Matrix helps Bristol University extend and future proof gym in £5m refurbishment

Matrix Fitness – the commercial division of Johnson Health Tech – has helped Bristol University extend and futureproof its Indoor Sports Centre city centre gym facility.

The £5m refurbishment project saw the first-floor gym, on Tyndall Avenue, Bristol, relocate to the ground floor before transforming the newly vacated first floor space into a bespoke functional training zone. Overall, the refurbished facility offers 30 per cent more space and a 50 per cent increase in the number of stations available.

Bristol University need to expand and upgrade its facilities to meet demand from its growing student membership which is now over 5,000. In addition, university staff and people who work or live in Bristol are also opting for the state-of-the-art facility.

Matt Birch, Bristol University Director of Sport, Exercise and Health, said: “Awareness of the benefits of physical activity among the student body has grown massively and we have seen physical activity increase from 7,500 to 12,500 in the last three years – that’s over half of the student population.

“We have worked hard with Bristol Students’ Union to get as many students as possible involved in some form of physical activity in direct response to our drive to help students recognise the health, wellbeing and social benefits that sport and activity bring.

“It soon became clear that our facilities had to match our ambitious membership targets and we also needed more cardio, functional training, weight lifting and group exercise options to engage and hold their interest.”
The new layout comprises a 640 sq m ground floor gym, a 245 sq m first floor functional zone and three studios that hold over 100 classes each week. The generous footprint gave Matrix plenty of scope to install a wide range of cardio equipment, functional training rigs, racks and strength equipment.

The previous layout had seen almost-exclusively male use of the weights area so Bristol University took the opportunity of the refurbishment to bring in a more diverse range of equipment to attract a wider demographic. The ground floor has a mix of Matrix 7XI cardio equipment including recumbent and upright cycles, treadmills, ascent trainers and its Climbmill plus the Magnum and Aura Strength ranges. Several of each machine are available to ensure ease of access to the healthy number of students using the gym at any one time.

On the first floor the functional zone maximises its generous floor space to house a bespoke Matrix Connexus rig, an S-Drive treadmill and indoor cycles. The layout encourages people to work side-by-side making it ideal for students to exercise together and in small groups. It also lends itself to group ex gym floor sessions: having used the equipment under supervision in these groups, individuals are encouraged to use them for their own workouts, independently afterwards.

Tony Ali, Matrix Education Head of Sector, said: “We have an excellent partnership with the University and were delighted to be invited to tender for this refurbishment project. The expansion and upgrade gave us great scope to support Bristol University’s aims to cater for more students and staff while also attracting membership from the public.

“The Functional Zone was the single biggest change – we really have taken it to the next level. It’s an attractive space that is encouraging females to work out there where previously the functional training was very male-dominated. Bristol University was keen to balance things out: we helped them do that by specifying on-trend equipment which, coupled with careful branding and lighting, made this a very attractive zone for challenging workouts and classes.”

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