Around AOTF ×

Pokemon Go Guide: How do Gyms Work

| July 14, 2016

Pokemon Go Guide: How do Gyms Work GameGuides Mobile  Pokemon Go Guides Pokemon Go Pokemon

Pokemon Go is easily the most popular game in the world right now. Players are running around catching Pokemon everywhere they can. But there’s more to the game than just finding and catching Pokemon. Gyms are the big gameplay mechanic that takes your experience to the next level, with teams vying over control of any major landmark in town. But they’re a bit confusing to figure out, and the game doesn’t explain them much. So, we’re here to answer the question of how do gyms work in Pokemon Go.

We’ve actually already put together a lot of info on gyms, including how to take them over and how to defend them from other teams. These will really give you the specifics on strategy and what to do once you have the basic idea of how do gyms work figured out. Keep reading here to get those basics, then head over when you’re ready to dive in deeper.

So, Pokemon Go gyms, how do they work? Well it’s actually very different from how they work in the regular games. Here, you aren’t taking on a fellow trainer, so much as the Pokemon themselves. The ones in the gym were put there by the team who owns it (see how to join a team here). Once in control of a gym the prestige becomes the big thing.

Once a Pokemon Go gym is taken over it should be at level 2, meaning two Pokemon can be placed here to defend it. If you are on the same team that owns it, say Team Valor (red), then you can add one of your own Pokemon to it if there is a free space. If not then you’ll have to raise the prestige of the gym by training the Pokemon that are in there.

To do this you select the training button on the bottom right, when viewing the gym information. You can choose only a single Pokemon to battle. Each one of the Pokemon you defeat is worth 100XP for the gym, unless your Pokemon is lower CP, in which case you’ll earn 500XP for the gym.

A good strategy is to use a Pokemon with lower CP than the first one you will face, but make sure it has a type advantage (so water vs. fire, etc.). Beat it and then back out by tapping the button in the bottom right, and earn a quick 500XP. Back on the gym’s info page you should see the prestige level in the top left. If you crossed over to the next level you can add a Pokemon to the gym. Otherwise you’ll have to keep at it.

But this is just if your team already owns it. If another team owns it, then you have to do the opposite. You need to lower the prestige of the gym until it hits zero. To do this you battle once again, but you can bring a team of six Pokemon with you this time. Even if you defeat all the Pokemon stationed at the Pokemon Go gym, you’ll have to fight it a few times, if it is a high enough level. Beat them over and over, watching the prestige level drop, and eventually it will be clear.

Be sure to pop your Pokemon in as soon as possible, as any passing trainer can put their’s in instead, possibly locking you out. You’ll then be the gym leader, until someone puts a more powerful Pokemon in instead. If you want some free Pokecoins, you can always go to the shop and click the shield in the top right to cash out on your gyms. You earn 500 Stardust and 10 Pokecoins for each that has your Pokemon in it, but you can only cash out once every 21 hours.

Once your Pokemon are in the gym they will stay there as long as the gym level allows them to. If, for example, you have a Pokemon in the third spot for the gym and it is dropped to level 2, then your Pokemon will be ejected and you’ll have to heal them up.

And that’s about it for how do gyms work in Pokemon Go. If anything is still confusing you please let us know in the comments.

Become a contributor and write about games at AOTF!
Say Something
  • Reuben Pawa

    Hey, if your pokemon is removed from the gym, does it automatically return to you wherever you are, or do you have to go back to the gym to actually get the pokemon back?

    • Lee

      It automatically returns to you. The gym informs you of this when you place your Pokemon there in the first place.

  • Cassahh

    How do you actually attack? So far I’ve just been tapping and trying to swipe (but it just opens the poké menu) I was thinking that tap and swipe would use the two different attacks but it doesn’t seem to have worked.

    • Raunak Gera

      Tap is normal attack. Swipe is dodge (dodge when the screen flashes yellow). Hold to use your special.

    • Edward Baker

      Swipe your screen to dodge a half second after the edge turns yellow to effectively dodge attacks. Also, you cannot dodge while attacking (there is no animation canceling) so be sure to stop tapping and be ready to swipe before the attack comes in.

