Set in the midst of a shopping park in Oxford, right next to a retail park, above the very shops themselves is a traditional gym which knows its message and gets it right. With a great range of kit and a lots of options on offer for how you want to train this gym knows where it stands.
Built over the shopping centre with parking either within this centre or in the retail park opposite (for up to 3 hours free which isn't bad) this gym starts on the first floor (always a bit of a worry with big weights!) and covers 2 floors.
The lower of the two floors is the main gym area, this includes the changing area and a functional area on a mezzanine with some cardio equipment, going down into the main gym area this is split with the free weights area being in front of a huge mirror (Yay!) and then moving over through a cable area in the middle of the floor with the plate machines going round the edge. The far end has a little corner "bit" which contains deadlift platforms with cages and again more mirrors.
There is then an upstairs area to the gym I didn't explore as… most of the space is a ladies only gym! I had a quick peek and its fantastically kitted out for those who want to be away from the grunting fools like myself and I totally love this idea as they have the space.
The weights area is fantastic, with two of every weight up to 50kg in the dumbell area, 5 free benches and 2 flat benches international chest day is always going to be fantastic here. But more to this they had flat (parallel to floor flat) plate press machines for chest which is the first time I have found these in the UK! Along with calf raise machines, hack squat, plate lat pull down, 4 low cable rows and more! The range of equipment here for isolation and dynamic training cannot be stated enough I was really impressed. It is what I would call a traditional body building set of kit, with a lot of those machines that when you train elsewhere that you "wish you could have a go at". Whoever kitted out this gym clearly went "what would I want to try and use" and put every last bit in, well done very happy gym goer here!
The cable kit is pretty extensive with 2 of almost every machine I could find spread out there is no competition for this and again some more varied pieces here which I haven't seen before. I would say a minor downside is that some of these like the cable cross over were feeling a little tired and rattling in places which does happen but I think an overall TLC on the kit wouldn't go amiss here in the next year or so.
The cardio equipment wasn't in huge supply downstairs but there was more than enough for most gyms of this size, with a good and very standard selection of treadmills, cross trainers and bikes. Nothing to set the world on fire but given most peoples need this will more than do for you and allow you to get your workout done. A slight lack of TVs in this area and though there is free wifi I had a bit of a battle that I ended up losing with how much information I wanted to give it so my cardio was a little dull…
Other bits here they do have a functional area which looked quite fun to use with various bars and steps, they have a small food area at reception which can furnish you with post workout food should you want.
Along with this there are a few studios, I believe this is also a martial arts academy which is almost a gym unto itself! I am sure those who go for this love having the gym attached its huge and just a fantastic space! Other studios are also around these include a good looking spin studio. They do have a steam room but it was out of order on my visit so I didn't investigate while changing, the changing rooms themselves were a little drab but huge and well laid out to avoid people being too on top of each other. The only minor complaint was those button showers that turn off… trust people to not use your water please gyms, this is a pain to keep pushing!
I think the only concern I had coming here was that I could see from the window a huge Pure Gym, with big cheap chains of gyms offering 24 hour access so close I am worried about this amazing gyms future. I would say that if you are in the area and the 24 hour access isn't a must for you this is a fantastic choice and if you can support your local gyms as these are the places where character is bred, friends are made and they can feel like a family. And training here seeing the people interact together it really did.
I got a fantastic buzz at this gym, it felt like somewhere people came to improve themselves, gyms have character and here it was making yourself better together with everyone around you. Great music on, good temperature in the gym, felt pretty clean and just a good feeling training here.
One of the quietest gyms I have trained in at this time of the day. I was here from about 6am-8am, I was perhaps one of 3 or 4 in the gym. Could be worth checking other times but all in loved this as I got a lot of work done!
Not sure if it gets busier later but work a look around
Free weights area
4 squat racks (3with deadlift platforms)
2 flat bench, 1 incline, 1 decline
5 free benches
2x Dumbells up to 50kg
Set of plate machines including
Chest flat and incline
Calf raise x2
Cable machines including
Low row x4
Lat pull down x3
Cable cross over x3
Full boxing gym attached
Free weights area
Quite a few options and more when you head into the gym as well.
Around £30 a month with various add on options and I was never clear if this included boxing but all in not a bad price! (though classes are an extra cost which seems an odd choice these days)
They do offer a free pass for those who are curious to try it out!
They have weird free wifi that I couldn't get to work
No dedicated parking can at times to be a bit of a pickle
The entrance isn't that obvious at a distance, but if you can try and get into the shopping centre you are good!