Best Bodybuilding Gyms In NYC & Long Island

Best bodybuilding gyms in New York City

We're going to be controversial here - we think the best bodybuilding gym in NYC is actually in Manhattan. We love Bev's in Long Island for the range of equipment, but the vibe wasn't it; and then we discovered a gem in Midtown you need to visit before we lose it.

David // Barbells Abroad

Bodybuilding Gyms and New York City

Lee hadn’t really ever seen much of New York, and having lost a stone of fat, I thought what better way to flex that newly discovered shred, by putting on three jumpers every day and hopping on a flight to discover the best bodybuilding gyms in Manhattan and Long Island, while doing the usual tourist stuff too. 

After landing down in Newark, and giving gyms in New Jersey the once over, we got ourselves over to NYC and saw what the muscle scene was like there. 

We left about a half a stone of garlic knots heavier, rocking ice from Trax in the 47th District but with a good handle on where you’d want to lift weights when in the city. 

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Jump to: Winner

History of bodybuilding in NYC
History wall of former visitors at Powerhouse LI, NY

The very first American physique contest took place here, in New York City as far back as 1903. The award for ‘The Most Perfectly Developed Man in the World’ went to an Al Treloar, and in later years was won by bodybuilding luminaries such as Charles Atlas. The event which took place at Madison Square Garden, was the start of many in the city. As recently as 1998 Ronnie Coleman lifted the Mr Olympia trophy there and Arnie himself famously pipped Lou Ferrigno to the top prize back in 74. New York City may not have the big shows like Vegas these days, but it certainly has an important part to play in the history of bodybuilding.

As the most populous city in the USA, New Yorker’s will find every hobby or pastime covered, and bodybuilding is no exception. While it doesn’t have the sun and the obvious body consci0us demands that puts on people, it does have some of the best bodybuilding gyms in the USA and so it’s always going to be a bit of a draw here.

It’s a big food city too, and that means there is a great range of healthy salad joints, and breakfast diners ensuring egg white omelet options are on the menu too.

Just try to fight off the temptation for a pizza slice on every corner. We failed, so let us know how you deal with that if you can.

Bodybuilding Trip to New York City
The diet definitely went out the window here!

How we picked the best gyms in New York City?

If you’ve read one of our bodybuilding gym review guides before, you will have a handle on how we review the places we do. We don’t get freebies (wish we did), we pay for our entry and we are often too shy to even tell people who we are anyway. We aren’t exactly Sam Sulek!

We take a look across the web to see what others have said and look for gyms that have gone unnoticed too; we then build a route-map and work our way around them. We were looking for several things when we visited gyms in New York, same as we would anywhere – and some times it can be the smallest detail that demotes a place to a good gym from a great one. 

For those who haven’t seen one of our guides before – this is what we focus on:

  • Is it independent or a massive chain?
  • Is there a good vibe here – are we greeted well and does it feel like you can have a savage workout?
  • What brands are held. So, are they buying the right items for the gym, or just the items the gym brand stocks.
  • Opening times – accessibility – the usual standard stuff.
  • Does it have lore. 
Now, who are we? We are two weight training fans, who have a combined 4 decades of lifting between us, are PT trained and qualified with a number of fitness coaching certificates. When we hit the gyms we for the most part follow our ‘hardcore leg day workout‘ as it engages a wide number of stations. Failing that we are generally working on a 5 Day PPL routine, and will be picking one of those workouts from it. 
Bodybuilding Gyms In NYC
Classic selfie was required - Powerhouse Gym NY
Bodybuilding Gyms In NYC
Back session for Lee at Bev Francis Gym - Syosset, NY

We share our own pictures of our visits to the gyms we hit in New York, so you can see we actually went there and this is not an automated page of results. We probably share a bit too much more as well, but at least this guide to the best bodybuilding gyms in NYC is 100% legit. Enjoy.

Winner - Best Gym For Bodybuilders In Manhattan, NYC

Complete Body Gym for Bodybuilders in Midtown Manhattan
Complete Body, Midtown Manhattan, NYC

Ask a lot of people, what’s the best bodybuilding gym in New York City and they will tell you the world famous Bev Francis Powerhouse Gym; and they wouldn’t be far off the mark. It is a great gym. It’s spacious, well equipped and attracts elite lifters, and I’ll cover them in this guide; but if you’re in Manhattan and looking for a great bodybuilding gym, we think we found a real gem.

