climb to at least 15 feet, so 20-ft rope gives your members a bit of headspace when they reach the upper limit.

Find the best rowing machines to give your customers a full-body workout

Rowing machines

An excellent way of combining cardio and upper body training, rowing machines give gym-goers a full-body workout. Exercising up to 80% of your muscles, rowing machines also give you the chance to make some decent cardiovascular gains. With a long range of motion, it's the ideal bit of kit for a CrossFit box. Rowing machines aren't a cheap purchase though, so buying the right one is really important. You don't want to assign a large portion of your equipment budget towards buying a rowing machine that doesn't live up to expectations. The Concept2 Model D is a popular choice among CrossFit box owners. It's easy to set up, store, and importantly, it's been engineered to last, not just for a while, but for life.

Abdominal workout machines

Abdominal workout machines make core workouts easier to complete, and there is a variety to choose from. Ab coasters mainly target the lower core while Roman chairs make sit-ups more challenging. Ab rockers are also a common piece of equipment for abdominal workouts and they reduce strain when exercising. Depending on the workout and depending on the main focus of said workout dictates which abdominal workout machines you'll need to use when leading classes in your CrossFit box.

Plyometrics boxes

Many WODs require CrossFit members to use plyometrics boxes. Box jumps are used to improve explosive strength, speed strength and vertical jumping power. They also help with increasing endurance, strength and coordination by training the body's stability and mobility. Working all the leg muscles along with the core, it's the quintessential bodyweight workout. Explosive plyometric training can help you lose between 800 and 1,000 calories per hour, so it's a fantastic tool for weight loss workouts.

CrossFit fees and memberships

To be able to use the CrossFit name when you open a CrossFit box, you have to follow certain steps. This includes paying the annual affiliate fees and the cost of earning the correct accreditation. To become a CrossFit affiliated box owner, you will need to take the Level 1 course, which costs $1,000/£720/€1,050. The affiliate fees themselves cost $3,000/£2700.00/€3182.30 per year with any additional taxes included. Becoming an affiliate CrossFit gym has a lot of benefits that include CrossFit helping to market your business by adding your box to their Affiliate Finder Map and Affiliate List, which makes it easier for your target clientele to find you.

Managing a CrossFit gym and its members

Streamlining your admin needs is the first step in successfully managing a CrossFit gym and its members. By investing in the right CrossFit management software, you take away the painstaking tasks of organising schedules, chasing payments, and creating waivers and thorough reports for your business. As well as making the day to day running of your business easier, it makes it easier for your clients as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to start a CrossFit gym?

  1. Take the Level 1 course and pay the affiliate fees. 
  2. After completing the course, paying the affiliate fees, getting approved, and getting permission, you can use the CrossFit name and logo. 
  3. CrossFit will help market your business by adding your box to their Affiliate Finder Map and Affiliate List. 
  4. Find a suitable location for your CrossFit gym. The ideal location would be an ample space that can accommodate all the necessary equipment and enough room for classes. 
  5. Purchase all the required equipment, including barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, medicine balls, pull-up bars, and plyometrics boxes. 
  6. Find CrossFit-certified coaches to lead the classes in your gym.


What is a CrossFit box?

A CrossFit box is a type of gym specializing in CrossFit workouts. Founded in 2001, CrossFit is a fully trademarked brand and fitness regimen focusing on functional movements done in high intensity. CrossFit boxes typically have a wide variety of equipment, which allows them to offer a wide range of workouts. CrossFit boxes are usually smaller than traditional gyms and have a more intimate feel, resulting in a stronger community, as the members often train together and support each other.

How much does it cost to start a CrossFit gym?

A CrossFit gym will set you back $20,000 to $50,000 once you factor in the cost of level 1 training ($1,000) and what you have to pay the corporate offices ($3,000). Unlike standard gyms that are packed with equipment, CrossFit gyms don't use as much. Even though they don't need as many machines, they can still be pricey.

What is the most important equipment for CrossFit gym?

The most important equipment for a CrossFit gym would be the following: barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, medicine balls, pull-up bars, and plyometrics boxes. These are essential for CrossFit workouts and classes. Other important items include a water cooler and towels, as CrossFit workouts are very strenuous and can cause people to sweat a lot.

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Now you have the right equipment to start your own CrossFit, discover the 11 best CrossFit exercises for your customers here.

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