'It's really unique:' YMCA of the Triangle opens new outdoor gym

Elaina Athans Image
Wednesday, July 22, 2020
'It's really unique:' YMCA of the Triangle opens new outdoor gym
'It's really unique:' YMCA of the Triangle opens new outdoor gym

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The YMCA of the Triangle is launching a pilot program this week that could positively affect the 230,000 people who have Y memberships.

A new outdoor gym has been set up at the Alexander branch on Hillsborough Street.

Weights, dumbbells, and circuit equipment are blocked off in an area that sees shade twice a day.

Staff members bring out the equipment every morning and then lock it back up at night. It's a labor-intensive effort, but it is offering people a new way to work out during the COVID-19 crisis.

"It's really unique. Creativity has spawned out of this and I think it's a good thing going forward," YMCA-Alexander Executive Director Matt Lilley said.

Even with temperatures hovering above 90 degrees, ABC11 found a couple of people pumping iron and staff members standing by to jump in and wipe down weights after every use.

There are sanitizing stations sprinkled around the new space.

Lilley said they got the idea from a Charlotte branch.

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"We figured out which equipment is impossible to move, which equipment fun to move, what equipment really moves the needle for members that they want to come see," Lilley said. "We begged, borrowed and stole. We got tents from staff and board members that they let us borrow for this."

The set-up might soon be available at the 17 YMCA locations across the Triangle.

Lilley said that even once the indoor facilities are able to officially reopen, he would keep the outdoor space for members.

"They miss seeing people, the experience of working out and exercising around others," he said. "There's a mental well-being component that's really important to us. It's a service we can offer for the community."

If you're interested in trying out the space, it's open only to members and at various times during the day.

The hours are:

  • Monday: 7 a.m.-11 a.m. and 4 p.m.-7 p.m.
  • Tuesday 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
  • Wednesday: 7 a.m.-11 a.m. and 4 p.m.-7 p.m.
  • Thursday: 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
  • Friday: 7 a.m.-11 a.m.
  • Saturday: 8 a.m.-11 a.m.