Weight room strengthens athletes’ performance


The weight room offers a wide variety of work out equipment for students to use before or after school. It is a good resource for students on sports teams to get stronger and prepare for their season. Photo by Lukas Gates.

By Elyse Lowet

Sweat drips down wrestler John Luke Iglesias’ face as he finishes his last power clean repetition. His focus intensifies and determination builds as he hoists the barbell into the air and over his shoulders. He lowers the bar, then the weights slam against the ground and Iglesias rests his muscles, preparing to do the exercise again.

Weightlifting has increasingly become a large contributor to athletes’ success as it allows them to strengthen the specific muscle groups they use when competing. While athletes from different sports focus on different muscles, wrestlers mostly target their back, legs and chest, Iglesias said.

“[Lifting] helps me overpower my opponents even if my technique doesn’t quite match up with them,” Iglesias said.

Some sports, like track and field, require frequent weightlifting because strength plays such an important role in explosiveness off the starting block. Sprinters spend nearly equal amounts of time lifting weights and running during the season, runner Theo Andonyadis said.

“A big part of sprinting is having strong quick-twitch muscles to move your body as quickly as possible down the track,” Andonyadis said. “What we do in the weight room is strengthen certain muscles in our legs, core and upper body which helps us get faster times in events.”

To maximize their practice time during the season, the football team lifts during the months leading up to their season. The team works out three days a week from late January to August, quarterback Elliot Kelly said.

“It helps because when the freshmen come in, a lot of them don’t know how to lift properly or work out,” Kelly said. “So having the seniors there helps them to learn lifts as well as leading by example by getting the work in and putting in effort.”

The weight room also allows athletes to recover from an injury by strengthening the weakened area.

Girls basketball and lacrosse player Morgan Freund has tendinitis in both knees and had to sit out for nearly the entire basketball season. While her team practiced, Freund worked out in the weight room four to five times a week in order to strengthen her quads and calves in hopes to play lacrosse in the spring, she said.

“It’s helped me be able to stay in shape even though I’m not allowed to play,” Freund said. “It’s also really helping me strengthen the muscles I need to in order to heal my knee.”

In addition to the physical aspect, workouts offer a way for players to get to know each other before they play together.

“The weight room is important because it allows the team to get together before the season even starts to start building chemistry and camaraderie as well as increasing our athletic ability in order to better compete against other teams,” Kelly said.