Around AOTF ×

Pokemon Go Guide: How To Take Over Gyms

| July 8, 2016

Pokemon Go Guide: How To Take Over Gyms GameGuides Mobile  Pokemon Go Guides Pokemon Go

It honestly is starting to seem like almost everyone is playing Pokemon Go right now, even those that have not touched the series in years. Capturing all the Pokemon you can is obviously a key part of that, but the ability to take on gyms and become gym leaders yourself helps a lot too, which we are going to tell you just how to do.

We’ve already told you about the PokeStop locations on the map, but there are also much larger icons on the map that you likely will see at some point soon in your journey, which are gyms.

First of all, you must reach level 5 to do anything gym related, so that is your first goal. After you have reached level 5, get ready to take over a gym.

If you happen to come across a grey gym with no other colors, this means it is essentially an undiscovered gym that no one has taken up at. If this is the case, you can place any of your Pokemon here, which won’t be returned to your team until they’re defeated by another.

At this point, you can actually battle the Pokemon yourself to level up the prestige of that gym by winning, which can also be achieved by defeating other challengers. If you take over a gym, it will turn into one of the three color teams you can choose from with Yellow (Instinct), Mystic (Blue), and Valor (Red), which is what you need to watch out for.

Now, if you see a gym on the map nearby that already has one of these three colors, you have a couple options. If you want to be gym leader of a gym that is your same color, you can go and challenge the current gym leader and trainers there and as long as the prestige is high enough to have more trainers, you can take over at that time.

If the gym is another color, you will actually have a much deeper Pokemon battle where you can use up to six different Pokemon. Gyms will vary in how many trainers they have beyond the leader, but to conquer the gym, you must defeat every trainer at that gym, plus the leader. By doing this, it will knock the prestige down. However, beating them all will not instantly kick them out, but rather you must keep battling them until their prestige is down to 0. At this point, the gym turns grey and you can take over just like we mentioned above.

Become a contributor and write about games at AOTF!
Say Something
  • FatAlbert1020

    For some reason, the gym is omitting me from putting my strongest in it. When it comes time to add a Pokemon, my best ones are greed out. Mind helping me out with this

    Side note, I got a Hitmonchan! It’s probs my proudest achievement in gaming

    • Vikas Shiva

      It needs to be at full health

      • johnpliz

        ;_; and here I thought I couldn’t add my strongest because that was the one I attacked the gym with…. I think he lost like 5HP so you couldn’t even tell he need a potion. Ah well.. thanks for the info!

      • Can you heal the pokemon you battled with before placing it in the gym? Or, are you forced to choose a different one that is already full health? … And, can someone else step into the gym in the meantime and steal your spot? … In the cities, there are so many players that it happens very fast. ;-)

        • Angelflyer32

          You can heal your pokemon before placing it in the gym, but you are correct in aasuming that someome else can step in while you are doing that. Just exit the gym, heal your Pokémon, reenter and add….quickly! Lol

          • AtariHero

            HA! Good advice. I owned a gym tonight and then had someone just scoop in and stack a bunch of guys there while I was trying to heal a decent guy to put in there. Lame.

          • Gail Rohde

            The same thing happened to me! I was placing my guy in the gym after a great battle, and somebody stole it from me. I think they should fix this problem!!

          • Becky Zellner

            I keep the Pokémon I battle with different then the Pokémon I use to defend gyms so I don’t have to worry about that.

          • Jason Cuz Diodati

            I took over two gyms a footballfield apart and watched them both fall turn grey with no one around

          • James Stahlnecker

            I ate 3 sandwiches, armed wrestled a sasquatch took over 3 gyms a wrestling mat apart from each other said h.e double hockey stick and spit.

  • OctoberPikachu

    Why does it only let me take one Pokemon into the gym even though all my Pokemon are full health?

    • seber12463848704

      Because that gym is the same team as you.

      • Abraham Kupelian

        So if i take over a gym, and i build it up to level 3, i can’t add 2 more of my own pokemon to the gym? I’m only allowed to have ONE of my own?

        • Correct. You’ll need other members of your team to contribute more to that gym. You can have more than one pokemon in gyms at any given time, but only one PER gym.

        • seber12463848704


          • Jacob

            I beat two of the Pokemon in my own team gym. Why won’t it let me leave one behind to help defend?

          • LilCapita

            The gym may not be at a high enough prestige to let more trainers join. Keep battling them and eventually another prestige point will be added, then you will be able to leave a Pokemon.

