Desperate gym goers are paying four times the normal price for old and often damaged second-hand weights – because the closure of gyms has seen exercise and fitness equipment stripped from the shelves of stores across Australia.
Gyms closed Australia-wide at midday on March 23 along with pubs, clubs, restaurants and swimming pools under level two social distancing restrictions as the federal government moved to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Within hours of the announcement, department stores such as Rebel Sport and Harvey Norman experienced a rush on gym equipment as it became obvious Australia was headed for lock-down.
The rush became a sell-out with the introduction of level three restrictions which saw the end of outdoor training groups, such as boot camps, and outdoor gyms – and even most of Sydney and Melbourne’s most popular beaches.
Men and women are selling their old home gym and exercise gear for hundreds of dollars online, after shoppers stripped the shelves of sports shops (pictured: barbells on sale on Facebook for $300)
But there were thousands – perhaps hundreds of thousands – who missed out on buying equipment, which has now fuelled a second-hand market on Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree that has seen prices up to five times what you’d pay for weights just two months ago.
One Sydney man is selling a pair of damaged 50kg dumbbells for $400 – when a brand new set at Rebel Sport retails for $179.99 – a 122 per cent markup for old weights.
Others posted saying they were selling their old barbells, leg press machines and medicine balls for hundreds of dollars more than they typically sell for.
One Sydney man is selling a pair of damaged 50kg dumbbells for $400 (pictured) – when a brand new set at Rebel Sport retails for $179.99 – a 122 per cent markup for old weights
With the population now working out from home, one man listed his gym press leg machine for sale for as much as $500 (pictured)
‘A pair of 25 kilogram dumbbells,’ one Facebook Marketplace user wrote next to a set of tarnished dumbbells on sale for $150 (pictured)
Department stores such as Rebel Sport (pictured last week) experienced a rush on gym equipment by those who wanted to keep fit as it became obvious Australia was headed for lock-down
One Facebook Marketplace user said he was selling ‘a pair of 25 kilogram dumbbells for $150’.
‘Some damage,’ the user added, alongside a photo of the tarnished weights.
Others from across the country listed ‘in great condition’ leg press machines for $500, basic exercise bikes for $150 and barbells so you can conduct at-home Body Pump sessions for $300.
One person even listed an entire at-home gym for an eye-watering $16,000 on Gumtree, while another listed a weights bench for $1,250.
A similar weights bench from Harvey Norman would typically you back $597.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted some of the sellers for comment.
Panic buyers stripped the shelves of Kmart (pictured) of all their exercise equipment and gear across Australia after gyms were closed
One Facebook user listed a second-hand barbell set and weights for $850 (pictured), while you can usually get your hands on a similar weights bench for $597 from Harvey Norman
Someone listed an old medicine ball with dumbbells and equipment for $500 (pictured)
How much does brand new gym equipment typically cost?
* RESISTANCE BANDS: $20-$50 Harvey Norman, $34.99 at Rebel or $114 on Gumtree = 470% markup for second-hand equipment.
* DUMBBELLS: The cost of dumbbells depends on brand, size and model, but a 50kg set of dumbbells sells for $179.99 from Rebel Sport, whereas they are being sold second-hand for $400 on Facebook Marketplace, a 122% markup
* WEIGHTS BENCH: Harvey Norman was selling a brand-new weights bench for $597, but there’s a second-hand one on Gumtree for $1,250, a 109% markup.
* EXERCISE BIKE: Exercise bikes can cost thousands of dollars, but there are ‘mini’ options online at Kmart $29. A second-hand version of the same bike is $150, which is a 417% markup.
A staffer from Rebel confirmed to Daily Mail Australia that there is ‘next to no’ exercise gear to be found on their shelves in-store right now, but there are still a few items available online – although you’ll have to be prepared to wait.
‘Things are selling so quickly right now online, there are still some items available online but it depends where in the country they are coming from as to how quickly you will receive the,’ she said.
‘Typically, our delivery time is two to three business days, but it it all over the place due to demand – and is likely to be around a week to ten days depending on where it’s coming from.
‘The best thing to do if you see something that is available online is click and collect from your nearest local store.’
Personal trainer and exercise physiologist Veronika Larisova (pictured) said you should try body weight training instead of with equipment
Personal trainer and exercise physiologist Veronika Larisova said while it is almost impossible to get your hands on workout equipment right now, you don’t need barbells, weights benches and bikes at home.
‘I would recommend spending around $50 on a pair of dumbbells if you can find some, and $40 on some resistance bands,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.
‘You don’t need to try to get all of the equipment as you can do body weight squats or squats with a pile of books and lunges.
She said: ‘Ideally, you need around one hour of exercise each day if you are otherwise totally sedentary – whether that’s some high intensity training in the form of burpees and a walk.’
Basic used exercise bikes costed as much as $150 online (pictured), while you can usually get a mini exercise bike from Kmart for just $29
A weights bench with 20 kilogram plates had an asking price of $1,250 (pictured). A Harvey Norman weights bench typically costs $597
Men and women online were quick to notice the huge price hikes, with one person commenting: ‘Everyone selling that home gym gear they have never used for double the price now’.
Another added: ‘I miss the gym and all but no way these prices for dumbbells are justified. Y’all wanna charge rent prices for these?’
Some tried to see the positive side and wrote: ‘Looking forward to getting a load of gym equipment at knock-down prices when the lock-down finishes and no one wants their gear anymore’.
But the majority said they were exasperated that they couldn’t find any home workout gear that wasn’t going to cost them an ‘arm and a leg’.
One Gumtree user even listed an entire home gym for sale for an eye-watering $16,000 (pictured)
Resistance bands were available from Gumtree for $114 (pictured), whereas resistance bands can typically cost between $20 and $50