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Gold's Gym and Hammer Strength: Two Strength Training Pioneers with an Interesting History

Gold’s Gym has a storied reputation of being the home of serious strength training. Over its 30-year history, Hammer Strength has grown into a trusted strength training brand. It makes plenty of sense then that the two icons in the fitness industry have worked together for decades. The origin is an interesting story.

The partnership started in 1991, when Hammer Strength representative Tom Proffitt met Pete Grymkowski, Tim Kimber and Ed Connors—who at the time owned the legendary Gold’s Gym in Venice—at a tradeshow in Las Vegas. Proffitt convinced the group that they should try adding a few pieces of Hammer Strength plate-loaded equipment to their gym. He gassed up his pickup truck and hauled a leg press, Iso-Lateral bench press, Iso-Lateral high row, Iso-Lateral front lat pulldown and Iso-Lateral row to Venice.

It didn’t take long for Gold’s Gym to want more, which prompted Kimber to make the trip to the Hammer Strength factory in Falmouth, Kentucky. After a daylong visit, Kimber decided that he wanted every piece of plate-loaded equipment that Hammer Strength was making, which at the time was around 15.

The introduction to the large and dedicated weightlifting community at Gold’s Gym was a boost for Hammer Strength, which was a young company at the time. Weightlifters embraced the plate-loaded equipment and Gold’s became one of the first gyms to get new plate-loaded equipment when it was produced by Hammer Strength.

Hammer Strength Heritage


There were plenty of reasons why Hammer Strength proved to be popular at Gold’s. The fact that it was designed to be extremely effective and move in a way that benefits the exerciser were big selling points.

Since then, Hammer Strength has grown to include a variety of rugged strength training equipment. But founder Gary Jones built the company he founded in 1989 on the power of the early plate-loaded equipment. He created more than 50 different pieces and did so with input from professional athletes.

“That variety is important,” said Jones. “Different athletes wanted different machines for different motions. An important part of our business was to figure out how to rapidly evolve and make different versions of machines. You can go to any company in the industry and ask to buy their bench press and they have one. When you come to Hammer Strength, we have three.

No two bodies are the same. No two sports are exactly the same. So we have different varieties of machines. That’s an important part of improving the performance of an athlete on the field.”

Leading the Future of Fitness

Hammer Strength didn’t stop after creating the large plate-loaded line. The company continued to innovate and developed a pair of selectorized strength lines and the rugged HD Elite racks found in professional and college athletic facilities.

The more recent addition of HD Athletic rigs and racks has provided a centerpiece for the exciting challenges offered by performance small group training. HD Athletic Perimeter offers both storage and Olympic training spaces and is intended to be placed along a wall. The impressive HD Athletic Bridge includes Olympic training, plenty of storage and overhead attachment points which combine to create a training space that exercisers want to use.

The evolution is similar to what’s going on at Gold’s Gym. There’s much more to today’s fitness experiences than the bodybuilding that kept the Venice gym bustling a few decades ago. And with innovations like 3D scanning technology, ample personal training options, small group training and more, Gold’s is redefining the fitness experience.

Gold’s Gym was a pioneer when Joe Gold opened the first one in 1965 and changed the fitness club industry forever. Hammer Strength’s three-decade history of innovation has helped to blaze a path for effective strength training. The two are a perfect pair.