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Gym Lighting

LED Gym Lighting Fixtures & Layout Design

In today’s commercial gyms, reducing maintenance and saving cost while ensuring proper illumination throughout your facility is paramount. We sell a variety of commercial quality gym lighting fixtures for both low and high ceilings. Our experts work with electrical contractors, project managers, and gym owners to design lighting layouts that maximize lighting quality while keeping high energy costs at bay.

LED Lighting For Gyms

Round shaped high bay fixtures with a reflector illuminating a gym full of weights and exercise equipment

As the primary facility for sports events and activities for schools, large corporate campuses and community organizations, gymnasiums are a ubiquitous and important part of our society. Because of the size of these facilities as well as the nature of the events they host, quality lighting is critical for both the enjoyment of spectators as well as the safety of the athletes and activity participants.

Generally speaking, gymnasiums have been illuminated using large, powerful lighting fixtures mounted high above from the tall ceilings common to these types of facilities. In the past, these fixtures used traditional technologies such as HIDs and high-pressure sodium or mercury vapor lamps. While these fixtures produced excellent lighting performance for their time, they have since been eclipsed by superior LED lighting technology which offers improvements in every conceivable performance aspect.

Fitness Center & Gym Lighting Design

Choosing the right lighting fixtures to maximize illumination in your fitness center or gym will depend on several factors. First off, it’s important to determine ceiling height, or at least have a ballpark number. Most commercial gyms operate with ceiling height between 14 and 18 feet, or at least, this is generally considered an ideal range.

You’ll also want to determine the approximate square feet of the area you wish to illuminate. Here’s an example of a photometric lighting plan we provided for a commercial gym. This lighting plan was designed for a weight room that was 1210 square feet with a 15 foot high ceiling.

Photometric lighting design for a 1,210 square foot gym with 15 foot high ceilings. The recommended fixtures are 150 watt LED UFO high bay lights

In this case, our commercial LED lighting experts recommended four 150 watt LED UFO high bay lights to provide adequate illumination for the gym’s weight room area. The compact design and energy output of these lighting fixtures give them the ability to cast bright illumination with a wide beam angle from high areas. These high bay lights provided the proper amount of foot candles based on the room’s dimensions.

Gym Lighting Recommendations by Ceiling Height

Choosing the most ideal lighting fixture for your commercial gym or recreational facility will largely depend on the ceiling height. For example, large commercial gyms with ceiling heights between 20-30 feet typically require round shaped UFO high bay lights due to their compact design and high lumen output. This design and energy output give them the ability to cast bright illumination with a wide beam angle from high areas.

On the other hand, smaller areas with ceiling heights of 10 feet or lower should typically use less powerful lights such as 4 foot suspended LED lights, these fixtures cast adequate illumination without expending excessive energy; they’re also light, occupy minimal space, and are sold at a highly affordable price point.

Here are general gym lighting guidelines based on ceiling height within the facility. Please note, these recommendations are very general, to obtain an accurate lighting plan, we recommend consulting with one of our lighting experts.

Ceiling Height Lumen Output Ideal Fixture Spacing Ideal Fixture Type
10 feet or less 5,000 5 feet Suspended LED lights (Low bays)
15-20 feet 10,000 - 22,000 10 feet 50W UFO High Bays, 100-150W Linear High Bays
20-25 feet 22,000 - 32,000 15-25 feet 220W UFO High Bays or 150W Linear High Bays

Gym Lighting Recommendations by Location

Suspended LED tube ready fixtures hanging from a gym ceiling and casting illumination around the free weight area

Free Weights Area - The free weights area of a gym is packed with dumbbells, barbells, and other equipment for resistance training. Assuming this area isn’t combined with the main cardio section, the free weights area usually has lower ceilings of 10 feet or less. Having ample lighting is important in this area for safety reasons. We generally advise 4 foot suspended LED lights as these fixtures are versatile, occupy minimal ceiling space, and provide sufficient illumination around the weights and mirrors. Our 4 FT industrial fixture with 15 watt LED tubes with a 5,000K color temperature is a great choice as it provides a nice clean yet bright daylight illumination.

Main Cardio Training Area - The main cardio training area of a gym is occupied by equipment such as treadmills, stationary bikes, and other cardio machines. This area is generally the focal point of the facility as it has the highest usage by gym members and occupies the most space. As a result, this area of the gym will have the highest lighting needs. Most commercial gyms operate with ceiling heights between 14-18 feet. In these cases, you’ll want to use 150 watt LED UFO high bay lights with an approximate 21,900-22,000 lumen output. The number of fixtures and spacing will depend on the square footage of your facility.

Indoor Basketball Court - If your fitness/recreational center has a basketball court, there are specific rules regarding ceiling height. With a regulation rim resting 10 feet above the floor, there needs to be adequate space for the ball to reach the rim. As a result, the height of the ceiling must be at least 16 feet high. With this in mind, your indoor basketball court will require fixtures with a lumen output of approximately 22,000-27,023. We advise UFO LED high bays of 150-220 watts for this type of lighting project.