          • seber12463848704

            You have to keep beating them until the gym levels up. If the gym is level three with two Pokemon, you can add a Pokemon. If it’s level two with two Pokemon, you have to keep beating it until it levels up to level three.

  • Mouse Nike

    Went to one of the Pokémon gyms here in Nyssa Or. And for some reason i got kicked out of the gym! Hope that what ever is going on will be fix!

    • Shukewaba

      When the gym loses prestige and gets knocked down some levels your pokemon get kicked out for loosing too many battles

      • Terra Spencer

        does anyone know how long you have to wait to be able to fight it again?

        • Sean Kramer

          You should be able to heal up and repeat. I have fought multiple battles at friendly and opposing gyms.

  • Kuro Ookami

    So I found a gym with the same team I’m in, how do i join the gym? Do i have to keep fighting my own team in order to be part of the gym?

    • Manciocchi

      bottom left of the screen should be a little circle with a plus sign (it is on Iphone, not sure about android) this will take you to your list of pokemon to put one in! if there is three in there you cannot add one in I have found but havent tried battling to see if this works as of yet as my phone died! so charging now to try again later!

      • Sean C

        Do you lose that Pokémon of you put it in a gym? Ever get it back?

        • Stickmanly

          You cant use it while it is in the gym but once it is kicked out you get it back

          • Hwhittington

            this morning I saw that the gym had been taken over by Mystic but now this afternoon, Valor is on top but I don’t see my Pokemon at the gym or in my inventory. #panicattack

          • Sean Kramer

            I have gotten back multiple pokemon from gyms, my assumption is that it’s there somewhere or else at the gym (should still show up on your pokemon tab regardless.)

        • StarLorelei

          You lose it for the time being, you get it back once it’s defeated but you have to heal it

      • Ina-Kristin

        If you keep batteling your own teams gym there will eventually be more spaces for new pokemons to guard the gym, then you can put yours in. But I think max is 5 pokemons

        • Shukewba

          theirs more then 5 slots, just got to get the level higher then 5 I’ve seen one at lv9

      • Shukewaba

        For every level of the gym 1 trainer can add a pokemon, in order to raise the level you need to battle with the gym if its your color if its not you can lower the level and eventually take it over. the more pokemon you can defeat the faster you can level up the tower.

      • StarLorelei

        The number of pokemon/trainers is determined by the level of the gym. A level two gym can only hold two, a level five can hold five, etc. You can keep training (you battle other teams, train with your own) your pokemon until the gyms prestige is high enough to level up and another slot will open.

    • Shukewaba

      You need to increase the level on the gym to get a slot open for your pokemon if your on the same team, send in one of your pokemon and beat as many as you can to level it up.

      • Kuro Ookami

        Oh alright, thanks

  • Manciocchi

    You can also be a gym leader if you put in a pokemon that has a higher CP as I have just done this myself! Also note that if a gym has 3 pokemon already then you cant just add yours in I have found! Also fighting a gym of the same colour is just a friendly to get XP dont think you become the leader if you win but not tried this yet!

    • Someone

      This is not true, I have seen Gyms with 4 Pokemons. the gym capacity will increase to a max of 6 pokemons if im not wrong :)

      • Alan

        Isaw a couple of level 10 gyms already… 10 pokemon

        • Someone

          then following that logic the gym will have the amount of pokemons the gym lv is. good to know. sadly Blues are taking everything … near my house I have 4 gyms xD… and all of them are blue lol… I choose yellow ! and I will take over those gyms!

          • Shukewaba

            Yea for every level the gym goes up you can add another trainer, I’ve only seen up to lv9 though. The pokemon with the highest CP left behind will be the “king” and will show up on the tower but not sure if that means they are the leader or anything special happens for having it.

          • HD Dota

            Hi, im hussam, you just said highest cp will be the king i have beated 2 trainers at the gym and i kicked them out when i tried to choose one of my pokemons it didnt allow me to select my highest cp pokemon why

          • Sean Kramer

            Blue seem to have a stranglehold on gyms here too. My advice is to start with 1 friendly gym and build it up ignoring the rest. Once you have 7 or 8 strong mobs you can start thinking about 2 or 3. Each gym is propaganda for your color, win over local gyms and give people a reason to pick yellow.

  • Dillard

    So I’ve battled against 4 different gyms now, and every time on the opponents last pokemon, it will go down to no health, and the game will just stop. I can keep attacking but no health is lost, and the opponents pokemon wont attack. Then when I restart the game and try again, the battle starts, then ends and goes to the gym menu. Am I missing something?

