When it comes to optimization of your team workouts, organization is key. In this blog, I will cover a few areas you can address in effective and efficient workouts to accommodate large numbers of athletes in your weight room.
Facility Setup and Layout
The first component is to look at the setup of your facility to ensure that the weight room is safely and efficiency laid out. How organized is your weight room? In order to move as many athletes through their workouts as efficiently as possible, you’ll need to first optimize your weight room’s layout.
It is helpful to have a clear line of sight throughout your weight room, you should be able to monitor and direct all athletes in your weight room no matter where you are positioned during the workout. This means keeping squat racks and large rigs close to the perimeter walls. By putting the larger pieces of equipment closest to the walls, you ensure your ability to supervise your athletes won’t be blocked.
Also, think about grouping equipment that is commonly used together. This will allow for a better flow through the weight room during workouts and helps prevent traffic jams if athletes need to use multiple pieces of equipment for back-to-back exercises.
Once you have completed the weight room layout you will be able to look at how you have organized your lifting program. Start by breaking up your thought process and looking at a few key components.
- How much time do I have with the team?
- How many athletes will partake?
- What is the movement primary focus for the day, upper body, lower body, power, or a combination of several of these?
The challenge is to constantly prioritize and yet be able to accomplish all of your goals in the timeframe required.
Facility Organization and Workout Priorities
We will look at how facility organization and workout priorities can come together and in a timely manner accomplish your goals. As mentioned above, pairing exercises that require different types of equipment can be a great way to cut down on congestion during high-traffic workouts. The video below shows one of a number of ways to effectively deal with training a large group with limited time.
In our example you will see that the primary focus of the day will be the lower body, so we have emphasis on the squat. This will be person one. The workout is set to have multiple sets with increasing weight and a decreasing rep count. Person two will be the individual who has just completed the squatting movement, and they will be doing a vertical jump for an assigned number of reps. Person three will be doing hands free pushups, this motion should not negatively affect the outcome of the squat so it is a bit of a rest and is also preparing the person for a movement that would come later in the workout. Person four will be the rest and spotter.
With this set up, each person will be able to accomplish all movements within feet of the rack reducing the timeframe between the next movements, and yet still giving each person adequate overall rest to accomplish each particular and different body part movement effectively.
In the end, each of us has a different and unique challenge as we work toward what we deem as success in the weight room. Although the path we take can be different, my hope is that this may assist you in time efficiency and yet also have the overall effectiveness that you desire in your weight room program.
The 2009 Strength and Conditioning Professional of the Year, Jeff is in his 16th year at Winona State University as Strength and Conditioning/ Director of Fitness. He is responsible for 10 Division II teams. Previously he was the head strength and conditioning coach for Olympic sports at Iowa State University, an assistant at the University of Memphis, and an assistant at the US Olympic training center in Colorado. Reinardy was part of two men’s basketball national championships in three appearances, numerous conference championships, and several individual national champions at both the Division I and II levels. He also holds club coach and sports performance certifications through USA Weightlifting, and is the former ADFPA American Squat record holder in the 148 weight class and four Minnesota state ADFPA championships.