Upgraded weight room paying dividends at Seymour High School


Seymour High School students now have the opportunity to work out on equipment that is as good as any that you will find at any high school in Indiana.

This past spring, new equipment was installed in the weight room at Bulleit Stadium.

The equipment is in used throughout every school day.

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“We went with Sorinex as our company,” physical education teacher and football coach Mike Kelly said. “They did a great job of fitting our facility. They came in and kind of measured it out and laid out our room. We had several companies that came in and bidded on the project.

“About $150,000 was spent, and that included the TRX bands. We also have what they call VertiMax, which our basketball coaches really like. It helps increase their vertical jump as well as their power and explosion. We got all kinds of tools that was updating the facility that is very similar to what you see at Columbus East or any other conference school.”

Kelly said a group of 63 athletes come in before school and work out. There are cross-country runners and volleyball players but mostly football players in that group.

“That was designed for three purposes,” he said. “One was to ensure that we weren’t getting afternoon classes for our athletes, so our football players weren’t going to be in the afternoon weight classes to allow them enough recovery time before we practice and play games, and two, to get away from the heat.

“Third, and most importantly, was to help alleviate room in schedules. We had some kids that couldn’t get into weight classes because of other classes they’re taking, so we came up with zero hour to eliminate any potential issues that arise with that.”

There are now eight full racks and eight half-racks. The half-racks are through the middle of the room.

“We put groups of four in here,” Kelly said. “One person is lifting, one person is spotting and we have two auxiliary lifts. On the back sides of the lifts, we have bungees and bands, and we also have what we call glute hand rollers, where we work with our hamstrings.”

Kelly said there are unique features of the equipment.

“The full racks have the pull-up bars on the side,” he said. “They also have a rack that connects all of them together so they’re not sliding through the weight room. That allows us to use our TRX bands, which are the bands that we hang in the middle section. They are military grade and are used in the military predominately.

“We also have what they call landmines on the front side of it. You can do pulls with that. You can do all kinds of rotational movement to help increase power and also some single-leg movement, some single-arm movement with those. That’s pretty unique.”

There’s also a bungee station, where athletes can do a variety of work.

“We work out our hamstrings, our backs and our biceps,” Kelly said. “We can do all kinds of stuff with the bungees.”

Typically, there is a four-man rotation through every station so coaches can fit up to 64 people in the room at once.

“This is not like (some other gyms) where they come in and hang out and do a couple lifts,” Kelly said. “We give them a prescribed workout that they have to be engaged in. It’s very rigorous.

“A lot of kids, at first, they’re a little leery and a little apprehensive, but as they get a little confidence and start building some muscle, they get excited about what’s happening. It’s a great way for them to develop their physical fitness.”

Kelly feels that the lessons in the weight room transcend sports.

“I think lifelong fitness is one of the keys for the state of Indiana,” Kelly said. “If you look at the obesity rate in Indiana, it’s one of the highest in the nation. Part of that is education and asking, ‘What can I do?’ We educate them on how to lift properly so they can take what we do here and apply it to a fitness center. We try to teach them principles of weightlifting so they know the why behind the how.”

Several athletes are in the PE classes, including juniors Cayton Bailiff and Abby Schmidt. Bailiff is a sprinter on the track and field team, while Schmidt is playing volleyball and will be on the tennis team in the spring.

Kelly said there are between 25 and 35 students in each PE class for a total of nearly 300 in a given week.

“Basically, I’m getting stronger,” Bailiff said. “I love the new equipment. I enjoy the workouts.”

He said this is the second school year he has been in the weight class, and he enjoys doing all of the different lifts that allows him to strengthen all parts of his body.

“I like to do power clean and squat,” Bailiff said. “We’re slowly building up to the max.”

Schmidt said she feels like she is getting more out of her workouts.

“The new equipment is really nice,” she said. “It makes it a lot more productive, and it’s a lot easier to set up and take down. I think the class is kind of a nice break from my brain to do things that help me with sports. I do all the lifts. I’m trying to increase my strength and become more explosive and powerful for volleyball. I’ve gone up in (lifting) weight already.”

Kelly said it is nice to see the students increase the amount of weight they can lift and the number of reps they can do.

“How we measure that is we max them out and kind of get a baseline of where they are in their current strength, and as the semester progresses, they’re expected to increase by 15 pounds on three lifts: Bench, quad and power clean. Those are our three measured tests we do in here,” he said.

“What’s unique and neat is to watch kids get excited about how much stronger they are able to get in a matter of nine weeks to 18 weeks. Last year, I had kids that increased their squat maxes by over 150 pounds, kids that increased their benches by 100 pounds, their power cleans by 125 pounds.”

He said the students get excited when they are able to achieve something and take a lot of pride in doing something that not many people are able to do.

“I think one thing we take pride in is, ‘Hey, this is a place we develop pride and how we work,’” he said.

Kelly said the weightlifting program changed when the school got the new equipment.

“I changed it up a lot because of what I was able to get out of the equipment,” he said. “Previously, we were kind of restricted because we only had eight full racks and two half-racks, so it gave us a lot more space where we could get a lot more done in a short amount of time.

“This made it a lot more streamline, so to speak, in terms of the design and the functionality of the weight room. Every day they come in here, there is a different style of workout.”

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