Promotion
BLK BOX: delivering the vision

Loughborough University set out to expand its Powerbase gym to support people both with and without disabilities equally, as Gregory Bradley explains


Loughborough University is renowned as one of the world’s leading universities for sport, as well as being home to numerous Olympic, Paralympic and world champions and the NFL Academy.

The recent expansion of Loughborough’s Powerbase gym stands as a testament to inclusivity, providing a holistic training environment for both able-bodied and para-sport athletes, with innovative rack designs and equipment placements.

These adaptations ensure both able-bodied and para-sport athletes can train side by side without compromise, with the facility also serving as a hub for athlete rehabilitation and pioneering sports research.

Powerbase is also a training ground for the next generation of strength and conditioning professionals.

A strong partnership
Loughborough’s focus on creating and supporting a diverse, equitable and inclusive community, as part of the investment in Powerbase, offered a great opportunity to consider the needs of people with disabilities from the very start.

The university has a high concentration of multi-sport practitioners on campus and the team driving the development had an intricate understanding of the needs of each of their programmes. This expertise was complemented by input from practitioners from Loughborough’s national governing body and institute partners, ensuring rigorous and meticulous planning went into the new development.

To bring the vision to life, the Loughborough team was determined to find a partner who could create bespoke equipment solutions and customise each product, as this was crucial to delivering outcomes.

BLK BOX joined the team to develop innovative solutions, so Powerbase could accommodate the needs of all stakeholders.

Engineering solutions
The Loughborough team benefitted from BLK BOX’s engineering expertise and experience in the sector, both of which enabled it to deliver innovative solutions to performance challenges.

These have been far-reaching, from integrated Smith machines and dual-function benches – to save floor space – to floor boxes that house integrated, but removable force plates.

When it came to the rack systems, buying a standard stock product was not an option. It was imperative that it was customised to meet the needs of the diverse user groups and practitioner requirements and BLK BOX was able to deliver on this.

Bespoke storage solutions allow for optimisation of training space, along with the clustering of racks to create ‘microclimates’ for individual programmes.

Supporting a diverse community
For the team at Loughborough, another important aspect of the partnership was BLK BOX’s ability to fully engage in focus group sessions.

These examined the needs of all users and helped Loughborough find ways to facilitate independent and uncompromised training options for people with all levels of ability.

Rich Ellis, gyms and technical relationships manager at Loughborough University said: “We’re delighted with the extension to our Powerbase gym, it has given us one of the largest and most heavily-instrumented strength and conditioning facilities in the world. One that has been tailored to the needs of our user groups.

“This project would not have been as successful without partnerships, such as the one we have with BLK BOX. We’re proud to say that our partnership has led to sector-informing solutions that not only benefit users at Loughborough, but also reach far wider. We hope we’ll start to see more facilities delivering an inclusive equipment offering.

“Our relationship with BLK BOX is constantly evolving and right now we’re working together on prototype products that we look forward to bringing to our users. This approach is a living example of how Loughborough University is always looking to be better and working together with our partners to achieve this.”

More: www.blkboxfitness.com

"Powerbase is now one of the most heavily-instrumented strength and conditioning facilities in the world" – Rich Ellis, Loughborough University

Watch the video:
BLK BOX delivered all project stages, from concept and manufacturing, to installation Credit: photo: BLK BOX / Loughborough University
 


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SELECTED ISSUE
Health Club Management
2023 issue 10

View issue contents

Leisure Management - BLK BOX: delivering the vision

Promotion

BLK BOX: delivering the vision


Loughborough University set out to expand its Powerbase gym to support people both with and without disabilities equally, as Gregory Bradley explains

BLK BOX delivered all project stages, from concept and manufacturing, to installation photo: BLK BOX / Loughborough University
The Powerbase gym at Loughborough University, with kit by BLK BOX photo: Loughborough University

Loughborough University is renowned as one of the world’s leading universities for sport, as well as being home to numerous Olympic, Paralympic and world champions and the NFL Academy.

The recent expansion of Loughborough’s Powerbase gym stands as a testament to inclusivity, providing a holistic training environment for both able-bodied and para-sport athletes, with innovative rack designs and equipment placements.

These adaptations ensure both able-bodied and para-sport athletes can train side by side without compromise, with the facility also serving as a hub for athlete rehabilitation and pioneering sports research.

Powerbase is also a training ground for the next generation of strength and conditioning professionals.

A strong partnership
Loughborough’s focus on creating and supporting a diverse, equitable and inclusive community, as part of the investment in Powerbase, offered a great opportunity to consider the needs of people with disabilities from the very start.

The university has a high concentration of multi-sport practitioners on campus and the team driving the development had an intricate understanding of the needs of each of their programmes. This expertise was complemented by input from practitioners from Loughborough’s national governing body and institute partners, ensuring rigorous and meticulous planning went into the new development.

To bring the vision to life, the Loughborough team was determined to find a partner who could create bespoke equipment solutions and customise each product, as this was crucial to delivering outcomes.

BLK BOX joined the team to develop innovative solutions, so Powerbase could accommodate the needs of all stakeholders.

Engineering solutions
The Loughborough team benefitted from BLK BOX’s engineering expertise and experience in the sector, both of which enabled it to deliver innovative solutions to performance challenges.

These have been far-reaching, from integrated Smith machines and dual-function benches – to save floor space – to floor boxes that house integrated, but removable force plates.

When it came to the rack systems, buying a standard stock product was not an option. It was imperative that it was customised to meet the needs of the diverse user groups and practitioner requirements and BLK BOX was able to deliver on this.

Bespoke storage solutions allow for optimisation of training space, along with the clustering of racks to create ‘microclimates’ for individual programmes.

Supporting a diverse community
For the team at Loughborough, another important aspect of the partnership was BLK BOX’s ability to fully engage in focus group sessions.

These examined the needs of all users and helped Loughborough find ways to facilitate independent and uncompromised training options for people with all levels of ability.

Rich Ellis, gyms and technical relationships manager at Loughborough University said: “We’re delighted with the extension to our Powerbase gym, it has given us one of the largest and most heavily-instrumented strength and conditioning facilities in the world. One that has been tailored to the needs of our user groups.

“This project would not have been as successful without partnerships, such as the one we have with BLK BOX. We’re proud to say that our partnership has led to sector-informing solutions that not only benefit users at Loughborough, but also reach far wider. We hope we’ll start to see more facilities delivering an inclusive equipment offering.

“Our relationship with BLK BOX is constantly evolving and right now we’re working together on prototype products that we look forward to bringing to our users. This approach is a living example of how Loughborough University is always looking to be better and working together with our partners to achieve this.”

More: www.blkboxfitness.com

"Powerbase is now one of the most heavily-instrumented strength and conditioning facilities in the world" – Rich Ellis, Loughborough University

Watch the video:

Originally published in Health Club Management 2023 issue 10

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