Intimidating Iron Looms in Pennsylvania

TAGS: gym equipment, Josh Hachat, Iron Sport Gym, Steve Pulcinella, monolift, weights, prowler

There is plenty that could be potentially intimidating the moment you walk into Iron Sport Gym in Glenolden, PA, just outside of Philadelphia.

It could be the massive amounts of weight in the 7,200-square foot gym owned by Steve Pulcinella.

It could be the monolift, the EFS competition benches, the 160-pound dumbbells or the wide array of barbells.

It could also be the logs that sit in the corner or the stones that weigh up to 415 pounds that cater to the strongman crowd.

It could also be the 800-pound tire, the EFS Prowler or the Conan’s Wheel.

But intimidated is the last thing you should feel the moment you walk into Iron Sport.

“One of the things I like to get across is this is a party, not a war,” Pulcinella said. “You don’t come here to be angry, this is the place to come when you’re happy. I’m the owner and I set the general attitude. I want to have fun. I want people to be happy in here. It’s like, ‘Let the party begin. Let’s work out.’ There’s just a really cool energy in here.”

It’s also a completely different vibe than any other gym in the area.

Pulcinella has the only monolift within 75 miles of Philadelphia, which means people in search of an intense and results-driven place to train are seeking out Iron Sport. At the same time, the cookie-cutter fitness chains have altered the mindset of some and it’s been detrimental to Pulcinella.

He currently has around 550 members at his spacious and impressive facility, but Pulcinella admits to some recent difficult times in an era where a chain gym can offer miniscule prices.

“Membership really dipped a few months ago after two chain gyms opened two miles from here,” Pulcinella said. “These other gyms open up at $11 a month and it kind of cuts into your crowd a little. Around here, you’re surrounded by every major chain. But people that come here don’t want to go to those gyms. For them, they know this is their last hope.”

Pulcinella opened Iron Sport in 1999, keeping an old-school feel that broke free from the chain gym mode. From there, he’s developed an ideal atmosphere and environment, adding a vast array of equipment. Besides the monolift, Iron Sport has a tremendous amount of options for the lifter that has any goal in mind.

To wit:

Four platform areas

Two Olympic lifting platforms

Bumper Plates and Olympic bars

Glute Ham Raise and Reverse hyper

Atlas stones from 160 to 415 pounds

A 10” log and a 12” log

Two custom-made 9-foot racks

Two custom-made Smith machines

Two EFS competition benches

Dumbbells up to 160 pounds

Specialty bars include safety squat bars, buffalo bars and fat bars

Full Hammer Strength line

Squat boxes, boards, bands and chains

EFS Prowler

EFS Sled

Tires that weigh 255, 470 and 800 pounds

Weighted kegs

Conan’s Wheel

Famer’s walk handles

Super Yoke


“We’ve got everything you need and nothing you don’t,” Pulcinella said. “What makes me smile are the people enjoying it.

“We’ve got Olympic lifters in here, a bunch of monsters on the monolift, strongmen doing their workout, guys flipping tires. It’s just a cool feeling. Once people come down here, they’re hooked.”

Pulcinella also takes pride in the atmosphere he’s created at Iron Sport. He’s convinced it differs greatly from any gym close to him, which makes for another unique option other gyms can’t offer.

“This is just a better gym. You don’t get hassled for deadlifting or making noise,” Pulcinella said. “You can do a real workout. Now, when you make a noise in the gym, you get shushed. You come here; you can make a little bit of noise. This is a gym where you’re really training. The chain gyms have turned me into a specialty item. I’m putting out a premium product.”

To stay relevant and keep growing, Pulcinella knows he has to continue to set his gym apart from others. He trains numerous athletes and has a big summer crowd that can use the wide selection of options to train intensely for their respective sport. The goal is to get Iron Sport to the level where people are sending athletes to train at Pulcinella’s gym, but he’s happy with the progress he’s made thus far.

“I still enjoy it, every day,” Pulcinella said. “There’s always people in here doing all this crazy stuff. It’s great.”

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