Sports Centre de Bongerd opens outdoor gym

‘After the pandemic, people asked why outdoor training wasn’t continued.’
Tijmen Oostenbrugge test de nieuwe buitenfaciliteit uit Tijmen Oostenbrugge tests the new outdoor facility. Photo Resource

Right now, it may sound like a bad idea to be doing pull-ups and deadlifts outdoors, but as of this spring, sports centre De Bongerd will be offering this as an option. The spot where the boulder wall used to be will be remodelled into an outdoor gym by this April to accommodate individual fitness training as well as group activities such as boot camps.

The idea of creating an outdoor gym facility emerged during covid, when several sports activities were moved outdoors out of necessity. ‘People were enthusiastic,’ says coordinator of Strength Training and Top-Level Sports Tijmen Oostenbrugge. ‘They asked why there wasn’t a permanent outdoor option.’ The indoor gym was extensively remodelled last year, and the construction of the outdoor gym constitutes the last part of the total renovation.

Relieve the pressure

Anyone who has used the gym at De Bongerd can attest that it can get quite crowded. Oostenbrugge: ‘We regularly have some 120 people in the gym at any given time between four in the afternoon and eight in the evening, with even more people in the first few weeks of the new year.’ The outdoor gym can serve to relieve some of the pressure during these peak hours.

Some of the climbing boulders remain behind in the outdoor facility. Opposite them are new lamps and speakers. A new rack for strength training and callisthenics has been installed, and storage for free weights is to be added. When the weather allows, some of the indoor equipment can be easily moved outside, where group training can also be facilitated. Oostenbrugge: ‘For example, strength training for employees, the Wageningen Beasts training, boot camps. I think some ten to fifteen training sessions can be hosted outside.’ That also offers opportunities to expand the sports programme.

Schetsontwerp van de buitenfitnessruimte
Artist’s impression of the outdoor gym. Image Sports Centre de Bongerd


What if it is really cold or rainy? ‘We purposely opted for the outdoors, but we may install a tarp for the rain. How things will go in the winter remains to be seen, but we believe there is a demographic that will enjoy the outdoors even then. As long as your heart rate remains elevated, working out in the cold is no issue. Strength training where you take recovery breaks in between your sets is less than ideal as you cool down too much.’

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