Every lifter worth their salt knows a bar makes or breaks a session. The true lifting gyms don’t skimp on this bit of kit. Elikeo, Ivanko, Werkshan they stock a known brand which has a track record of standing up to rigorous use. Anyone who has ever trained with a good bar and then trained off site on a budget bar will know exactly what I mean. If your a weightlifter the quality of the bars in the gym you are looking at should be your primary concern.
Lifting platforms are a bit of a fad at the minute with the riseof “performance facilities” (I put it in quotes because I don’t think a sports player making an arse out of a 40kg clean counts as performance sport) the sort of platforms you see commonly (powerlift as a prime example) return kinetic energy into the bar which causes it to rebound and bounce around like crazy if you drop if from overhead (an important aspect in many strength sports).
Straight up plywood platforms with plenty of space are the best spaces for weightlifting in my experience and a good old heavy duty rubber matt on some concerte will do for deadlifts so we can use steel plates and not chew up your 5000 quid over engineered waste of space you call a platform.
A mix of cages and squat stands
Nothing screams “well kitted gym” more than a good mix of power cages and bespoke weightlifting platforms. The sort of place where you can rock up and do what ever you want with a barbell any time of the week. Some people want to do rack pulls (with the cheap bars hopefully!) and some people want to do jerks out of the rack with obscenely expensive bars and not turn them into cheese strings by dropping them onto safety bars. A great facility will allow for both kinds of gym monkeys to be happy!