  • Tony Gentile

    How can you (if possible) strenghten a pokemon in a gym? Like level up their CP, or are they stuck at what they are when you put them in?

    • Edward Baker

      They are stuck at the cp you enter them at. They can be powered up using candy and dust after the gym is defeated and your Pokémon is returned.

  • FrizzHed

    Can you train in any gym or just the ones that are “owned” by others from your color team?

    • Edward Baker

      Only owned by your own team. You must battle gyms owned by other teams. When training you can only choose 1 Pokémon to use. When battling you choose s team of 6.

  • 69snowman69

    Can i take my pokemon out of the gym i put it in?

    • Edward Baker

      You cannot remove it. It is returned to you once the gym is defeated and the prestige drops to where your spot is no longer available.

  • Joshua Bold

    I thought I heard that if you put a Pokemon in a gym, it gets stronger. Is this true? (I.e. Go from 700 CP to 715 CP)

    • SuHaib MaLik

      It doesn’t get stronger!

  • Carl Weaver

    I own a gym all by myself. I leveled it up to level 3 but I haven’t been allowed to put in another Pokemon since level one…can one person not have multiple Pokemon in a gym?

    • SuHaib MaLik


      • Carl Weaver

        So someone else can’t put a Pokemon in then me put one in? I have to have only 1 Pokemon per gym!?

        • DrBanner

          One pokemon per gym.

      • Carl Weaver

        So even someone else puts in a Pokemon behind mine, I can’t go in behind them and put in my second one in that gym?

        • Allie West

          You can only have one per gym. Period. There are no conditions or circumstances under which one Pokemon go account can have more than one.

          • Axel Fuse


        • Daniel

          Sounds like U like to go In from behind lol

  • SuHaib MaLik

    How to increase the prestige of our own gym because my friend want to join the gym but its level is 1…..?!?!?!?!

    • WRektangle

      your friend will have to train with your gym (press that boxing glove bottom right corner) and he must beat at least one pokemon then the prestige will increase.

    • ImTheRealMisti

      I just figured this out last night when experimenting with gyms. You have to train them to strengthen them, or in other words, you have to battle against your own pokemon. And you have to win the battle if you want the gym prestige to increase. A tip of advice I would give you when doing this is, do not station your strongest pokemon at the gym…unless you think one of your other pokemon can beat him.

  • Amanda Chavez

    How do you cash out when you’ve held a gym for like 12 hours?

    • StarLorelei

      Go to shop (the same screen where your pokedex and items etc are) and tap the blue shield in the top right corner

  • Nake

    When my pokemon is in the gym do I recieve some xp just for standing there ?

    • DrBanner

      You get 10 coins and 500 stardust per 21 hours your pokemon is in the gym, per gym, up to 10 gyms. So if you have 10 pokemon in gyms, every 21 hours you get 100 coins and 5000 stardust.

  • Amy York

    What do you get for being in the gym? Just EX or other goodies too?

    • DrBanner

      Stardust and pokecoins.

  • Mohamed Ahmed

    When i tap on my gym i see another player and another pokemon

    • StarLorelei

      Gyms can hold multiple pokemon, the player who owns them is shown with their pokemon. The level of the gym I’m determines how many pokemon it can hold. I’m not sure how it determines which one is displayed first, but it might have to do with cp.

  • Gregory Kitchens

    There should be a reward for keeping the gym for any length of time to make it worth the effort. Otherwise there’s no point in fighting to keep it after everyone on the team has got their cash out. But let’s say a team holds the gym for 10 hours. They should get xp bonuses or rare stuff for holding it that long. Though that could create manipulation and unfair advantages I guess.

    • DrBanner

      There is a reward – coins and stardust.

      • Gregory Kitchens

        That’s a reward for taking it. Not keeping it.

        • BlizzardRed

          10 PokeCoins and 500 Stardust per 21 hours is the reward for keeping the gym.

          • sugartits

            so if you hold it longer than 21 hours you won’t get a bigger reward?

          • Ontariogirly

            You keep getting this reward every 21 hours, you just have to go and claim it.

  • nick

    so if I level my team’s gym up, who gets to take the open spot? I recently did this with no one around the gym, but some random guy got the spot before I did.