When I was planning our trip to NY, I came across a small independent chain of gyms. If you’ve read other guides we have done, you’ll know we tend to steer clear of chains taking top billing. The only way you will ever see Crunch Fitness mentioned in our guides, is if I’m rocking an iced out Royal Oak and you’ll see some signs we got paid. But if I do see a chain I’ve not hear of, I do like to inspect – how big that chain is. 

This particular chain confused me, as they had an outlier gym that looked nothing like the others. It was an old school bodybuilding facility, in the heart of Midtown Manhattan. I dropped them a message to see if it was the same brand and the reply I got was that the owner wanted to retain it’s original historic charm. 

Now, call me a sentimental guy but that piqued my interest. So, we grabbed our ‘for effect gym bench towels’ and myself and the Somerset Gunshow headed over to see what this particular gym was all about. This is the story of Complete Body on 19th.

Complete Body - Midtown Manhattan, NYC

(Online Reviews 4.6)
Great Old School Bodybuilding Gym in Midtown Manhattan
Bodybuilding Gyms In NYC

Starting just in the shadow of the Empire State Building, we waded through Koreatown, stopped for a pre-workout taco and duck and dived our way through the busy early evening traffic down Broadway. It was getting dark when we got to 19th Street in Midtown and the front entrance didn’t look like much. An underwhelming shopfront, with the standard extended wind break porch you see in Manhattan. Still can’t work out what they do that the front door doesn’t already do….still, we took a photo for the collection and headed in.

Not the most high spec reception area, but that’s not why we were here. What we did get was two lovely staff members who were engaged with customers and made that visit to a new gym for the first time, completely disarming. More gyms could learn the importance of that. 

Training Session For The Visit?
Upper Body Machine Workout

Bodybuilding Gyms In NYC
Old with the new - nostalgic workouts in the heart of NYC

Why we love Complete Body

Complete Body is an homage to a classic era of bodybuilding. The gym is in a basement of a larger building but doesn’t feel cramped for a Manhattan facility, and is a blend of the past and the present. The walls are adorned with nicely framed images of bygone times, at the gym and locally. Local faces, details and dates below the frames are pinned to a 70s style wooden wall covering. Within the gym there are some historic brands and pieces of equipment, partially for effect but also because they work well and have been maintained as such. All of this is balanced with the kind of gym equipment you would expect to see in a bodybuilding gym. Hammer Strength, Barbell Standard, Ivanko, Troy dumbbells, Cybex, Precor and more.

The cherry on top of all of this?

The Music. Thank G’d for Complete Body’s playlist. A standout winner across New York’s gyms, this was the first place that actually dropped bangers. You can kill a gym’s vibe with low BPM or wimpy music coming out the speakers; we got Fisher, James Hype and a string of sounds that get anyone pumped to train. 

More practical reasons to love the gym, it’s easy to find, and they offer a free day pass for first time visitors. I mean that’s an insane win in anyone’s book. I would have paid, and actually wanted to offer to pay after, to say thank you for keeping a great gym. But I did what everyone else does, says nothing, meekly waves goodbye before heading out the front door. 

One other thing I love – the locker rooms. How vintage are they! 

Overall, this place is a big win for New York City’s bodybuilding scene. Nice and clean changing facilities, friendly team who work there who put other nearby gyms to shame, the equipment is top draw, music slays, a unique aesthetic, a clientele who train hard (I could see some beasts in action) and it’s right in the heart of NYC. Big W on so many levels. 

This place used to have a bigger customer base pre-Covid, but it has been massively impacted by the rise in WFH. If you get a chance, please come and give them a go. Places like this need our support and I’ll be taking up a short term membership when I’m back in May.

Complete Body Gym on 19th Street, NYC

How to find Complete Body near Midtown Manhattan, NYC.

You can hit the button below to Google map your way to Complete Body on 19th Street. They have a couple of other premises, but this is the one you want. For us staying in the tourist trap around Times Square, we just walked straight down 5th Avenue, and pinged a right on 19th. The gym is in between 5th and 6th Avenues and is in the Flat Iron district. I wouldn’t recommend driving here as you may struggle to find parking, but it’s not the worst move in the world, there is kerbside spots available off-peak. 