Locker Rooms - Most commercial gyms have locker rooms for their members. Many of these areas are combined with the bathrooms of the facility and have individual rooms for male and female members. In these areas, you want your lighting to provide a nice relaxing and pleasant feel to your members. For this purpose, you want to use drop ceiling lighting fixtures such as LED troffers or LED panels to accommodate your guests. In the bathroom area specifically, you can use vapor tight fixtures as these provide relaxing illumination and are resistant to water vapor.

Office Area - The office area(s) inside commercial gyms is for personal trainers, gym staff, etc. Similar to the locker room areas, it’s good to provide soft and pleasant illumination since these areas will be frequently used by staff. These areas should also use LED drop ceiling lights as these are very popular for office lighting purposes.

Why Use LEDs?

There are numerous clear advantages to using LED technology for gym and gymnasium lighting. The first and most obvious benefit is the dramatic improvement in energy efficiency when compared to traditional lighting. In fact, most users notice up to a 70% increase in efficiency after upgrading from common traditional fixtures such as HIDs and sodium lamps. This alone is often enough for users to justify the switch to LEDs, especially for large facilities.

In addition to the improved energy efficiency, LED fixtures require none of the maintenance associated with traditional lighting technologies. These factory sealed fixtures are designed to require no regular parts replacements or servicing throughout their lifespan. This means that users and facility owners do not have any additional expenses beyond the initial costs of the fixtures themselves - saving a considerable amount in both parts and labor costs.

An article posted by GymCrafter, a company that specializes in setting up gyms highlights these advantages. According to the article,

“If you can, use LED lighting. It will often be the most flexible and cost effective… The right LED lighting can be very close to actual sunlight and will almost always be your best option.” (GymCrafter, 2018, THE BEST WAYS TO LIGHT YOUR HOME GYM, A COMPLETE GUIDE)

On top of the economical aspects of LED fixtures, there are also significant improvements in the light produced. One of the first benefits of LED lighting is the ability to select different color temperatures to tailor the light to each specific application. Most traditional lighting is quite restricted as to color temperature options due to the nature of the technology used. LEDs on the other hand are far more adaptable, being able to be manufactured in a much wider color temperature range to better suit all applications.

In addition to a wider color temperature range, LED lights produce a light with a much higher accuracy in replicating color than traditional lighting. Measured using the Color Rendering Index (CRI), this higher lighting accuracy translates to much clearer visibility and a light that is easier on the eyes. This not only makes for a more pleasurable experience for athletes, spectators and other facility occupants, it also significantly improves safety for participants, reducing mistakes and injuries.

Types of LED Gym Lights

Round shaped LED ufo high bays mounted on a gym ceiling casting illumination around the treadmills below

There are several different types of lighting fixtures used for gymnasiums. Below are a list of the most common LED fixtures used in these facilities:

UFO High Bays - Designed to be mounted high above, these fixtures get their name from their distinct round shape. They produce a significant lumen output in order to provide proper foot candle ratings at the floor level of a gym. They are typically mounted via cables or chains directly from tall ceilings.

Linear High Bays - Similar in purpose to UFO high bay lights, these high bays produce intense lighting from above, except that they produce a more linear lighting pattern instead of a rounded one. Generally these are used in areas specifically requiring linear shaped light beams such as weight racks and weight benches.

High Powered High Bays - These are the largest, most powerful UFO style high bay lights available. Certain facilities have exceptionally tall ceilings, and instead of hanging traditional high by lights from very long cables or chains, it is preferred to simply hang higher powered lights closer to the ceiling.

Strip Lights - These smaller linear lighting fixtures are designed to be mounted from heights of 15 feet and below. Accordingly, their lumen output is not as intense and instead energy efficiency while producing adequate lighting is their primary goal.

Linear Low Bays - Occupying the middle ground in the linear lighting fixture marketplace, these lights are designed for ceiling heights up to 20 feet or below. They generally feature four or more T8 tubes and produce a medium lumen output.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is good lighting in a gym facility?
The type of lighting fixtures required for proper gym illumination will depend on several factors, namely, ceiling height. For ceiling areas under 20 feet high, you can use strip lights and low bays with LED tubes. These provide ample illumination without expending excessive energy. On the other hand, for high ceilings over 20 feet high, you’ll want to use specialized high bay lights in a linear or round shape to ensure adequate illumination from high ceiling areas.

Q. How to figure out proper lighting for gyms?
Selecting the right type of lighting fixture as well as the number and configuration of fixtures can be a daunting task for those who are not lighting experts. There are numerous factors to take into consideration, beginning with the foot candle requirements for the specific application. Once this is determined, a photometric plan can be created for the facility that determines the best number, size and placement of fixtures to maximize visibility while minimizing energy consumption. Working with an LED lighting expert is critical during this process in order to ensure the best outcome, especially for larger projects.

Q. What color balance do you use for gym lighting?
Color balance, also known as color temperature, is important for gyms. The best color balance for gyms is around 5,000K which closely replicates sunlight while not being harsh on the eyes. It also maximizes visibility, which improves safety. Most commercial and industrial lighting also falls under this color temperature range for the same reasons.