Making Gains, Gaining Popularity

Briana Gallo, Reporter

If you have ever walked by the Miller Athletic Complex after school and seen a group of girls running around the gym or heard music blaring from the weight room, then you have experienced just a snippet of the Presentation Strength and Conditioning Program.

The after school program, also referred to as Crossfit, has been at Pres for the past five years. It consists of hour-long after-school classes open to all students and features weightlifting, flexibility work and cardio drills.

The popularity of the weight room has grown immensely since the program’s start. Strength and Conditioning Coach ‎Shaun Eagen says that there used to be only three to four girls a day in previous years, but now there are usually 20 to 40 students, including sports teams, attending each day.

Although it is fantastic that students are getting active and many teams are utilizing the weight room, there simply is not enough space for all of these athletes to exercise efficiently. Senior Sophia Madden, who has participated in the program since her sophomore year, agrees: “It can be a little difficult when the workouts have to be modified because we just do not have the room for everyone to do it.”

The size of the weight room along with the current attendance of Crossfit is clearly an issue that limits athletes and the program in itself. It is of the utmost importance that solutions are put in place to alleviate some of the complications.

One of the biggest contributions to the large uptick in attendance is the amount of sports teams that have attended this year. Because teams have so many athletes, it would be ideal if they could schedule times to train separate from the standard Crossfit sessions.

Many teams would benefit from having personalized training based on their sport, more attention available from Mr. Eagan and space for them to spread out. This has already been implemented by the Field Hockey team this fall, and from my understanding it was highly effective.

Another option would be to offer Crossfit sessions in the morning. Plenty of people exercise in the morning, so why not accommodate those early risers with morning Crossfit? If there is any opportunity to displace some of the athletes to another time so it is less crowded in the afternoon, it is worth instituting, even if it requires additional staff to oversee.

Even if these solutions fail to improve the attendance in the afternoons, there are still ways to accommodate athletes so the crowded weight room can be more comfortable. Although not ideal, rotating students outside or adapting the workout to go beyond the weight room would free up space.

This has been implemented several times by the Cross Country team who often takes weights outside of the weight room for their own training. Crossfit has used this technique before, but sparingly. If utilized more often, it would free up space on especially crowded days

According to the master plan, Presentation does plan on constructing a second smaller gym. Some may argue that the space issues with the Crossfit program are only temporary and that it will be resolved as soon as the gym is added.

However, this is potentially years away. Current students should not have to suffer in a crowded weight room when most of us probably will never have the opportunity to use the added gym before we graduate, especially if there are solutions to the problem that can be implemented right now.

We are very fortunate to have this environment that supports building up strong young women with weight lifting and to have so many girls that are eager to participate. However, this is what should be driving the expansion of the program. As long as we continue to develop the Crossfit program as the demand grows, the weight room can continue to be an amazing place for female empowerment.