If you are staying outside of Manhattan or further afield from Midtown then you have a bus stop right on the side street for 5th and West 20th Street, or a subway station at 23rd St by Madison Square Garden. Really accessible. Best thing about staying in Manhattan though, is it is quite walkable. So, get your steps in and head there on foot if you can.

Address: 19th Street, 22 W, New York, NY 10011

Other Great Gyms Across The Five Boroughs, NYC

We didn’t just strand ourselves in Manhattan like classic tourists, we took the time to get out and about so we could bring you a bit more advice on where you might want to train. That means risking our lives on the mass transit systems of New York City but admittedly we did what everyone does after getting the ferry to Staten Island….we turned round and got back on the ferry again. 

Sorry Staten Island. We are going to be back in a month or two for a convention so will square that circle on our return. 

Best Bodybuilding Gym In Long Island

We said we would talk about this gym and here goes. This is for all intents and purposes, the best bodybuilding gym in Long Island and one of the best in the country too. It brings in professional bodybuilders far and wide as it has an authentic reputation that proceeds itself. We took a trip on the Long Island Rail Road to Syosset, which was no more than an hour from our hotel on 42nd Street in Manhattan, to see what all the fuss was about.

Bev's Powerhouse Gym: 235-C, Robbins Ln, Syosset, NY 11791

(Online Reviews 4.8)
Bodybuilding Gyms In NYC

Bev Francis Powerhouse gym is an independent ‘franchise’ of the Powerhouse brand. Owned and operated by the former husband and wife couple of Aussie born female bodybuilding icon Bev Francis and US native, Steve Weinberg; this place took us a little further from the tourist trap of Times Square than we anticipated, but it was well worth the journey. 

Truth be told it’s no further from Central Park NYC than Metroflex Fort Worth is from Dallas, so to us it was just another day at the gym review job. I’ve wanted to come here for as long as I’ve been writing these guides, so this was a real bucket list trip. But what makes this gym so entitled to stand out as Long Island’s best bodybuilding gym?

Authenticity – the owner is a former champion bodybuilder. History – they’ve had the biggest names in bodybuilding train here. Range of equipment – I counted 4 or 5 preacher curl arm machines alone (If you want to train arms, this is one hell of a place to do it. ) and brands like Arsenal Strength, that you just don’t see in your Technogym big box chains.

They also have the type of on-site related services, like nutrition consultants and treatment rooms. There is great parking, it’s really accessible and they have influenced local business development. Just out the front of the parking lot was a great little supplement store, stocked with locally made protein treats, that blew me away in taste and macros. 

Then you take all those aspects of what you want to see in a great bodybuilding gym and you throw in this obvious personality. It’s definitely a New York gym, it has a rough and ready interior, there’s a signed poster on the wall from John Gotti Jr, and of course it’s got the motivational bodybuilding legend posters framed around the place. Bev was a legit bodybuilder, no question and with this place, her and Steve have built something that is more deeply kitted out with ultra credible brands than any conventional gym, and is packed to the rafters with people training, who would inspire you to push yourself harder too.

That doesn’t mean everyone in here is a 6 foot 5, 300 pound muscle monster, they aren’t, but everyone here we saw, clearly cared about their training. People working hard, short rest times, not much phone distraction going on, it has a solid clientele clearly.

This place was well worth the visit and it doesn’t take much Google gym browsing to see why it stands apart from anything else on Long Island and the state of New York too.

Best gyms in New York for bodybuilders - Bevs

Brands: Hammer Strength – Body Max Pump – Arsenal Strength – Life Fitness

Pricing: 1 x Day Pass = $30 | 1 Mth $94 

Cons: A few – but you can probably take them with a grain of salt, we just like to be honest. After all, if we pay 30$ to use somewhere for an hour, we have earned our right to. In fact, that’s partly why we pay, we don’t feel guilty if we share some honest feedback.

  •  Front Desk Experience – It wasn’t the warmest welcome. We felt a bit flat coming here to “The Mecca”, making a pilgrimage and be greeted by a less than bouncy welcome. I’m not asking for a red carpet, and perhaps it was an off day, but it sort of set the tone sadly. “Don’t meet your heroes, eh!”

    Still, you don’t build up a massive reputation being sour, so I’m guessing it was just a bad day at the office. Don’t judge them for it, but it was our experience that day.