    • DrBanner

      Once the spot is available, anyone can take it.

  • Anthony Licon

    My pokemon was in a gym my team held we prestiged it to lvl 8 my pokemon got beat and is now back in my party but my defender clock is still running is this a glitch or is it due to the fact my team still holds the gym?

    • DrBanner

      Just a glitch, once it runs out it won’t restart.

    • ImTheRealMisti

      Is the defender clock the shield at the top of the shop you get your pokecoins and stardust from? Sorry, I’m still trying to get everything figured out. But if that’s the case, I just experienced this the other day and was wondering the same thing. But I think I’ve got it figured out. Once you collect your coins and dust, the clock will run for 21 hours…no matter if you have pokemon in gyms or not. Once the 21 hours is up, the clock will restart and if you still have a pokemon defending a gym, or if you’ve placed more in gyms by then, you can collect again.

      • Anthony Licon

        Yes and yea it still runs even if no pokemon is defending i thought it was glitched and i was gonna get free stuff but thata just how it works

        • Formica Dinette Jackson


  • Joffrey Baratheon

    Hey just a quick question, this has been bugging me for a while now and would really appreciate someone’s input. There are few gyms in my area owned by red team, I myself am in Team red. However when I go to place my Pokemon in the gym, it only gives me battle option. And I thought maybe I have to win one battle to place my Pokemon there however, the gyms are like level 3, level 7 and level 5. Its almost impossible to defeat all of the players with just one Pokemon available in my inventory. In the level 3 gym I managed to defeat all except the leader, but yea the option to place my Pokemon is still not available I don’t know why. Btw I am level 10, thanks in advance!

    • Janice Funk Schneider

      I had some of the same issues, I battled in a gym of my color, but even though I leveled the gym up twice I could not get in….

    • DrBanner

      Every time you battle a gym of your own colour, you raise the prestige – prestige is like XP for gyms. For another slot to open up, you have to raise the prestige by a certain amount. When you click on the gym, you see it on the top right – something like 6800/8000 for example – that means the prestige must reach 8000 for another slot to open up. If you raise the prestige 500 every time you battle there, you have to battle three times. Then the slot will open.

  • novasohpkc

    how do you level up your gym? also how do you join your teams gym to help?

    • DrBanner

      Just look below, question already answered.

  • Joshua Keys

    I took out all 7 pokemon holding a gym, dropped it’s prestige significantly, and when I went to fight them again the battle automatically stopped before the first strike. It continued to do this for like a half hour until I finally gave up. Every time I went to fight again it would end the battle before it began. No damage was done to either combatant. Yes, I restarted the app several times, and even restarted my phone. Nothing helped.

    Is there a limit to how often you can attack a gym?

    • Tine

      This happened to me, but I was training -not taking over. My first battle I beat the first pokemon and when the second pokemon pooped up to battle I got kicked out of the gym completely. When I entered the gym again and entered a fight, right after “GO!” it took me back to the main gym screen that shows what pokemon are at that gym. I tried changing what polemon I was using to train, force stopping the app, and leave the gym radius and go back, but it would keep doing that.

      • Tomdixon22

        Happened to me a bunch of times, generally just around when it was crashing, I think it’s a glitch.

  • Drew

    Once your pokemon is assigned to a gym, can you collect your first 500 star dust and 10 pokecoins right away or do you have to wait the 21 hours before your initial defender bonus?

  • Samantha Parker

    What does it mean if a pokemon i tried to add to a gym is shaded out. It was my highest cp Pokemon and one of my top 6 i use to battle, but it wouldnt let me add them or tell me the reason. The same pokemon was leading the gym… But others of my top pokemon were also shaded out so i dont know if that was the reason.

  • Thatguy

    If you leave a pokemon at a gym then go to another gym and as your leaveing a second pokemon the first gym is defeated do you still get the defender bonus or is it lost when the gym is defeated.

    • ImTheRealMisti

      Unfortunately, it’s lost when the gym is defeated. When you go to collect your defender bonus, it’s based off of how many pokemon you currently have defending a gym.

  • Lisa

    Me and my partner both placed a Pokemon in a gym, mine was the 3rd one to fight and his was the 5th or 6th. He is still in there but I’m not, why is this?

