Hardcore Gyms: Best And Worst


A good gym is hard to find, and great gyms are more and more often becoming a rarity. As BS gyms like Planet Fitness collect donations from optimistic non-lifters looking to reinvent themselves, finding yourself in a real gym is a true blessing.  When trying to find a hardcore gym of your own, the things you should look for are well-represented in the best hardcore gyms in existence today. Here are the best hardcore gyms and what we like about them!



First up is Filthy Power Gym in Las Vegas, NV. A lot of powerlifting gyms have all of the essential pieces, but where else are you going to find a giant sheet of metal on the wall with a “Let’s F*cking Go” cutout – uncensored? That’s exactly the attitude and atmosphere you want with a hardcore gym. Couple that with a wall full of specialty bars, some chalk dust, a rack full of chains, and other key pieces and you’ll be right at home.


Next stop, Armbrust Pro Gym just outside of Denver, CO. The Mile High Mecca has an entire room dedicated to training legs, which accounts for about half of their total floor space! Armbrust is known for having more than just a few pieces of lifting equipment – they have the best pieces of just about any type of equipment worth owning. For that reason, and a few others, this is the favorite gym of many bodybuilders looking to achieve a novel training stimulus.


 Third on our list is the EliteFTS S5 Compound in London, OH. Full disclosure here, we’re yet to visit S5, but even if it were a fraction as good as the S4, it’s one of the best training facilities on the planet. The scary thing, the S5 is bigger than the S4. EliteFTS makes some of the best training equipment out there, so it only stands to reason that the gym is filled with top notch pieces… and numerous squat racks, platforms, benches, and probably every specialty bar in existence.

A few other gyms that deserve more credit than they are receiving as mere mentions on this list: Westside Barbell – obviously (can we just say the Columbus, Ohio area in general? There’s S5, Westside, Old School Gym, and Ludus Magnus), MI40 Gym in Tampa, FL, Super Training Gym in Sacramento, CA, Metroflex in Arlington, TX, Bev Francis Powerhouse in Syosset, NY, and Quads Gym in Chicago, IL just to name a few.



Now it’s time for some of the letdowns – the pseudo-hardcore gyms, if you will. These gyms want you to think that you’re gonna be a bodybuilder, but they ain’t got no heavy ass weight.


UFC gym. Sure, UFC fighters are pretty hardcore guys, and yes, they train very hard, but UFC gyms are not hardcore at all. One of the main reasons they’re not hardcore is because training for MMA simply doesn’t have the same requirements as bodybuilding or powerlifting, and these gyms only seem hardcore because of their association with delivering a beat down. Hell, most of their non-combat training is cardio. Is that how you’re going to pull 800 pounds? Nope! Second, UFC gym is a marketing ploy built on the UFC brand. No real fighters are training there. They’re going to where the best coaches are, and guess what? The best coaches aren’t in any UFC gym! Where are the best powerlifting and prep coaches? Hardcore gyms.


Another one of the worst hardcore gym is Gold’s Gym. That’s right. Gold’s Gym is a pseudo-hardcore gym. Nowadays they’re more like Planet Fitness than they are anything else. The Venice Beach location gets a lifetime pass for its storied history, but it seems like every time we’re traveling and place our trust in a day pass to Gold’s, we’re exceedingly disappointed. The last one I visited was in south Texas, and the best word to describe that location is average.

On a final note, if you think LA Fitness, 24-hour Fitness, any other gym with the word “Fitness” in the title, or basically any chain gym not named Powerhouse qualifies as hardcore, you’ve clearly never visited a real gym. They can get you by in a pinch, but they’re no place to call home. If you found this article very informative, you should probably do yourself a favor. Find a better gym, and start training like you mean it – hardcore!


Once you find your Hardcore Gym, don’t hesitate to DESTROY it with Killer Labz’ Hardcore PWO Executioner!