    • Paul Blart

      I kinda have this problem. I was fighting a friendly gym (mystic/blue) and got their Pokemon to one health. I couldn’t kill it and it ended up killing me. It gave me no XP or anything. Why?

      • Anthony

        same thing just happened to me when i was ready to take over another teams gym… got em down to their last health and it wouldnt let me finish him off.. killed me.

        • Anthony

          it was also a blue gym i was fighting

        • Paul Kopalek

          They have been saying that this is a server issue.

          Their answer is to try again later (when their server situation has leveled out).

          Others have reported more success by tapping/attacking more SLOWLY on the opponent to make sure everything registers. There’s no way to guarantee success, but it does appear to be an issue.

    • James Vaughan

      This happens to me too! It is literally the most frustrating thing about the game rn and needs to be fixed.

    • theAmalak

      Same issue I have its annoying me because I know for a fact I would smash all of the gyms around here….

    • Kelvin Limbrick

      Same. My buddies and I went to two different gyms and whooped them, but it just froze no matter how many times we did it. Sometimes we exited and got full health, sometimes we received random items, but mostly nothing.

      What’s weird is it seems that other people don’t seem to have the same issue. I wonder if it’s a 3 of people or timing thing.

      • kindled

        This keeps happening to me, too.

  • OneLiftedDodge

    I found a gym the same color as me and fought the 4 members in it 8 times I beat everyone of them all eight times with my 1 pokemon but still would not let me in the gym why is this

    • Zepp2

      I am having same issue. Is it a bug or is there an explanation for it?

      • Someone

        You cant take over gyms that are same color as you… read the article please, is there for a reason… when you enter a gym same color as you, if you fight and win, the prestige go UP but there is another option to the left of the botton that you tap for battle that is like a + sign , you tap on it and then you will send a pokemon with a higher CP to be the leader of the gym unless someone come with a higher CP Pokemon and use that one as a leader.

      • Shukewaba

        When the gym is your team you need to raise the level on the gym to get room for your pokemon, the more pokemon you beat the faster you level up the gym (i feel some people leave weaker pokemon just so it will be easier to level up the gym quicker for others to jump in) i don’t think anything special happens for leaving a pokemon with the highest CP other then getting a crown and showing your pokemon on top of the gym.

        • Bufu-

          Nice for the info but u rekon they leave a high cp because other colors will take it ? And that sound like a good idea to leave low cp Pokemon in gym but risky at the same time?

          • amy!

            You don’t lose your Pokemon when another color takes over the gym. It comes back to you with no health and you have to use potions to build it back up. But it stays yours.

          • Bufu-

            Ok thanks i kno now ..I been doing some battling today & holding 2 spots its crazy out ere..

        • Liz Hall

          I raised my local gym by 2 levels and it STILL wouldn’t let me add one of my pokemon! I even came out of the game and went back in; it was still level 5 with only 3 pokemon, it was still my colour, and it still didn’t let me in!

  • Glenn Dawson

    Every time I go to face a gym I get the Pokemon to one else then it won’t let me kill it and it won’t attack me either why is this happening and is it happening to anyone else?

  • theAmalak

    The problem I’m facing is that I can challenge and defeat a gym first try no problem. However, if the gym has multiple trainers which in turn means I need to face the gym again, the game will not allow me to defeat the final pokemon again or will kick me out before the battle begins. Just wondering if anyone else is experiencing this issue seeing as how were supposed to be able to keep battling the gym til their prestige drops to 0.

    • WhovianLaura

      I’m having this issue, too, but only sometimes. Can’t figure out what’s causing it. My husband was able to keep fighting, but I couldn’t get back in. The other night at a different gym, a friend was able to keep fighting but hubby and I couldn’t get back in….

  • Iris

    Everytime I attack other team’s gym, my game stops working?

  • Gavin Scheid

    I found some gyms in my area after there Pokemon hit 0 on Heath they will continue to fight still and try wiping out my team. Why is that?

  • Rebecca Myers

    I put a Pokemon in an unclaimed gym but when I checked back later it had turned to grey again and my Pokemon was back in my list – what could have happened?

    • Josh Manduchi

      Someone beat your gym but didn’t have a full hp pokemon to claim the gym afterward.

      • Rebecca Myers

        Ahh I see, thanks! Sadly we were just out for the day so I can’t go back to reclaim it but at least I know what happened :)

    • Sean Kramer

      my instinct is you did it wrong. second choice, the server issues kicked in at the perfect moment.