  • Derek Lance

    I prestige a gym twice, two open slots and still can’t put a Pokemon in. I’m kinda b.s to be honest

  • CanSwordFighter

    When it comes time to decide which pokemon to put in a gym, some of my pokemon are greyed out and not available to defend. Any idea why this is happening?

    • Thatguy

      do they need to be healed

      • Rachel Gauthier-Lavoie

        Same thing happens to me. They’re healed so no clue why they’re greyed out. Is it because they’ve been used as gym leader before? I’m running out of good Pokemons to put as gym leaders now…

  • joeyjojo

    my Pokemon says its in a gym but my team doesn’t own the gym anymore, it’s been like that for 2 weeks almost. How do I fix it?

  • Yadnyesh Chaphalkar

    Hiii ..!!!!!
    What happens if I beat the level 2 gym player ???? Can I be the leader of that gym ???? Can
    I change the team from Team Instinctive to Team Red ???

  • Roni Bloink

    the button on they gym that lets you put pokemon in the gym is not there for me all i can do is train at the gym i have no pokemon in it and there are only 3 pokemon in the gym whats wrong

    • ImTheRealMisti

      Keep beating the other pokemon until you raise the gym prestige enough to go to the next level, you may have to fight several times. Then hurry up and get in before someone else does.

  • Josh Powers

    Do you get more pokecoins and stardust if you are the top player in a gym? Also, can you remove a pokemon from a gym with out having to wait for someone to defeat it in battle.

    • StarLorelei


  • samanthaov

    After someone takes over my gym can I get it back by battling again?

    • StarLorelei


  • Sam li

    When I put a Pokemon in a gym and someone beats it but after I take the gym back why can’t I put the same Pokemon in the gym again

    • Josh Powers

      You can, however, the pokemon must be at full health.

  • Sergio Rosales

    I put a Pokemon on a level 3 gym yesterday but whew I drove by the gym today I check if my Pokemon was there still and I didn’t see it but when I view my Pokemon it still says is at the gym I don’t know if you understand what I’m trying to say

    • StarLorelei

      Is the gym still owned by your team? If so your pokemon is still there. I’m not sure how it determines which pokemon is displayed, but I think it has to do with cp.

  • Sonia Hessels

    Once you put a Pokemon in a gym you don’t have to do anything right? It will react to attackers on its own? My Pokemon was returned to me and I was never aware it was fighting so I hope I didn’t miss the battle and it just stood there

    • StarLorelei

      It fights on its own, you don’t have to do anything

  • W Kelleher

    Do I get more xp/poke coins for defending gym attacks or would I get more from attacking and taking over gyms?

  • Edrocklon

    How do I know if my pokemon got XP from fighting on the gym?

  • Nishant

    How to add more pokemon while fighting the gym? I can only fight with one pokemon


    • ImTheRealMisti

      You’re not fighting then, you’re training. You are at one of your team’s gyms. You will have to go to another team’s gym if you want to fight…then you will get to use 6 of your pokemon.

  • Nishant

    Dude does the color or the team that we select matter in our progress in the game

  • Rc Spicer

    So I did a gym battle and lost and my 2 Pokemon that died in the Battle they are gone from my invitory of Pokemon and appear to no longer exist is this normal. Do your Pokemon only last so long in battles before being wiped or did I get screwed

    • Bill_SF

      You still have them, but they are at 0 hp. Use a revive, and then potions to heal them the rest of the way up.

  • Nanu

    What do I get for placing a Pokemon at the gym to defend?

    • Ontariogirly

      Immediately you will get 10 PokeCoins and 500 Stardust. Then a clock starts ticking and every 21 hours your Pokemon stays in the gym you will be allotted another 10 PokeCoins and 500 Stardust. You should try to grab it right away though because I think you lose it if your Pokemon gets kicked out of the gym.

  • Daniel

    I leveled up a few gyms in my area to put in a Pokemon but it won’t let me is this just a glitch or is there a reason the gym is level 6 an there are only 4 Pokemon there the other level 9 an only 8

  • PowerPattie

    Can u take your pokemon out of a gym in any way ?

