By Christopher Ramos ’15 and Ames Bartels ’15
As you walk into the second floor weight room, you are hit with a unique, pungent smell. This smell has developed from a mix of sweat, dirt, and other unpleasant substances that have accumulated due to an apparent lack of cleaning. Mixed with the smell of the boy’s bathroom across the hall and the body odor from the students themselves, the room seems unfit to breathe in, let alone exercise in.
This is just one of many complaints that most people have of room number 213. Another complaint that many have is that the room is too crowded. There are a normal number of students in each weight training class, and the room is the size of others that hold the same number of students, so at first, one might wonder why it’s crowded if the conditions of other classes are the same. The answer to that question is the room is crowded because unlike most classes where you sit in a desk, weight training requires movement.
“I’m always bumping into someone who, in most cases, is covered in sweat.” said Roman Vinokur ‘15. “It is not a pleasant feeling.”
Crowding not only affects the students mentally; it can also affect them physically. Lifting heavy weights can be dangerous. If you add a class full of students to the situation, you are increasing the risk of an accident happening, which can lead to injuries.
“More of my time is spent looking for an empty space to do an exercise than actually doing it,” said Daniel Lozovoy ‘15. “When I actually get to do the exercise, I often have to stop to let someone pass. In situations like this, if I hadn’t seen the person, an accident could’ve happened, and someone could’ve gotten hurt.”
There are two easy solutions to the problem of overcrowding. First, smaller classes could be programmed. This might not be viable due to the overcrowding of the school itself, but it’s worth a shot. Second, two broken machines should be removed from the room, as they are just taking up space. These wastes of space just happen to be the only machines used to train the chest, which leads me to the next problem: the equipment itself.
The whole room is comprised of machines except for a dumbbell rack. This is a problem for two reasons. First, they take up unnecessary space. In most cases the same muscle that a machine is used for can be trained with things that take up less space. In fact, virtually any muscle can be trained with just dumbbells, barbells, or your own body weight. Second, the machines do not give you functional strength. They stabilize the exercise, which subsequently isolates a certain (usually largest) muscle in a muscle group. This may make you look bigger, but it does not make you as strong as free weight exercises would. In free weight exercises you have to stabilize the weight, which will force you to use other little muscles that you didn’t know you could work. An example of the way machines are limiting is the bicep curl machine, which can be found in the second floor room. This machine has a motion that cannot be changed, but in order to either work the outer or inner bicep, you have to change the way you curl.
“In wrestling, you often find yourself in awkward positions that machines don’t require you to be in,” said David Nemirovsky ‘15, a member of the wrestling team. “In positions like these, the limited muscles that machines train are useless.”
This is probably the reason why the teams of sports such as wrestling and football, which require functional strength, use the first floor weight room instead of the room on the second floor. The first floor weight room contains fewer machines and more free weights. This allows you to gain functional strength, and it makes the room seem less crowded in the process. Things it has which the second floor room doesn’t include benches, bars, plates, and squat racks.
“The room has a lot of really nice equipment, and the coaches are always there to help you use it,” said David Nemirovsky ‘15.
Making the second floor weight room more like the first floor one would be a simple way to improve it. The room would be less crowded, and the workouts would be more effective. As for the odor, simply cleaning the room more often would help.