Weight Room Woes

An Impossible Pump

In our four years at Magnet, absolutely nothing has changed about the weight room. Whether or not you are a student athlete, it’s likely you have only stepped in the weight room a few times. Since P.E. uses it for one unit of the entire year, every Magnet student is required to at least acquaint themselves with the school’s “house of gains;”  however, the school’s gym is not the place you want to be doing a workout. It’s a place plagued with ancient equipment and small size, where few can lift at a time and most never have a chance to lift at all. As seniors, we’ve seen great ups and downs of Magnet athletics, and unsurprisingly, sports success is often correlated with weight room time. Additionally, there is a correlation between weight training and injury, showing that regular training can lead to decreased chance of injury. Maybe the recent chain of injuries does have a solution. We took it upon ourselves to call for a change of the Magnet weight room, hoping that one day student athletes can work as hard in the gym as they do on the field. That said, our list of grievances is below. 

Quality Issues (weights falling apart, old equipment that needs to be replaced):

The quality of our weight room is very poor to say the least. Most machines are rusty and need an entire bath in WD-40. The room smells like pennies and the floor’s padding is peeling up in spots as well. You’re more likely to get tetanus than a pump if you grab some of the rusty barbells. Machines like the lat-pulldown are broken and still use a plate system rather than a peg-weight system. If you like to grip cold steel, you’ll enjoy the machines that have all their grip peeled off. In a rack by the door there are weights that range from 2-10 pounds; however, all of them are losing their covering which creates a mess all over the floor and on your hands if you touch them. There isn’t even a fan in the room. The cushions on the benches are all ripped up and cracked. The list continues, and as time goes, the weight room is only going to get more outdated. 

Quantity Issues (lack of racks and plates)

The Magnet weight room is short on supplies as well. The room boasts 2 racks with pull up bars (one of which snapped Josh Moore’s arm while doing a muscle-up). We have 3 bikes, only 2 of which really work. The biggest problem in the weight room is definitely the lack of plates. There are not enough, 5’s, 10’s, 25’s, and 35 pound plates. There are actually only 3 or 4 35 pound plates and they are incredibly elusive. It’s really ironic that Magnet has the most 45 pound plates even though most students will never use them. If the school didn’t want to replace all of the plates then they would replace all of the machines. Since the machines and the free weights both use the same plates it is impossible to have enough. There is only one set of dumbbells for each weight, this makes for a lot of weight time between exercises. Therefore, more wait times equals less working out which means less overall strength. 

Size (too small)

The smallest sports team at this school is probably the only sports team that can fully fit in the weight room and this is around 4 to 10 people. The average sports team has around 20 people, but for the ones that have JV teams, rosters can combine to up to 40 for one sport. So, for preseason conditioning, it is impossible for everyone to use the equipment at one time. This issue is further worsened by the pandemic, as we are now required (for safety reasons) to have less people and maintain social distance while wearing masks. 

Misc. Grievances

Throughout the room there are several machines that simply serve no purpose, are extremely dangerous, or do not function properly. The first example of this is the lat pulldown/seated row machine (pictured here). This machine was broken three years ago by a freshman (coincidentally from the class of 2022 who will not be named) and has yet to be fixed or replaced. Another example would be the arm extension/retraction machine. This machine serves almost no purpose and it’s rarely ever used. Also the amount of space it takes up is ridiculous. Does anyone know the technical name for this machine? Because we sure don’t and have never seen anyone touch it. This is definitely used to improve running, but there could not be a worse design. It screams “use me if you want to get hurt.” Honestly, neither of us have even seen this machine before and we have been to plenty of gyms. It should also be noted that there is a random paper towel dispenser that I don’t think has been replaced since 2018, and there is a shelf of just miscellaneous items. 

Student Opinions

“It is the biggest joke of a weight room in all of Charleston County. It is smaller than my room and the treadmill is older than my grandmother” – Anonymous  

“It’s small and sucks” – James T.

“The bar bruised my neck and there are no speakers” – Janis J.

“The only good part of the weight room is the lemon peppa steppas” – Charlie C. (see image below)

“I miss getting to work out at the JICHS weight room, I actually felt like I was getting stronger there” – Leonard S.

Our Suggestions

There is a simple fix to both the quality and quantity issues the weight room currently present: new equipment. We do not need the fanciest racks or most expensive machines in the world, but anything would be better than the 30 year old equipment in there right now. Another idea is just getting rid of some of the machines that can only be used for one exercise and investing in more free weights. It is more useful to have weights that can be used for multiple exercises in larger quantities, so more people can use them, than to fill the room with useless machines. This would also help in opening space in the room itself.

We have the ability to double the size of the weight room by knocking down the wall between it and the classroom. The classroom is barely used by the school and is used even less for sports teams. It would be so much more beneficial to use the space as a weight room for athletes of all teams. 

Another thing that we frequently heard when surveying student’s opinions on the weight room was the desire for music. There is nothing people like more than listening to some tunes while getting a pump. A speaker system doesn’t seem unreasonable either; the booster club seems more than willing to provide students with the necessary equipment for success.