Anthony Ovitt hoisted a 60-pound weight over his head with one arm. Wearing his football jersey, he didn’t want to make his arms too sore before his game on the turf later that day.
“Last year I had no physical strength,” said the eighth grader, “so I’m going to come here and get some reps in at the weight room, so I’ll get stronger and I’ll be able to hold my ground.”
Anthony is one of many students taking advantage of the new weight room built this summer at the Queensbury Middle School. The weight room is open from 7 to 8 a.m. Monday through Thursday and again after school on the same days.
Twenty students can work out during a session in the compact space adjacent to the sixth grade gymnasium. The program is for student-athletes as well as students who find themselves with free time after school.
The weight room boasts hydraulic machines and benches that can fold up against the walls when more floor space is needed. The versatile landmine attachments have a 360-degree pivot that can be used for overhead presses, rows and other strength workouts.
An overhead garage door opens up to the sixth grade gymnasium, which is set up for plyometric box jumps and agility drills.
Strength training during middle school can prevent injuries in high school, said coach Chris Chambers.
“They’ve got a solid foundation by the time they get to high school,” Chambers said. “Plus, there’s a ton of research that shows that physical activity before school actually improves grades and performance in the classroom.”
That’s one of the reasons seventh grader Brynn Cintora works out before school on Mondays and Wednesdays.
“It’s healthy for my body,” the volleyball player said, “and it kind of wakes me up in the morning.”
Administrators at Queensbury Union Free School District take a great interest in the overall mental and physical wellness of the school community, said coach John Martin, who trains student-athletes at the weight room at Queensbury High School.
“Both of our facilities at Queensbury are state-of-the-art,” Martin said, “and will allow us to offer and impact our students in a multitude of ways in hopes to educate them on the importance of their physical health as well as carry on these traits beyond the doors of Queensbury school.”