  • The music – A missed opportunity to nail a vibe. Everyone’s tastes are different, but the music was more drive-time radio station than a gym for people wanting to smash their goals.

    Lee’s words: “I love Jamiroquai also, but not whilst I’m bent over rowing.”

    Don’t be afraid to let the speakers slay once in a while. Something ratchet, something hype or something Hatebreed. For visitors – bring your headphones and you’re golden.

  • Busy even off-peak – And this is a sign that most people must love this place. So is it even a con? Just perhaps get your team a bit more active on the floor getting kit returned to its home, or it can get a bit chaotic. When people see the gym staff tidying stuff, it can guilt them into being better also.

Secret Wins: Everything is pretty much on point here, I wouldn’t say there are any secret wins that you get at some undiscovered gems, but that’s more about expectations. This place has everything from supplements, to clothing, to physio and nutrition and rehabilitation specialisms taken care of. 

Verdict: You have to train here once in your life. It’s on the bucket list of bodybuilders gyms around the world and it’s undoubtedly one of the best bodybuilding gyms in NYC and NY State. Every aspect of physique training and competing is covered, it’s an IFBB Pro (or aspiring one) dream. Don’t come at peak time, and if you’re in the area, don’t faff about with a day pass, just get a rolling 30 day membership and then you can train here all week and save yourself money.

Bodybuilding Gyms In NYC
Gyms in Long Island for bodybuilders

Best Bodybuilding Gyms in Queens

With Long Island and Manhattan done, we couldn’t ignore scouting out gyms in other parts of NYC. We think it’s fair to pick out this Jamaica Ave based workout center as our favourite bodybuilding gym in Queens. 

Coliseum Gym 2.0:
9825 Jamaica Ave, Queens, NY 11421

(Online Reviews 4.3)
Bodybuilding Gyms In NYC

A 24 hour gym with so many brand plates of gym equipment, you know the owner has been hunting out the best bits of kit for the job and not just tried to colour match.

This place is packed to the rafters with equipment, and we ran it through its paces by hitting a leg machine workout. It didn’t let us down. The day pass price was reasonable and while it’s a bit rough round the edges, which may put some snobs off, if you’re like us, you’ll love it. 

Easily one of the best gyms for bodybuilders in NYC and definitely Queens best bodybuilding gym, hands down.


Cons: The only downside is it is a bit of an aggravation to get here if you’re on Manhattan. For those in Queens, they have the Subway and LIRR for easy access.

Brands: Life Fitness – Nebula – Queenax – Ivanko – Nautilus – Icarian

Pricing: 1 Day Pass = $21.74 (inc taxes) : 1 Mth $75 (As low as $50 if on a 1 year commitment)

Best Bodybuilding Gyms in Brooklyn

We almost didn’t make this place as we had sore heads from a cocktail bar called Pauls in Tribeca the previous night. But after a marathon walk around Manhattan we got over the Williamsburg bridge, and found the strength to hit up APF in Brooklyn.

Absolute Power Fitness:
750 Grand Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211

(Online Reviews 4.8)
best gym for bodybuilders in Brooklyn

A cool location deserves a cool gym, and Brooklyn has two in the form of Absolute Power Fitness. We took a trip to the moustache district of Williamsburg and found our way to this lairy yet friendly gym. It reminded me a little of London’s Muscleworks. It had a community vibe to it, but still maintained itself as a credible bodybuilding gym in Brooklyn. 

With its protein food meals ready to grab, and just an all round decent supplement selection, you get a sense that they genuinely care. The price was right at $15 for a day pass and they had as good a range of plate loaded gym equipment as 99% of any gym. 

A real gem of a discovery and was the best bodybuilding gym in Brooklyn we found.

Cons: It doesn’t have as much depth in multiples of a kit type, but it is really well stocked nonetheless. Can’t pull out much bad on APF.

Brands: Hammer Strength – Troy – York – Bodyworx – Iron Grip

Pricing: 1 Day Pass = $15 : 1 Mth $49 – 59 (Lower if 1 year commitment)

About The Writer

David Mason

David Mason

Bothering dumbbells since 2003. I visit a lot of hotels with terrible gyms so you don't have to. Co-founder of Ibiza's 1st Gym based restaurant 'The Skinny Kitchen' - Qualified SAQ Trainer & REPS UK PT. Catch me on Insta or Threads @masononsocial
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