Working it out: Minnehaha’s weight room and where it’s going
The weight room’s current location faces space, equipment restrictions; more machines desired
By Frances Hoekstra, Talon staff writer
Rap music is blaring out of the speaker system. Heavy weights are clanking against their metal frames. There’s a team; working, sweating and shouting together.
“It feels like dedication,” said senior Sem May. “It feels like team bonding and everybody getting together for the same purpose.”
Team workouts are just one of the ways the Minnehaha Academy North Campus weight room, officially known as the Athletic Development Center, is used. The facility currently contains equipment specifically used for weight training, which is different from cardiovascular training equipment. While cardio-based equipment would be a welcome addition to the room, Minnehaha needs a space that can be used to develop athletes in ways that can benefit them in all of their sports.
“Minnehaha Academy is a school where our athletes need to be two and three sport athletes, so you can’t focus solely on training specificity by having all cross country skiing-type machines,” said Directer of Athletic Advancement Ron Monson. “You can’t do that. You have to develop athleticism, and you also have develop a curriculum that supports that, a curriculum meaning that all the sports buy into a unified program for athletic development.”
The current weight training equipment includes hand weights, bench presses, pull-up bars and leg curl machines.
The football and basketball teams (to name a few) use the weight room especially during the off season to increase strength, which they don’t have much time for during the regular season.
“During the year we still use it just to maintain strength,” said basketball coach Lance Johnson.
While the basketball team gets in their cardio work on the court, Johnson wouldn’t be opposed to equipment such as treadmills, stationary bikes, and ellipticals that would transform the weight room into a fitness center.
“I walk into other schools and sometimes I’ll see fitness rooms versus just weight rooms, and it’s just awesome,” Johnson said.
One of the reasons that it would be beneficial to have more cardio machines would be to help injured athletes rehabilitate. When a student is recovering from an injury they follow a rehabilitation plan, and low impact cardio machines such as ellipticals and stationary bikes (which are currently available in the weight room) are a great way to rebuild strength lost during the initial recovery period.
While cardio based equipment would surely benefit many people, there are definite problems that would need to be dealt with, including funding, liability, and upkeep and space.
As is, there simply isn’t enough space at North Campus to transform the weight room into a fitness center.
However, there is one place in the Upper School building that would be able to easily house such equipment: the wrestling room.
“Now we have roughly 1700 square feet in the current athletic development center here at North Campus,” said Monson.
This may seem like a lot, but the room is completely packed with various pieces of weight training equipment, leaving hardly any space for anything else.
The wrestling room, located above the weight room by the concession stand, would be able to house an influx of cardio machines.
However, it currently is the practice room for Minnehaha’s wrestling team, which co-ops with DeLaSalle (and also has only two Minnehaha wrestlers).
“It’s worked out really well for [DeLaSalle], and it’s worked out well for us because it’s kept the program alive,” said athletic director Ken Anderson.
Anderson, who will be retiring this December, said last year that he would keep the wrestling program for at least one more year and let his successor decide what to do after that. He agreed to this after the wrestling coaches asked for an opportunity to recruit more Minnehaha wrestlers this year.
“If we’re sitting here with one wrestler this year, I think it’d be pretty hard to justify keeping the program alive,” Anderson said. “If we can keep the program alive with some more numbers I think that’s good. It gives kids more opportunities to do things.”
“I would hate to see the end of our wrestling program,” said Johnson. “If that were to occur and space opened up I would be more than supportive of using that space, rather than having it sit there.”
Even if it was decided to turn the wrestling room into an extension of the athletic development center, some challenges present themselves.
“If you were to divide that room I think there [would] be some fire code issues,” said Monson.
Other issues are funding, liability and upkeep. The current weight training equipment was donated by Lifetime Fitness, so new equipment would either need to be donated or bought using athletic department funds. Also, the room needs supervision at all times (which is already a rule in the current weight room). Lastly, expensive equipment requires a certain amount of attention in order to maintain it. Yes, there are complications when it comes to weight room advancement, but as the French proverb goes, “For a web begun God sends thread.”