Robert Lee YMCA Vancouver
955 Burrard St, Vancouver (Downtown)
Opening Times: Mon-Fri: 5:30-22:30, Sat and Sun: 7:00-21:00
Cost: $15 per day or $52.50 per month.
You’ll find Robert Lee YMCA Vancouver well-located in downtown Vancouver, about 100m east of Nelson Park. I found it correctly marked on Google and easy to spot.
This is an excellent community-focussed sports centre, which just happens to have a large well-equipped gym! In fact there are several – I found three separate gyms in this facility!
Other facilities include a pool, studios and courts.
This is the main gym and it contains the bulk of both the cardio and free-weights equipment. The wide range of cardio equipment consists of treadmills, ellipticals, various bikes, stair climbers.
The weights include dumbbells up to 100lbs and barbells up to 110lbs along with numerous benches. I particularly like that some of the dumbbells go up in small increments (eg 20lbs – 22.5lbs – 25lbs) which is not that common in gyms, but great for increasing your weights more safely without injury or losing technique.
They’ve also provided three squat machines and a Smith machine, along with cable crossovers, various chin up stations including an assisted chin ups machine and some floor work equipment eg BOSUs.
The next gym space (opposite) has a good number of dumbbells in the lightweight range, up to 35lbs. You’ll also find a couple of rowing machines, a substantial floor area with mats, BOSUs, resistance bands, TRXs, lightweight bars, kettlebells and – a new one for me, Kinesis One. This is a resistance machine that operates with cables that you can grip with handles. They move across three planes of movement, rather like a resistance band. But these have the added advantage of being a lot more comfortable to hold, and you select numerically the amount of resistance you want to have, in the same way as you would with any other resistance machine, with a pin.
I’m not generally a big fan of resistance equipment, but I thought these were a great invention; far less scope for “cheating” or recruiting other muscles with these cables, whilst providing the desired resistance throughout the whole range of the movement, instead of increasing it towards the end of the contraction as is the case with resistance bands.
There is even a third gym (ooh the excitement!) which has a range of cardio and weights equipment and is prioritized for use with YMCA’s Happy Hearts program, ie those with cardiovascular problems. There are a few classes in there each week targeted towards these clients, but I believe it’s open for general use when these are not running, if you fancy a quieter workout in a smaller gym.
Summary of Robert Lee YMCA
All in all, this Vancouver YMCA is an excellent facility with a great atmosphere. Perhaps this explains why I found it to be extremely busy between 10-11am on a Thursday morning when I attended, making me wonder just how busy it gets during peak periods. Try at your own risk and be prepared to wait for equipment if you brave that! Well-located in the middle of downtown Vancouver with very reasonable monthly rates and friendly staff, it’s easy to see why it’s so popular.
No need to bring a padlock as the lockers have keys, but bring a towel or rent one for $1.50.
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Global Gym Bunny aka Laura has been travelling for three years, writing about gyms across the globe. If you enjoyed this article, support her here by buying her a coffee or giving a small donation to her travel expenses! Thank you.