  • baggins

    I’ve challenged a friendly lvl 3 gym and beat the lower two trainers but then nothing happened except that my Pokemon had lost health. The same thing happened twice when I successfully beat a rival gym but the game seemed to freeze right at the end of the battle forcing me to restart the game.
    I’m not sure what is going on and its really annoying because I’m essentially just wasting potions because I’m not even getting xp. Has anyone else had this problem?

  • Leisa Wiley

    Every time I go to fight a rival gym, I get the Pokemon to nil health and it stays that way even if I keep attacking till the time runs out… This has happened a few times now.. Kindof discouraging

  • Nexety

    Also got the same problem as many people here… I kill the Pokémon in the Arena (almost), it has 0 health but isnt defeated and continues beating up my pokémons.. Does someone know if I can fix this myself?

  • Chilisauce

    Now… this is really stranke and i cant finde answer anywehre. I’ve battled a gym from the same team as mine. I defeated it several times. And every time i defeat it, the gym gets xp and prestige. What??

    • Shukewaba

      That sounds normal, you need to fight the gym to either take it over or if its your team then fight them to level it up to make room for your pokemon.

  • jbedr1989

    Does anyone know if you can add more then one pokemon to a gym you took over? Just took over a gym and added my highest CP pokemon, but I can’t seem to add a second even though no one else is there.

    • Shukewaba

      you can only add 1 of your pokemon per gym that i know of however if you level up the gym to 2+ you can try to add another just to see.

      • Abraham Kupelian

        I tried that today, i kept fighting my own gym to level 3 and it still didn’t let me add more then ONE of my own.. Sucks.

  • Andrew Namkoong

    The game won’t let me put in Pokemon of my same color in gyms what should I do?

    • Shukewaba

      keep battling the pokemon in the tower to level its prestige, when the gym levels up you can place in a pokemon but you have to beat the ones inside to get the gym exp the more you beat in 1 go the faster it will level up.

  • Ace

    Do I have to physically go to the gym location to battle? And does it only work if the current members are at the location at the same time as me? How do I battle if they’re sitting at home 20 minutes away?

    • Shukewaba

      You personally have to be in range of a gym to take it over or level it up to place a pokemon. however you don’t need to be in range when someone comes to fight the pokemon you leave behind inside the gym to guard it

  • Charlieb98

    My local gym has a 1000cp snorlax sat on it but every time I check it it’s been deposed by an 86 pidgeyotto. Explanation please?

  • Gabe Sanchez

    I kept getting kicked out of the battle at a gym last night. But my friend was with me and he was able to fight all the leaders and claim the gym. I actually beat the first leader than got kicked out, then every time I started a battle it got to ‘GO!’ and then I got kicked. I was furious.

  • Manny Garcia

    Do I always have to be at the gym location to battle in it


      no, your pokemon battles virtually if you’ve left it at a gym.

  • Chris

    When you fight against other players sometimes they get to use special attacks how can i do that?


      to do a special attack you wait for the 2-3 blue bars to load under your pokemon health and then you hold down on the phone screen, it will special attack.

  • Lee mx

    This is the best thread I’ve found on gyms so far.
    My question is: Being a gym leader, how can I tell if my Pokémon has been attacked (but not defeated)? Are there notifications of some kind?

    Also, do they (the Pokémon left behind) need to be cured in between battles?

    • Nico

      Yes they do need to be cured and please do or they will just get whittled down (believe me me and my friend do this all the time)


      I think they appear if you go into “shop” and then see that right corner badge? or maybe thats just where you collect winnings?

  • David King

    I entered a gym the same colour team as me but when I went to attack people it would only let me attack the Pokemon I had placed in the gym ? Can anyone tell me why ? Or is that the way you train them ?

  • Call

    Ive attacked a gym and got the openent to 0 health but it says u lose help pld

  • Belfrost

    Hi, can anyone answer my question. There’s a gym near me I want to battle and I was going to put one of my strongest in if I won, which is only 504cp. If this Pokemon is beaten, will I get him back or is it the same as a transfer and I will lose him?


      you will get him back at 0 health once he is beaten

  • Shelby Lynn

    I put in a pokemon at a gym last night and now my pokemon is back or its health was low what does that mean did someone take over or did they beat my pokemon.


      yes. if there isn’t a gym style circle next to his name with your team color, he is back. you’ll need to revive him.