    • Ontariogirly

      You cannot. All Pokemon are stuck in the respected gym until someone in an opposing faction comes and either knocks your Pokemon out (if its a lower tier of the gym) or captures the gym outright.

  • Josef Chotívka

    How can i remove my pokemon out of gym? Btw im not leader of gym. I will be happy for every answer.

  • Maz Jamil

    My Pokemon was leader of a level 4 gym since yesterday morning and now has been returned to me. The gym is actually 2hrs away from my place at a park but I know that the gym is still the same color atm as mine. How would this work?

    • Kangaboo

      I’m guessing a stronger pokemon from your own team beat your pokemon so it became leader and pushed your pokemon down to second place but then someone from another team battled that gym and lowered the prestige which lowered the level of the gym and then your pokemon got kicked out

  • Oikawa<3

    I wanted to put my Pokemon in a friendly gym but all my highest cp ones went Greg and it wouldn’t let me what does this mean??

    • Ontariogirly

      Do they need to be revived and/or healed? Go to your items and click on Revive. If there is a Pokemon there that means he needs reviving. Just click on him and he’ll be revived. Then he needs to be healed. Click on one of your potions (under Items). If he’s there, click on him to heal him. The bar will show you if he is fully healed or not. When fully healed you will no longer see him there.

  • WolfenNight

    if you leave a pokemon really far away from you or if you leave it for too long do you lose that pokemon? i heard stories about this just wanted to clarify sorry im new to pokemon go

    • Ontariogirly

      No. Make sure you collect the rewards every 21 hours he is in the gym, the longer the better! If he gets kicked out he will be returned to you, but will need healing and/or reviving.

  • ghie

    can i still use my pokemon stationed on our gym. for example battling opposing team. noted that my pokemon is still on our gym.

    • Ontariogirly

      Nope, he is out of commission while in a gym.

  • Just a random guy

    Quick question: I took over a gym and put a snorlax to become the gym leader, but two minutes later I lost it. I recaptured it but then the game didn’t let me put the snorlax again, why is that so?

  • Bingsanchez

    Lol read the thread before commenting the same questions have been answered 30 times. I was almost tempted to ask if you could put more than one Pokémon in a gym. They see me trollin

  • Nate

    Random question . So I own a gym. I typically train at it till I get it to level 3 so others from my team can drop Pokémon off easily (if it’s late or no one is in the area to help fill spots at the moment). Is the gym harder to attack at level 3, even with only 1 Pokémon in it??? I just didn’t know if my extra work was in vain?

  • Sam

    If a gym is level 10 and already have 10 pokemons, can you replace the lowest CP one with another one?

    • Ontariogirly

      It says you can, I am going to try to do this today!

      UPDATE: Fail, you cannot do it. What I did do though was bring my daughter along who is a different colour. She brought it down to a level 9, I then trained and brought it back up to a 10 and dropped my guy in. And we both got something out of it, so that was good.

  • King Antoine

    When the Pokemon is defeated and removed, does the game tell you that the Pokemon’s defeated without going back to the gym to check yourself (or checking the Pokemon you’ve caught if you know them well enough)?

    • Ontariogirly

      I have always just noticed he was back when checking either the gym or my list of Pokemon. Maybe you get notified, but if you don’t see it you must just find out for yourself.

  • Fernando Rodriguez

    ok, so I have taken many gyms and hold them for a while, I believe I got pretty good when it comes to battles but there is still one thing I don’t know about gyms that I wish someone could answer for me but only if you know the answer, not guessing.
    If you encounter a FRIENDLY level 10 gym (which is the highest) and all 10 spots are taken but you can see that many of the Pokemons in there from other users are much weaker than yours, is there a way to kick someone out in order to place my much stronger Pokemon on their place? If so, how to do it?
    I got a friend who was guessing that you have to defeat all 10 pokemons in the gym but considering you only train with one pokemon thats a impossible task to accomplish so I doubt thats the answer.
    Any ideas?

    • Ontariogirly

      Good question. They say if your Pokemon is higher CP than the lowest you can swap them out (providing you are not already in that gym). I am going to try to figure this out today.

