Powerbase looks like the sort of gym Captain America might work out in. But it’s the home of Britain’s superhumans. The building at the edge of Loughborough University’s sprawling campus welcomes 1,000 members through its doors every day. Yet ‘Base’ has ambitions far beyond a high footfall. It was built to breed elite performance.
Powerbase started life as a space designed for ‘throwing’ athletes, such as former record-holding javelin thrower Stephen Backley. By the time current gym manager Richard Ellis graduated from the university in 2006, it had expanded into three specialised training rooms. Then, when Team GB made Powerbase its official home ahead of the 2012 Olympics, management decided to knock the dividing walls through, giving coaches a clearer view of their athletes.
The pursuit of high performance informs every detail of the gym. For instance, Powerbase was the first UK centre to use PLAE sports flooring with 0.9% underfoot deflection and 40% shock absorption to reduce the bounce of falling weights. Although very few members attempt to lift the 100kg dumbbells, says Ellis, ‘it’s important that when we get visiting throwers from the States – big strong guys – we’re not limiting what they’re able to do’.
Equipment aside, Powerbase has an elite reputation because of those who’ve trained there. Boxer Anthony Joshua has used the facilities, and England’s Commonwealth Games team prepared for this summer’s event there, too. ‘It’s a real melting pot of athletes,’ says Ellis. ‘And that rubs off on the students, which is really important to us.’
Powerbase: The Equipment
Only The Best
Members have no shortage of specialist equipment, including a belt squat machine and glute-ham developer, while Powerbase partners with world-leading brands such as Eleiko and Technogym.
Ski, Run, Ride
A mezzanine overlooking the main gym floor supports 16 Wattbikes, plus row-ergs, ski-ergs and a variety of treadmills, some including gait-analysis platforms.
Powerbase: The Numbers
The length of the gym’s sprint corridor, which has two surfaces: turf for athletes who use studded shoes, and a harder track for sprinters, which is optimised for better energy transfer.
The maximum altitude simulation in the adjoining climatic room, which also offers temperature and humidity variations to mimic all environments.
Powerbase is open to Loughborough University’s students (£235/year), staff (£330/year) and select athletes. Interested in another degree?
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