Outdoor gym planning

How To Build an Obstacle Course for Adults

Man jumping over hurdles on an obstacle course in the woods

Commercial outdoor obstacle courses for adults

An outdoor commercial obstacle course is not just a random collection of physical activities. When you design an outdoor fitness site, including an obstacle course, there are quite a few things to bear in mind: A public obstacle course must be carefully thought out to ensure that the physical variety of exercises offers the most benefit in attaining the desired results. 

Here are some of the most essential considerations:

  • Location

  • Layout and Design

  • Materials and equipment

Designing and building an outdoor obstacle course for adults requires careful planning to achieve the desired result and ensure the obstacle course gets used. The parties involved consider site location, layout and design, and materials and equipment in planning. Cost considerations are also part of the planning process.

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What is an obstacle course?

Obstacle courses come in many shapes and sizes. Whether small or large, an obstacle course consists of a series of physical and challenging exercises. Depending on the level of difficulty and your target audience a typical obstacle course consists of exercise types such as running, jumping, balancing and even swimming elements. The idea is to have types of equipment that you can go over and something to go under, something to balance and something to climb. Obstacle courses are a super fun way to challenge yourself in terms of speed, agility, and endurance.

Finding a location for your obstacle course

When considering the location for your obstacle course, you need to scope out the size of your project. Are you looking to design a competitive obstacle course, a wipeout size obstacle course or a park size obstacle course for active citizens? Either way ensuring users can access the grounds via clear routing from and to the area will enhance the chances of your site’s success.

Where will it be installed?: Another consideration is whether you will be installing obstacle course equipment inside or outside. While all equipment needs to be constructed in a way that is safe and supportive for the user, indoor obstacle courses are protected from the elements and do not necessarily need to be weather-proof. However, due to its large size most obstacle course equipment is designed for outdoor use. As such, it’s vital that the equipment you install can withstand harsh climates! All KOMPAN fitness equipment is built with robust, hardwearing materials that are designed to last the long haul - whether you’re installing a course in the North Pole or the Sahara Desert.

Planning the layout and design

Before planning your obstacle course, you must have some ideas regarding layout and design opportunities. Including exercise types. Here are some outdoor obstacle course ideas for commercial use:

  1. Ensure a variety of activities such as:

    1. Balance beams

    2. Jump pod set

    3. Vertical net

    4. Hurdles

    5. Overhead ladder

  2. Ensure the obstacle course has a start and a finish line

  3. An outdoor gym timer is good for those with competitive minds

  4. Be inspired by the environment

  5. Ensure scalable difficulty levels for people of many ages and abilities.

outdoor obstacle course for adults

How to choose the right obstacle course parts for your setting

Firstly, who is the equipment for? A fitness site designed for professional athletes will feature different obstacle course parts to an active ageing site for older adults. Plan your design around your users, considering their goals and how your obstacle course equipment can help them achieve these goals—building an obstacle course for adults in their 20s who wish to improve overall strength. Select equipment that requires compound movements, such as vertical walls and hurdles. Installing outdoor exercise equipment for a retirement village that wants to support mobility? Try balance-based obstacles, for example, a surface challenge. KOMPAN’s extensive range of outdoor fitness equipment enables you to easily craft a bespoke obstacle course that fits your users’ or community requirements.

man climbing a vertical net on an outdoor obstacle course

Materials: Steel vs. Wood

When it comes to choosing your design and type of obstacle course equipment our portfolio includes an urban steel look and a wooden aesthetic. Made from Robinia our wooden obstacle course equipment is close to maintenance free and highly durable. Natural preservatives and oil Robinia is highly resistant to the heavy impact of the outdoor elements. The same goes for our steel obstacle course equipment. Built from hardwearing materials our outdoor obstacle courses for adults are designed to withstand the test of time and harsh climates.

The Physical Benefits of an Obstacle Course


The varied nature of obstacle course equipment means that by the end of the activity, users should have received a well-rounded, full-body workout. The compound movements required to tackle obstacles such as rope walls and jump pods provide a fantastic way to improve overall strength.


Outdoor obstacle course equipment offers an excellent opportunity for users to improve their endurance levels. The various tasks faced along an obstacle course require both physical and mental stamina, making them incredibly demanding on the user. Varying climates can add an additional level of challenge - from cold, blustery winds to hot, sweaty sunshine. Designed to push users to their limits, obstacle courses can help people realise just how much they can endure.


One of the most exciting parts of an obstacle course is that participants rarely know what to expect. Obstacle course parts can vary greatly, from hurdles to overhead ladders, meaning that users need to think on their feet. This helps to improve both physical and mental agility. As agility increases, users should be able to overcome challenges more efficiently - both on and off the obstacle course.

The Cognitive Benefits of an Obstacle Course


There has been extensive research into the impact of exercise on confidence, with studies documenting that physical activity links to higher self-esteem. Obstacle course equipment offers a fun exercise activity that encourages users to work their bodies and brains to overcome challenges, creating a sense of achievement. As users progress with their fitness they should be able to complete obstacle courses faster and more efficiently, which can deliver a fantastic confidence boost.


One of the most interesting features of an obstacle course is that there may be more than one way to overcome each challenge. The ambiguity of certain obstacle course parts means that users are encouraged to think of creative solutions to progress, improving their problem-solving skills.


Team Building

Outdoor obstacle course equipment provides fun and exciting opportunities for group exercise. A key feature of obstacle courses is that they offer a wide selection of challenges, meaning that while one user is jumping over hurdles, another may be shimmying over a balance beam. Depending on ability, users may require assistance from peers to overcome certain obstacle course parts. Completing an obstacle course challenge as a group can help encourage team building and community spirit between friends, colleagues, or even strangers. Obstacle courses can also promote healthy competition between peers - especially with the addition of an outdoor gym timer.

Frequently asked questions

How long does it take to build an obstacle course?

If you want to learn more about the timeline and best practices for building an obstacle course, please get in touch with your local KOMPAN sales office. We are always willing to help you out.

How long should an obstacle course be?

As a rule of thumb, the most important thing to consider when designing your obstacle course is the type of equipment installed. However, the number of required activities means you must have ample space to build your obstacle course.

Is obstacle course equipment safe?

Yes. All our obstacle course equipment is compliant and safe to use. Public exercise equipment needs to adhere to stringent safety standards and regulations.

How much does an obstacle course cost?

Many considerations go into planning and building an obstacle, so putting an exact number on the costs is difficult. If you want to learn about the costs of building a fitness site in general, jump to our ‘How much does it cost to build a fitness site-blog post.

Got questions about how to plan an outdoor fitness site?

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