Door Entry System Options For Gyms

By Bernhard Mehl
September 28, 2018

Almost any access control system can be used at gymns for physical security—however, door entry systems at gyms and fitness facilities need to be simple enough to allow for a frequent flow of visitors, allowing staff to focus on customer service without taking up too much of their time to monitor who goes in and out of the fitness facility. Common door entry systems for gyms include turnstile and barrier systems, keyfobs and access cards systems, and keypads/readers with typed passcodes.

Physical security barriers, such as turnstiles, are still used in some gyms—but they're becoming antiquated and getting replaced with modern, electronic access control, which means that gyms are slowly turning into customer service-oriented businesses. Using a modern access control solution lets gyms take care of security and allows the members to feel safe and have a hassle-free checkin.

Regardless of the door entry system that you opt for, make sure it's simple to access the space and reliable for members. Certain types of systems can simplify the lives of staff —especially those working at the front desk and access control can be integrated with your member directory for easy check in of members, guests, deliveries and it can help you manage shift work for employees. Modern access control also allows gym owners or admins to make sense of how their spaces are used—with real-time logs and reporting on member patterns, unlocks and scheduled door timers. This data can help owners and managers drastically improve the services they offer by learning more about member habits. In turn, you’ll be able to create discounted offers and promotional packages and invest in the most lucrative gym areas.


Simple tripod turnstiles and full-height turnstiles

These are mobile physical barriers that prevent visitors from unauthorized entry but generally still require a member of staff to oversee what’s going on at the entrance to advise people on their membership duration, fees, and gym packages. Full-height turnstiles and speed gates can incorporate an ID access card to refuse entry to non-paying members and gym admins won’t need to buzz visitors in. However, turnstiles can be visually unpleasant and are certainly not a modern solution.

Speed gates

Speed gates are more reliable because they can be integrated with an electronic access control solution, mark non-payers, and work on set schedules.

Interlocking doors

The advantage of interlocking doors is that they can create an airlock between the reception area and the fitness area so that the gym can control the number of people that get into each specific area. However, gym members may not be great fans of the double-door system where they need to wait instead of freely moving around the gym areas.

Membership and Gym Entry System
Gym door entry systems must be hassle-free and reliable at the same time

Barcode readers

Barcodes are an affordable door entry system option for gyms. The barcode is placed on a member’s card and recognized by a door or wall mounted reader placed at the gym entrance. The downside of barcode readers is that they cannot include as much information on cards as proximity and magstripe cards.

Key fobs and access cards

Key fobs are an inexpensive option for fitness facilities, but they can be exchanged between members and are not personally identifiable. Fobs and cards are used on electric strike and magnetic lock doors. Proximity or Bluetooth access cards can incorporate data that allows for the gym staff to control a number of elements and run a personal file for each user. Access cards are some of the best options for gyms, affordable and versatile to work well in 24-hour gym systems. Fobs, on the other hand, are best avoided.

Discover how to secure your gym or fitness center with Kisi

Keypad readers

Unless they include a time-limited passcode, keypad readers are a low-level physical security option for gyms as anyone can type in the code and get into the gym facility.

Keypad Access
‍Anyone who knows the passcode can get into the fitness facility

Mobile phones

Mobile phones with an access control app are great for quick changes to the gym membership, issuing time-limited passcodes for keypad readers, and providing easy access to the areas and equipment that has been paid for. With the possibility to store a generous amount of information, don’t get stolen as much, and always being at the user’s hand, smartphones surpass many of the capabilities of the weaker door entry systems.

24-hour cloud access control

Cloud access provides an advanced level of physical security in fitness facilities. Some of the above door entry systems, for instance - access cards, can be integrated into an electronic access control system within the cloud, enabling easy control of several fitness facilities. Gym staff can use the information on the access card to identify the visitor, check payment details, and manage the membership privileges. By using the member’s smartphone as an access tool, the gym can save on unnecessary costs for issuing cards and fobs that often get lost or stolen.

Bernhard Mehl

Bernhard is the co-founder and CEO of Kisi. His philosophy, "security is awesome," is contagious among tech-enabled companies.

Useful Resources
Access Control Basics