The acoustics in a gym play a crucial role in how it feels to use. Gyms with good noise and vibration insulation are more relaxing to use, while gyms with less insulation are rawer and more hectic. People have their own preferences for which they like best and most gyms will go down the middle to meet everyone’s needs.
When considering the acoustics within gyms, it’s important to understand that noise and vibration can only be dampened to a point. Complete elimination is impossible and there’s more than one factor at play in the results.
Concrete floors are better for noise insulation than boarding. Concrete dampens noise better because noise transmission is absorbed. Vibration is more of a problem with concrete, however, so both substrates have their quirks.
If you want to reduce noise in a gym the easiest way to go about it is to upgrade the floor with rubber flooring in a layering system. This works on the simple premise that increasing insulation creates a reduction in noise.
From dropped weights to someone jumping rope, it is possible to dampen most noise to the point where it can’t be heard over music.
Most of the noise in gyms is low-frequency noise and the best way to tackle this is with rubber flooring and rubber underlay. It should ideally be 30mm – 40mm thick (not including underlay) and even thicker in powerlifting areas.
There are special kinds of gym rubber flooring that are designed to reduce vibration from weights and machines. So-called acoustic flooring systems are popular in gyms because they cost little more than normal flooring but are nicer to use.
In the same way insulating a floor reduces noise, it also cushions the floor and provides impact protection. When a weight hits such a floor, it compresses the rubber, and the rubber absorbs the shock of the impact.
Underlay also plays a crucial role in reducing vibration because it acts as an additional layer between the rubber floor and the substrate.
Your gym could have the best equipment in the world but if it’s too noisy or annoying to use your membership numbers will suffer.
Flooring plays a crucial role in reducing sound and vibration in gyms, in addition to protecting the base floor. The right flooring can significantly improve the acoustics within gyms and make attending your gym a more pleasant experience.