Wayzata High School debuts their new and improved weight room design, which now offers more open space, and updated equipment. This welcoming, and spacious floor plan draws athletes in by offering more personalized training sessions with Coach Ryan Johnson. With this new layout, the equipment is now strategically placed around the room, freeing space and providing athletes with more room to train.
“I’m Ryan Johnson and we are at Wayzata High School. I’ve been here for 15 years as the strength and conditioning coach. We wanted a large door to get equipment in and out. We also wanted to get a lot of kids in and out, but another big factor of it was we wanted an environment that was inviting and not the old small dark rooms with the small doors trying to manipulate equipment through and a lot of times people felt apprehensive about approaching the weight room and looking through the little window. Now what we’ll see is people coming down the hallway. See the open and the big door, well lit room and invites them in. It draws them in.”
Why did you choose this design?
“We wanted to open the facility up. Our other weight room we had a raised platforms. We had a lot of 90 degree turns with equipment narrow spaces. Looking at accessibility issues like that. We wanted a much more open and flowing floor plan. So that’s why we decided and came up with the idea of putting the largest equipment to the edges and putting the platforms, basically built them into the ground, and having our open space down the middle for all kinds of training.
I mean this, the biggest change in what I’m doing as a coach is probably because of this turf down the middle. It’s very common to walk in here and see than one group of kids, say maybe they’re going to be doing goblet squats here. The next group is doing front squats, inside the racks will be back squatting. So it allows for that differentiate so I can meet the needs of the athletes better as opposed to just training a hundred kids at once and we’re all squatting today.”
What is the benefit of the racks and platforms being aligned?
“By staging the racks closest to the wall one that allows for our sight lines. Our view isn’t disrupted by anything. I wanted the large pieces of equipment closes to the walls, again, to open it up. I wanted the platform to set back from the racks, and not necessarily joined so that now I have two separate work stations here. It just made the room more user friendly, and the biggest thing with high school is the ability to train a lot of kids at once. Because that’s what we need to do. We need to have good sight lines we need to supervise them we need to coach them. And being able to see everybody at one time is a big component of coaching especially with the high school kids.
A little feature of the logos with the platforms is they are a certain size based on where we want the kids foot placements. We’ll tell them on pull stance we’re going to narrow our feet, and now we’re going to be hugging the “w” and on a push or press stance, we want to be a little bit wider. Now we’re hugging the Trojan face. So we use those as coaching cues built within the flooring.”
How how this design improve participation?
“This design did allow us to reach other coaches and other sports. now instead of us just doing barbell lunges now they can take their athletes and do power lunges with bands and have the athletes marching up and down on the turf. To them, when they can see that in their mind they can see that applying to the track. Where as some of the things we did just on the platform or just in the stations, they couldn’t quite see that in their minds who that was going to help out the athlete. So when you can do some things that relates it and out it in the field of the court for the coach I think that helps out a lot.”
What is the functionality of this room design?
“I have 12 racks in the room and I have 7 stations or platform on each side. I wanted to break the room up because after school or even after some of my classes I can have anywhere up to 4 weight rooms in one weight room right now. We can have this area right here dedicated to one sport after school. This area dedicated just open lifting. A track team here. A basketball team here. In classes I can put level one here and level two here. this floor plan and breaking the room up like this allows me to be able to have mini rooms within the room. so from a management and coaching stand point I know what to expect from this group. I know what to expect from this group.
I left the middle two racks open because i didn’t want to fill it up right away. one was cost, we didn’t have a huge budget right away. But the other was I want to train in this room for a couple years before I buy too much stuff. We put equipment in right away, we knew we were going to need bumpers. We knew that we needed weights and bars but I also kinda wanted to wait and see what else is out there. As I’m going out to clinics and other schools and learning, I didn’t want to fill it up with everything that we had done before because I wanted to leave room for expansion and growth in terms of training, as well.”
To train with the same high-quality equipment featured in the video, check out the following!
Johnson is a graduate of Normandale Community College, Augsburg College and the University of Minnesota, playing football at both NCC and Augsburg. “RJ” teaches physical education at Wayzata High School and is the Strength and Conditioning Coordinator for Wayzata Public Schools, a position he began in 2000. Wayzata Athletics have captured 52 team state titles in histenure; Johnson works directly with the three-time state champion football program as Director of Operations and Player Development. He is a member of the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist as well as a Registered Strength and Conditioning Specialist – both certifications with Distinction and is the Minnesota NSCA State Director. NSCA awards include Minnesota High School Strength and Conditioning Professional of the Year 2010; State Director of the Year 2013; Strength of America Award 2015; and 2017 National High School Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year. In 2017 he became a founding Board Member of the National High School Strength Coaches Association (NHSSCA); and serves as a Regional Director for the organization. A former volunteer firefighter, he also received an Award of Merit from the Minnesota Department of Health and Safety for participation in a lifesaving CPR/AED effort to revive a player that suffered sudden cardiac arrest while at practice. Johnson is a frequent clinician, speaker, author and his Wayzata Trojan Power program has been visited by over 50 other high school and small college programs. He also volunteered his time in the Rockford School District where he and his wife and four children reside by serving as the Rockford Area Youth Athletic Association President and Youth Football Director.