Technology in the Weight Room: Friend or Foe?

Ask someone what images come to mind when they think of a High School Weight Room, and words like “Bunker”, “Dungeon”, or even “House of Pain” may not be uncommon.

However, as the great song-writer Bob Dylan so eloquently put it, “the times they are a-changin”.

Schools are recognizing the importance that Primary and Secondary Education can play in building healthy habits, developing fitness education, and placing kids on a path to lifelong well-being.

Consequently, money is going into new fitness centers and weight rooms across the country.

Simultaneously, forward thinking coaches are beginning to leverage technology to streamline and enhance how they train their students and athletes.

Strength and Conditioning in the Digital Age

One such visionary is Cody Sexton, head strength coach at Dakota Valley High School in South Dakota. Cody is tasked with leading the physical development of all 10 athletic teams throughout the year, in a school of just 350 students. With most kids participating in multiple sports, scheduling and programming needed to be well planned and organized.

Initially, Coach Sexton turned to Excel to power his program. It provided a progressional method for delivering personalized workouts for each and every athlete, each and every week. As any experience strength coach knows, though, Excel has its drawbacks.

I had 100’s of tabs in excel and I would come in each weekend to print the updated workouts so kids had their personalized program.”

After years of slogging through max updates and data entry, Cody began hearing about new strength and conditioning software products that might provide greater efficiency and give him his weekends back.

Dakota Valley TabletsWith Cody making the shift to a digital approach, his administration threw in their support, purchasing iPads and iPad stands for the weight room. Using PLT4M’s Rack View, they could now load up to 5 athletes on each device. Athletes access their personalized workouts directly through the app and input their results in real time. While Cody’s process of updating kids numbers each week hasn’t changed, it is now automated through PLT4M, streamlining the process and most importantly, giving Cody his weekends back.

Buy-in was instant. Kids were excited about getting “Tech” in the weight room, and loved the ability to access their training on PLT4M Reporttheir phone if they weren’t training in the building that day.

Equally important, producing reports and providing insights to each coach has been radically simplified. Instead of recording results on a clipboard, transferring them to excel, and applying his formulas, Cody now just goes into his PLT4M account, selects the group and the date range, and the data is right there for him. With a quick download, Cody can distribute the attendance and progress reports to each team’s coaching staff. And the results speak for themselves.

For Cody, it has been a game changer. “I’ll never go back to the old way.”