Over the past three years, fitness has become a huge part of my life. Staying active has kept me healthy, athletic and energetic through highschool. In grade 10, I was introduced to the cross training athletic program at Brentwood. It was not like your typical sport, where there were teams and competitions, but rather a way to maintain a healthy lifestyle through cardio, weight lifting and bodyweight exercises. Through the hard work and persistence of our incredible coaches, Ms Hall, Mr Langer, Ms Mullin and Mr Robinson, the strength and conditioning room has become an accepting, comfortable place for students to get their, as Mr Langer would say, “#gains on”.
To apply covid mitigation strategies, the coaches break the workouts into two stations to ensure enough room for social distancing. We are also required to mask up if we are in the indoor facilities, as well as sanitize our stations before and after workouts.
Each session begins with a five minute individual warm up, consisting of bicycling, erging, skipping rope, or running on a treadmill. This is then followed by a dynamic warm up led by Mr Langer to get our muscles warm and open. After this is complete, the real exercises begin.
The workouts are different every day, but usually revolve around cardio mixed with weight training. For example, one of our workouts last week began with a 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 workout: 5 burpees, 5 Russian twists, 5 mountain climbers, and 5 pushups with sprinting across the field and back between each set. Then, the reps would drop by 1. After that was completed, we headed into the strength and conditioning room for weighted squats led by Mr Robinson and Ms Hall. They gave a demonstration to ensure we had proper form, then we were free to add as much weight as we were comfortable with.
On special occasions, we have a workout off campus Brentwood, like when we headed to the fish hatchery to run up and down the stairs 10 times. When I asked Ms Hall about the best experiences for the coaches she said “The most rewarding part of coaching is seeing the athletes develop confidence in their ability. Watching a student go from struggling, to executing some of the foundational movements, to progressing confidentially and navigating an entire circuit autonomously is extremely rewarding. Our goal is to create athletes who can train safely and confidently for life. I am always so proud to see the progress for each student at the end of a term.”
“The coaches work hard to keep an eye on us to make sure we do not injure ourselves during the workout, and also to push us to work harder and harder during each session” observed Josh L, Whittall ‘21. “To track our progress, the coaches got us to do a few different workouts at the beginning of the term. One class was as many push ups we could do in a minute, another was how long we could hold a plank until failure, and last was how fast we could run a 2 kilometer route. Throughout the term (near the middle and end of the term) we repeat these exercises to track individual improvements and goals.
I would like to give a huge thank you to all of the coaches for their efforts in keeping us all healthy and fit, and pushing us to try our hardest during each class. It is exciting watching students slowly be able to do more and more as the term progresses, and I can’t wait to see how much we have all grown by the end of the year. Ms Hall stated that “Being part of the cross training program for the past seven years has enabled me to be part of and see so much growth. It has been inspiring working with so many coaches and athletes with the common goal of helping students develop their strength and endurance. Each year the program becomes more and more like a team. We work together and we always work hard.”
Dale F, Whittall ‘21