      UPDATE: No, you cannot do it. I had my daughter (who is on a different team) knock it down to a level 9, I then trained and brought it back up to a 10 and dropped my guy in. It was a win-win!

  • Dean Monahan

    When your Pokemon is in the gym who controls the fighting ??

    • Ontariogirly

      The computer.

  • Maj

    Can I still get the rewards after the 20-hour countdown , even when the pokemon I assigned was defeated ?

    • Ontariogirly

      You get the instant reward, then for every 21 hours he remains in the gym you get rewards, but he’s gotta make it past that 21 hours or you don’t get any more.

  • Pmy2003

    I have a Pokémon in a gym nearby and that gym has disappeared with my Pokémon in it I can’t collect and I can’t get my Pokémon back what do I do HELP?

    • Ontariogirly

      What ended up happening??

  • David Choo

    If my pokemon stays more than 21 hours, will i automatically get another 10 pokecoins?

    • Ontariogirly

      Yes, and 500 Stardust too. However, I believe you need to grab them right away, else the clock won’t reset for the 21 hours until you do. Also, if your Pokemon gets defeated and you haven’t grabbed your coins, I think you lose them. I set a reminder for me to grab them every 21 hours if I’m lucky enough to still be in the gym. If I’m wrong, someone please let me know!!

  • Kang Ari Nugroho

    I assigned one of my pokemon in a gym,i got 10 coins. A few hours later 1 assigned another pokemon in another gym but i didn’t get any coins. Some hours later both of my pokemon have been kicked out but the timer is still running, what’s the meaning of this?

    • Ontariogirly

      I don’t know the full answer, but can answer part of this. Here’s what happened to me. Noon I put a Slowbro in a gym, the clock starts ticking down from 21 hours, and I get an instant reward, yay!! 6pm I put a Golduck in a gym … no instant reward, but he’s on the same clock as my first guy. My Slowbro gets kicked out around 7pm that evening, so now I’m down to my Golduck. I thought he’d need to be there for 21 hours to get the reward, but he didn’t. I got his reward based on the clock of the Slowbro. And good thing because he didn’t make it to 21 hours either :( I have no idea what happens when they all stay in the gym past 21 hours though!

  • Kyle

    Okay, but what’s the point of having your team control a gym? Does it give you XP? Items? Pokemon? Nothing?

    • Ontariogirly

      When you put a Pokemon in a gym you will immediately get 10 PokeCoins and 500 Stardust. Then a clock starts ticking and every 21 hours your Pokemon stays in the gym you will be allotted another 10 PokeCoins and 500 Stardust. The Stardust is used to power up your Pokemon (make them better fighters), and the coins can be used to buy items.

      • Kyle

        So if the point of having your team control a gym is getting benefits from having your pokemon in the gym, why would you want to train at a gym?

        • Ontariogirly

          Pure addiction man, pure addiction, LOL

        • Ontariogirly

          I could have sworn I replied to this already … hmmmm. Well Kyle, it’s pure addiction man, pure addiction.

  • Izabella Maya

    If a gym of my color is al ready a gym level 10 can I fight to put my pokemon instead??

    • Ontariogirly

      No. I brought someone along who was a different colour, had them knock it down to a level 9, then I trained and got it back up to a 10 and was then able to drop my guy in.

  • Cheryl

    Can I check to see if anyone joined my gym if I’m not close to it??

  • Talha Khan

    can you join say multiple gyms at multiple locations?

  • Sayeed Alan

    if my teammate put their pokemon in my gym can they get pokecoins ?????

  • Niggs

    I had a Pokemon in the gym and mine as the one with the lowest CP. I earned my defending bonus that day. The next when I check the same gym, my Pokémon wasn’t there. Is it because I was defeated or what? Im not able to come to a conclusion.

    • Niggs


  • Mario J. Duran

    Ok I have been in the gym for a week now
    and I don’t seam to be getting coins or stardust it stays at about the same level. I go and collect but don’t seem to get any more.

  • Abby R. (sozecat)

    I’ve been having trouble forming my team of six. It gives me the option to switch them out but I don’t know how to actually solidify the team and fight with them. Is there a button I press that I haven’t been seeing…?

Related Popular Pokemon Content