  • ApacheCleric

    This is so stupid. I went through and battled 6 people, beat them all and got their score down to zero which vacated them from the gym. BUT it doesn’t let you take over the gym right then. You have to get out and go back in and then claim it. By the time you do that done other person had already jumped in and claimed it. I beat them and then same thing. This happened for times in a row. So I do all the work and then they let someone else claim the place! Nice coding!

  • Raimi Braun

    Gym is taken by my same color. Only one pokemon is there and its a much higher level. i dont want to own the gym i just want to place a pokemon but it doesnt give me the option to do so. all my pokemon are full health and the gym is my color and the gym level is only 1 so i dont understand why i cant place.

  • Krzysztof Ciszewski

    Why I can only have 1 pokémon in battle?

  • — Ryon.

    Do you get a notification on-screen when someone defeats your gym? Like, does it tell you ‘User [Insert Name Here] has defeated your gym!’, or do you just get your Pokémon back and figure it out yourself?

  • Jayce Chronos

    I just have tried to fight the Gym of opposite Team but when it comes to battle it actually returns to Gym menu. I tried about Five times with changing squad but it is unable I wonder why, have you got any Idea?

    • Tefen Ca

      Same issue here and reported it to Niantic. I keep reading tons of people with this issue here but can’t seem to find any answers.


    im yellow and I just beat a red gym. before I can put a Pokemon there, the gym turns back to red ? it was gray and I was reviving my guy to leave there and it turned back to red in literally 1 second what’s that about?

  • Dana

    I just took over a gym (turned grey and I assigned my Vaporeon to it) and it did show my vaporeon avatar on top of it. Now when I get home which is about a mile away, it does not show my pokemon there but in my pokemon list it says “assigned to gym” so I can’t power him up either. Help please…. :0

  • Rinaldy Rizky A.

    why i cant add my pokemon in the gym who have same colour (same team) with me? it also happen to the gym who have only ONE pokemon.
    is it only me? or anything have some problem?

    • Tefen Ca

      Stop asking the same question as everyone else and read the answers already posted.

  • Irawan Dandi

    What if I won the gym then someone else took it due to late assigning my pokemon, is it possible? Or the one who beat a gym then tye winner is the only one who can only assigning its pokémon to the gym?

  • Ninad Jagade

    Hey how can i fight against a gym with my friend…….i have seen vedios that contained 2 pokemons simultaneously fight the pokemon in oppo gym…….They wer following a strategy….guy one was just douging attacks of the pokemon….as he was atcking him…..while other was just doing dpm….with no complexatioj….as the pokemon was attacking guy 1s poke…..and he was just keeping on doughing

  • Shotz of Lead

    Do you lose your pokemon if you lose to the gym? If you leave it does it die eventually or lose health?

  • LostMyHypno

    I battle a gym the same colour as me, when I lost I also lost my pokemon. It’s not in my inventory anymore either. Is this normal?

  • XxxEmoMonsterxxX

    I wish there was an article that explained simply how to put a pokemon in a gym of your corresponding team colour. I am the red team, my local gym is red and I keep beating kiddies who somehow can put in 90CP pokemon and I have ones with much higher CP but I dont get in even when I beat them. I cant beat the leader though he has like 1000CP.

  • pandemic xx

    If I join a gym with 2 other people on my team, can they kick me out?

  • l3riLL1@nT

    Is it bad that I drove past a empty gym, put a Pokemon in it then left?

  • can i takeover a gym with my friends co-op?

  • Mgoudi10

    What is the point of taking over a gym if it’s going to be taken a few hours later? Like what are the rewards ie xp?

  • GK9

    How to find back the gym that I take over?

  • Paul Tana

    I can’t believe how many people don’t know how to knock out 3000 to 5000 prestige points per gym battle!!

    Easy as this….

    Slowbro @ 1417
    Vaporean @ 1752
    Snorlax @ 1947
    Dragonite @ 2207 (are in the gym for instance)

    (Attacking with)
    Snorlax @ 1254
    Exeggcutor @ 1654
    Machamp @ 1883
    Lapras @ 2174

    I won 3000 prestige points off the gym in less than a full battle of 6.

    Moral to this story….
    Attack the gym with Pokemon that are LOWER in CP than the Pokemon defending the gym and you will receive full points everytime!!! On average if you defeat the gym like this you will receive 500 points per Pokemon battle.
    Defeat 4 pokemon and win = 3000 points
    Defeat 5 pokemon and win = 4000 points
    Defeat 6 or more pokemon and win = 5000+ points.

    The most I have ever seen was when I defeated a 10 level gym using this method and got 8000+ points!! Whoo hoo that is some smashing!!

Related Popular Pokemon Go Content