Everything You Need to Know About the University of Minnesota Gym

College is a time when many people are on their own for the first time.

No one’s there to tell you to eat right or exercise regularly, so it’s important to maintain healthy habits all on your own.

That’s why it pays off handsomely to become familiar with your campus’ gym.

And if you’re a faculty or staff member, it’d be a serious mistake not to take advantage of the reduced rates to join up!

If you’re a student, staff member, alumni, or you’re thinking about attending the University of Minnesota, here’s everything you need to know about the UMN (or U of M) gym.

Photo courtesy of University of Minnesota

Whether you want to exercise on your own or participate in team sports, you can do it all at the Recreation and Wellness Center. There’s an array of great equipment, sporting courts, and group classes for you to participate in so that you can get healthier while having a blast at the same time.

Unfortunately, some amenities like classes and the climbing wall cost extra, and the RecWell can get pretty crowded.

Let’s take a look at the equipment and perks found at the UM gym. You’ll also hear what real students have to say, so you know for a fact you don’t have to splurge for another gym membership.

University of Minnesota Campus & Gym Explained

The University of Minnesota is found in Minneapolis where over 50,000 students call it home.

The college is known for volunteerism, cleanliness, and sports.

But if you don’t want to participate in competitive sports, you can still work up a sweat in the fabulous Recreation and Wellness Center, or RecWell.

It encompasses a 400,000 square foot facility that’s capable of serving 6,000 individuals on a given weekday. You’ll find the main gym at 123 SE Harvard St.

Photo courtesy of University of Minnesota

There’s actually another gym owned by the university at the St. Paul location, but it’s decidedly smaller.

Most students will need to familiarize themselves with RecWell on the main campus.

UMN RecWell Gym Amenities Explained

What does the University of Minnesota gym have that you won’t get at a Planet Fitness?

The answer is quite a lot!

Most gyms only measure up to a fraction of the size as RecWell.

With such a massive facility, you can bet there are ample amenities allowing you to work out whichever way you see fit. Here are just some of the perks you get when you regularly visit the gym on campus.

Cardio Machines

Every kind of cardio machine you can imagine can be found here. There are even different variations of the same basic machine. 

For example, you have your standard treadmills, but RecWell also hosts curved, self-propelled treadmills that allow for a more natural running feel.

Naturally, plenty of ellipticals, stair steppers, bikes, and rowers can also be found.

Weights & Strength Equipment

Photo courtesy of University of Minnesota

You’ll find plenty of resistance machines here for beginner-friendly strength circuits.

In the free weights section, you’ll find tons of dumbbells in addition to medicine balls and kettlebells.

Finally, if you’re serious about getting strong or packing on muscle, the RecWell has squat racks, barbells, and heavy weight plates.


Photo courtesy of University of Minnesota

Naturally, RecWell has a pool available for members to use. You can look up the hours for free swim if you just want to do some laps.

A number of events are hosted at the pool, so keep an eye on the schedule so that your swim time doesn’t overlap with those.


A sauna is also available if you just need to relax after an intense workout.

These are great for recovery or just relaxation!

Sporting Courts

Photo courtesy of University of Minnesota

There’s more than one way to play at RecWell.

There are numerous sporting courts, allowing you to participate in a number of activities, including badminton, basketball, racquetball, squash, soccer, table tennis, and volleyball.

All of the courts are available for open play unless they have a reservation.

To play it safe, it’d be best to reserve a slot once you and your friends can agree on a time to meet up.

Climbing Wall

The climbing wall is available during limited hours. You don’t need any previous climbing experience, and you can climb whatever way you see fit. 

However, taking a turn on the wall will cost you.

A daily pass for members, which is what students are, costs $12. Or you can buy a pass for the entire semester for $55 if you think you’ll want to climb fairly regularly.

Indoor Track

You’ll find an indoor track in the RecWell gym. It’s only requested that you wear appropriate footwear while using the track.

This is a great option when it’s too cold or wet to run outside.


Showers are available at no additional cost. You’ll find them by the lockers, which you can also use free of charge. 

Group Classes

Group training is available for RecWell members.

If you’re looking to take cycling, yoga, or HIIT classes in a small group environment, you can do that with ease at UNM.

Classes do cost extra. They’re free the first week of each semester, but after that you’ll need a $35 semester pass.

Personal Training

Personal trainers are available for you to sign up to work with. However, it’s yet another charge you’ll have to pay. 

If you’re just interested in having someone help you exercise, it costs $75 for an hour-long session. However, the rate goes down if you sign up for multiple sessions at once.

If you’re looking to meet specific goals, then you’ll want the partner personal training package. Sessions there start at $100, but again, you get discounts if you sign up for multiple sessions.

Who Can Use the UMN Gym? (Membership Explained)

As expected, students can use the University of Minnesota gym completely free. 

Faculty members, staff, and retirees can purchase a membership at a reduced cost — the cheapest plan is $480 for the entire year, as of this writing, which is a solid deal in comparison to what you’d pay at most mid-range gyms.

Similar plans are in place for alumni and affiliates of U of Minnesota.

If you’re not affiliated with the University at all but you live nearby, you’re going to need a sponsorship to use these facilities.

Each currently enrolled member is allowed to sponsor one adult to use the gym, who’s then allowed to use it as long as the sponsee remains a member. You also have to pay all applicable fees, of course.

You can also purchase a guest pass if you’re a student and have someone visiting who wants to use the gym.

A day pass will set you back $12 while a one week pass goes for $35.

Additionally, remember that some services like group classes, personal training, and the climbing wall cost extra.

What Are Real Students Saying? (UNM Gym Reviews)

Almost all colleges have gyms on campus.

But that doesn’t mean all of them are good.

Yes, the UNM gym is free for students — but should you consider working out somewhere else? Here are some pros and cons of going to the RecWell according to real members on Google, Yelp, and more.


  • A ton of space
  • Well-kept building
  • Gorgeous pool

The UNM gym isn’t just a good gym for a school. It’s an excellent gym period. You don’t have to worry about feeling claustrophobic as there’s plenty of space filled with equipment. 

You have your choice of machines and courts, so there are ample opportunities for keeping things interested in your routine.


  • Minimal parking
  • Gets crowded

With so much space, you might think you’d always be able to find a spot, but that’s where you’d be wrong. Things tend to get busiest in the late morning to early afternoon. That shouldn’t come as a surprise as that’s when a lot of students are out and about, and plenty will want to get in a quick workout.

Your best bet for avoiding crowds is to go first thing in the morning or later in the evening. It can make the difference between getting an hour on the treadmill or only 15 minutes.

Wrapping Up

You’re probably not going to make the decision on which college to attend based on the gym alone.

But if fitness is important to you, a great campus gym can make a world of difference!

And if you’re new to fitness, I HIGHLY encourage you to take this opportunity to start some new healthy habits.

UNM is a great place to do it, with its gym being one of the best in the entire state. If you’re a student, you don’t want to miss out.

For more college gym reviews, check out:

Hope this helps!