Weightlifting For Everyone – Cultivating Culture Through PE
‘The weight room is open to anyone, but it is mostly just the football team that uses it.’
The high school weight room has historically been a place for the boys of fall. The same sentiments were true at Emmett High School when they hired Rich Hargitt as the new Head Football Coach and Physical Education Teacher.
Even the weightlifting class, ‘open to anyone,’ was dominated by the football team.
Emmett High School tasked Coach Hargitt with making a change to the weightlifting class, in the hopes of growing the class in the future. It was a group consensus amongst the administrators, other sport coaches, and Hargitt that the weightlifting class could no longer be a boys club.
The weight room needed to become a place where female students and other sports teams were just as active in their strength and conditioning as the football team. For this to happen, Emmett needed to create a welcoming weight room environment for everyone.
Getting the girls to sign up for the class was not going to be as simple as the statement of, “The weight room is open to anyone.”
For Emmett’s weightlifting class to have more than just the football team present, others were going to have to break the ‘football-only’ tradition.
Hargitt hit the hallways and started talking to some of the girls he knew wanted to take their training to the next level.
Hargitt told them, “Your sports coaches and I want you in this class. You will not be treated differently than the boys. You will be pushed, and you will see results. This will be your class.”
A group of girls that played sports like volleyball, softball, and basketball were willing to take the chance. With the help of Guidance Counselors, the girls put the weightlifting elective into their schedule.
Resources For Success
Now that female athletes had signed up for the class, it was no longer a few football kids looking to workout. Hargitt needed to give the new diverse group a reason to stay. Hargitt set out to create a safe atmosphere, provide guidance, and pair it all with the very best resources.
For resources, Hargitt turned to the digital training program, PLT4M. Each student could open PLT4M to see personalized weights and a variety of different instructional content.
“Everyone got a tough workout when they tapped into their PLT4M app. It did not matter if they were a senior football player or a sophomore softball player, using technology, we could make sure workouts were appropriate and safe for each individual.”
The new and improved weightlifting class had embraced the initial task it set out to accomplish. The weight room culture was changing. While it was just the one class to start, Hargitt proved that he had the right infrastructure and technology to expand enrollment and future weightlifting offerings.
The school was buzzing about the weightlifting class. Both female and male athletes of all different sports wanted to be a part of the class. Even students not on sports teams wanted to get in on the action in the hopes of pursuing a more active lifestyle.
Students looked at the class as an opportunity to get active, work hard, and have fun while doing it. The ‘football-only’ mindset of the class had melted away and the student body was excited to get into the weightlifting class.
With all this interest from students, more sections of the weightlifting class were added by the administration. Now Hargitt had a full slate of weightlifting classes that were representative of the school’s population.
What had once been considered a second-tier class for the football team, had become a respected class elective for everyone.
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Open To Anyone, Now A Place for Everyone
Emmett, the small rural school, boasts impressive results past the expanded weightlifting class offerings. For Hargitt, success is the community formed around the weight room.
As each class period ends, all the students from different teams, grades, and social groups come together for a quick stretch. The students talk about their different workouts, sports, and lives.
“Our main goal as educators is to promote healthy and happy lifestyles. This class has provided opportunities for each and every student to embrace the various aspects of that life.”
Just like when Hargitt first took the job, the weight room is still open to anyone. However, for the first time and the foreseeable future, the weight room is actually a place for everyone.