Rob Suddaby
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Leisure and fitness centres have to manage a frequent flow of customers. Here are some of the most effective alternatives available to gyms for access and entrance control.

Managing Member Access is a Challenge

There are a number of entrance control challenges facing gyms:

  • Managing constant flows of people with different access rights
  • Preventing unauthorised entry to non-members or to members who have not paid to use certain areas of the gym
  • Finding an entrance solution which can be used when the reception is unmanned or staff are dealing with customers
  • Finding a solution which is durable and reliable enough to cope with a steady flow of visitors

An effective entrance control solution should allow staff to concentrate on customer service instead of having to constantly police who is coming in and out of the site.

There are several types of entrance control solution available to gyms and they range in the level of access security provided.

Here is a summary of some of the more common approaches — starting with low and moving up to high security.

Tripod Turnstile | Security Level: Low

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A turnstile is a simple, compact and cost-effective solution for a gym entrance.

Without an integrated card reader however it does require staff presence. Members show their card at the reception and the ID is checked before allowing the customer to pass.

A tripod turnstile like this counts the number of passages and can be installed together with a glass panel gate if wider access is required.

Models with collapsible bars also provide an unhindered escape route in case of emergency.

Speed Gate | Security Level: Medium

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Speed gates have integrated access control so that gym members simply use their identification card or tag at the gate to gain entry. This means staff presence is not necessarily required at the entrance.

Fake or expired cards will be refused and schedules can be set which prevent the same card being scanned twice within a certain time frame. This considerably reduces use of the gym facilities by non-paying visitors.

Even at the busiest times, speed gates are a reliable way of managing large people flows.

Full-Height Turnstile | Security Level: High

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Full-height turnstiles provide a higher level of security than speed gates for gyms and leisure centres where the entrance is not manned.

They still allow fast and efficient access to the building but with almost no risk of someone being able to enter without a valid membership card.

Interlocking Doors | Security Level: Very High

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An interlocking door is composed of two doors electronically connected so one cannot open until the other has closed.

It is one of the most secure methods of access control and perfect for unmanned training centres or facilities with 24-hour opening.

Working like an airlock, a person uses their ID to enter the first door which must close behind them before the second door opens, allowing passage into the gym.

Only one person can enter at a time thanks to a system of sensors which detect how many people have stepped into the booth through the first door.