How to Improve Weight Rooms and Gymnasiums in Schools
Four Back-To-School Must-Haves for Your School’s Fitness Facilities
It’s back to school time and as students flood the hallways and navigate new class schedules, teachers and coaches are gearing up for the busy year ahead. Classrooms, weight rooms and gymnasiums alike need to be looking at four key things to be prepared for the school year and the fitness and training demands that come with it. Here are a few ways to improve weight rooms and gymnasiums in schools.
1. Safety Check
Every school should be particularly vigilant around the safety of all of its exercise/weight room equipment. Making sure that all of the equipment is in good working order is at the top of many coaches’ back-to-school lists of things to do. Due to the frequent usage and durability needs for every piece of equipment, the safety standards need to be checked and double checked so that cables are not frayed and pulleys are in good shape.
Safety isn’t just for the heavy weight machines either. Floor to ceiling, hazards need to be spotted and dealt with, as loose carpeting and dirty or ripped upholstery pads can be just as problematic for causing harm. Sometimes broken, sharp or rusted items can go unaddressed in the year-end rush in the spring, so a fall safety check becomes critical. Do a simple and detailed walk through and remove or replace any unsafe equipment.
2. Legal Compliance
In any school, there are federal and often local legal requirements for physical activity and fitness-related goals that the school must comply with. These requirements can include:
- Accessibility of equipment for all student populations (including adaptive students)
- Number, type and size of physical education classes
- Physical education teaching stations and the program content available through those
- and potentially many more depending on your local laws
In California, for example, there are numerous facility and program requirements that can change between school years and any local regulatory or title requirements should be reviewed at the start of every school year.
Schools can often easily comply with requirements that specify multiple pieces of exercise equipment to help ALL students and be in compliance with equal access provisions. Generally this can be accomplished with a single piece of equipment (like a CMDAP functional trainer) which works with all student types and abilities, including adaptive students.
3. Update Technology
In weight rooms, there’s not necessarily much “technology” to update, though screens of all sizes and shapes are routinely driving today’s fitness and training needs. If you have cardio equipment or other options that integrate with technology platforms, make sure that the software is up to date. Download the latest versions of the fitness platforms and make sure that any and all technology pieces are current.
Technology is a requirement in nearly every school environment, and that holds true for the fitness facilities as well. Screens in hand or on the wall can and should carry the latest fitness programming, including critical training tips and health guidance to prevent injuries on the sports field, or even just instructions on how to properly use the fitness equipment. Fitness video programming is helping coaches, teachers and fitness facility managers engage and educate end-users about the equipment available, how to use it, and how to improve fitness and training techniques in compelling ways.
As the positive ties between physical activity and academic performance have been well documented, schools are implementing a number of technology options including gaming systems, fitness and training apps, virtual content and fitness class options and monitoring and tracking. Schools recognize and can easily justify the reasoning behind technology investments: “When it comes to introducing technology into physical education, the benefits extend beyond education. There’s a positive impact on students’ health as well.”
4. (Re)stock Equipment
As school gets back in session, PE teachers and coaches are taking inventories of the weight room and fitness center needs with the interest in and momentum behind starting the school year off as strongly as possible. Bumpers and bars don’t last forever, especially when they have to endure months of team training and thousands of hours of lifting, dropping and shifting. Most of our schools have their best opportunity at the beginning of the year to re-equip and restore their training rooms, and this is that time.
In addition, school budgets are always tight and with increasing student populations every dollar needs to be smartly spent. Key fitness brands like Troy Barbell & Fitness offer both premium and economy versions of its five most popular student fitness and training products – kettlebells, bumpers, plates, bars, and dumbbells – to meet needs at every level.