Outdoor gym planning

How to build an outdoor obstacle course for adults

Man jumping over hurdles on an obstacle course in the woods

Key considerations when building an outdoor obstacle course for adults

An outdoor obstacle course is not just a random collection of physical activities. When designing an obstacle course for your community, there are quite a few things to bear in mind. Some of the most essential considerations include:

  • Location

  • Layout and design

  • Materials and equipment

To get you started with some ideas for your adult obstacle course, let's break down each of these elements below.

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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 challenging physical exercises. Depending on the level of difficulty and your target audience, a typical obstacle course for adults consists of varied exercise types such as running, jumping, and balancing. The idea is to have something 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 users in terms of speed, agility, and endurance.

Finding a location for your obstacle course

When considering the location for your obstacle course, you’ll first need to scope out the size of your project. Are you looking to design a smaller obstacle course or a larger, more comprehensive course for the teens and adults in your community? Either way, you’ll also need to allot space for clear routing to and from the site.

Another consideration is whether you will be installing the 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 weatherproof. However, due to their large size, most obstacle course equipment is designed for outdoor use. As such, it’s vital that the equipment can withstand harsh climates. Luckily, all KOMPAN fitness equipment is built with durable 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 adult obstacle course, it's good to have some ideas regarding layout and design. Here are some ideas for commercial outdoor obstacle courses:

  1. Provide a variety of activities such as:

  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

Choosing the right obstacle course equipment

Firstly, who is the obstacle course for? A fitness site designed for professional athletes will feature different equipment than an active ageing site for older adults. As such, it's a good idea to 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. KOMPAN’s extensive range of outdoor fitness equipment enables you to easily craft an 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 either an urban steel look and a wooden aesthetic. Made from Robinia, our wooden obstacle course equipment is highly durable and resistant to the heavy impact of outdoor elements. The same goes for our steel obstacle course equipment, so no matter your desired aesthetic, you can be sure the equipment will withstand the test of time.

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. Designed to push users to their limits, obstacle courses can help people realize 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 equipment 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 courses for adults provide 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, visit our outdoor fitness cost page.

Have questions about how to plan an outdoor fitness area?

Please fill in your contact details and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

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