Posted on June 12, 2015 by Jasmine Shaddock
We all use them at some point in our gym visit – whether it’s constant self-eye contact throughout long, sweaty treadmill sessions, or just to check how we look on the way out.
Everybody, regardless of their workout type or level of personal fitness, benefits from mirrors in a gym.
For this reason, it is very important to consider the most effective places to position mirrors in gym design.
Nick Sadler, Managing Director of motive8, shares some experience in why using mirrors effectively in gym design can make a better workout space.
Why are mirrors needed in a gym?
There are two main reasons for needing mirrors in gym design – practicality and aesthetics.
Practically, it makes a work space much safer. Stretching areas and free weight zones are a good place for mirrors, so that people can see exactly what position they are in when stretching and lifting.
“Even if you’ve been working out for years and are experienced, once you’re given a brand new stretching position or exercise you need that mirror there so you can see exactly what your body is doing and where you’re meant to be,” says Nick.
The aesthetic reason for having mirrors in a gym is because they can help to make a space feel larger than it really is. Mirrors can also help make the most of a room’s natural light.
Another key reason for having mirrors for both practical and aesthetic purposes is:
“People like to lean for support when working out or maybe taking off a pair of shoes,” says Nick.
“If you have several people doing this every day, you’re soon going to have several little grubby finger marks all over the walls.”
A mirror with finger marks is much easier and much faster to clean than repainting a wall once every two weeks!
Where should mirrors go in a gym?
Firstly, and most importantly, gym mirrors should always be safety-backed. This ensures that any piece of mirror broken from an impact will not fall out onto the floor. This is particularly important for a gym manager to consider, as this type of mirror could prevent serious injury.
With careful positioning, mirrors can be placed so that the natural light is carried all the way around a room. This can be done by putting a mirror opposite the source of light.
“In many cases, mirrors should not be full length, but 1 to 1.2m wide and 2.1 to 2.2m high, using the skirting to support their weight.”
Unless a gym is more like a dance studio, there is no need to have a full length mirror. Often, the bottom 50cm from the floor up will be taken up by equipment. And having a mirror that hangs behind the equipment would be a waste of money.
It’s vital that mirrors only reflect the positive things in a gym. Avoid any ceiling-mounted televisions or other pieces of technology in front of a mirror, as all the wiring will be visible.
Budget permitting, there are new technologies that solve this problem, such as hidden TV mirrors. These look like normal mirrors but have an in-built television screen that is only visible when switched on.
A cheaper way to avoid displaying wiring would be to have wall-mounted televisions, rather than ceiling-mounted.
Another new innovation for gym mirrors is in the Kinesis Vision, a cable workout machine with in-built mirrors.
“Some high end gyms m8group has worked on recently have their mirrors in large, decorative frames,” says Nick. “Rather than mounting them flat to the wall, they like to prop them up artistically against the wall instead. The mirror is essentially freestanding but attached where the mirror joins the wall.”
This can create a good atmosphere for the more arts based styles of exercise, such as Pilates.
Mirrors are always needed in a gym. The answer for ‘where would be the most effective place to put them’ is in what the gym user needs it for. Mirrors can be used in different places for different uses. They are most effective when they help the gym user to work out more effectively and safely.
See some more gym mirror designs we love on our Pinterest page.