In This Issue:
INSTALLATION SPOTLIGHT: Hamlin Collegiate High School - Hamlin, TX
SEASON PREMIERE OF DYNAMIC DISCUSSIONS: With special guests joining Joe Kenn
FEATURED ARTICLE: Selectorized Versus Plate-Loaded Weight Resistance Machines
Hamlin Collegiate High School - Hamlin, Texas
Hamlin Collegiate Independent School District serves the community of Hamlin, Texas. It’s a small school district in a small community, but their drive and ambition to develop tomorrow’s leaders is as big as Texas itself.
“One of our goals is to break the cycle of generational poverty that exists, especially in rural Texas,” Hamlin Collegiate High School Superintendent Randy Burks said as he spoke about Hamlin being a P-TECH school.
Pathways in Technology Early College High Schools (P-TECH) are innovative open-enrollment high schools that allow students who are least likely to attend college an opportunity to receive both a high school diploma and a credential and/or associate degree with focus on STEM careers. There are over 200 P-TECH schools in 11 U.S. states.
Through a partnership with West Texas A & M University, Hamlin students can finish high school and continue with their associate degree while staying at Hamlin and retaining the same counselor and support, as well as having opportunity for paid internships.
Randy came out of retirement to move this new model forward. “I just felt called to be here. I was here as the interim superintendent, I met the kids and fell in love with the community, and felt like I could make a difference here.”
Hamlin also has a strong tradition in athletics. “We’ve had a really good football team here for a long time,” Randy said. In 2019 they played in the state championships, and last year they were ranked #1 and were a pre-season favorite to win, missing out on the championships only because of a last-second field goal.
As strong as their athletic program is, they hadn’t been able to keep up with current strength and conditioning trends due to financial issues in their district. No weightlifting equipment had been purchased in over 30 years. That changed this year—and it was thanks in part to a water leak.
Years ago, water damaged the gym floor they used for practice. Since that floor wasn’t used for competition, they decided to bank the dollars that would have been applied to the floor repair and instead earmark it for future infrastructure.
Knowing that strength conditioning was important not just to their students but to the community as a whole, they focused on the concept of a new wellness center that could be available to everyone. Their booster club did fundraising for the wellness center that added to the infrastructure funds so that construction could begin. They tore up the old floor, poured concrete, installed lighting, ventilation and fans, and laid artificial turf.
Working through their contractor, Hamlin reached out to Dynamic Fitness & Strength to build their custom racks. As the project moved forward, however, Hamlin had increasing difficulties with the contractor, who they eventually lost contact with. Finally, Randy contacted Dynamic directly. Texas Territory Manager Kevin “Yox” Yoxall was quick to respond. “Within just a day or two Coach Yox was on the phone and then was here with some schematics and renderings and we just went to work,” Randy said.
Hamlin opted for five double half racks, three half racks with functional trainer attachments, and two half racks with lat low row attachments. In early summer, Hamlin approved the 3D room renders. ““My brother-in-law is a long-time strength coach in the Metroplex and Yox sent him some pictures. He was pretty floored.”
Hamlin faced some challenges with losing their contractor, but the Dynamic team was able to help out in several areas. “You guys were able to give us some advice on the floor that was previously installed by another vendor. It’s just good to have somebody you can call to say, ‘Yup, we’ve seen this,’ or, ‘Don’t do that,’ or, ‘Let me have somebody call you because they’re the expert.’ All that helps.”
The Dynamic Equipment was installed in August. “You guys delivered exactly when you said you were going to,” Randy said. “You had a crew here to install, coordinated that with me and our maintenance staff and then just knocked it out of the park.”
As the project progresses, the Hamlin Collegiate High School wellness center will include a computer lab with broadband Internet for community members to use, and cardiovascular equipment donated to them by a physical therapy office that had recently closed.
“We think it’s going to be nice, especially for a small community, to have someplace to go,” Randy said. He added that, in a small town where access to fitness centers can be even more challenging, he hopes the community wellness center will be a way to tackle community health issues. “We want it to be a value-added for our community as well.”
As for the Dynamic Fitness & Strength equipment installed, the students are already using it every day.
As Hamlin moves into its new year, they hope to achieve similar results to what Roscoe Collegiate High School, another Texas P-TECH partner school, is seeing. Roscoe had its first round of students graduate with secondary degrees at the age of 20, with an average debt of zero dollars and grade point averages higher than the average West Texas A & M graduate. That’s a win-win for the students and the community..
A NEW SEASON OF DYNAMIC DISCUSSIONS
Joe Kenn Welcomes Travis Mash and Craig Sowers to Discuss Olympic Lifting
Beginning October 6, Joe Kenn will be hosting a new season of monthly Dynamic Discussions. These Zoom events welcome those who register to join Joe on Zoom as he talks about everything related to strength conditioning and strength coaches. He often welcomes guests to join him and encourages people to submit questions for him to address during the show.
During the season premiere on Wednesday, October 6, Joe welcomes champion powerlifter and world-class weightlifting coach Travis Mash and veteran strength coach and Dynamic Fitness & Strength V.P. of Sales Craig Sowers to talk about Olympic lifting.
Travis currently coaches the men’s and women’s weightlifting teams at Lenoir Rhyne University. Through his Mash Elite Performance website, he hosts the popular podcast “The Barbell Life,” is author of many ebooks about the art and science of lifting, and offers online coaching & training.
Craig Sowers has an extensive background of over twenty years coaching at elite programs such as UCLA, NC State and Velocity Sports Performance, having focused his programs on Olympic lifting. His current role as vice president of sales at Dynamic Fitness & Strength also gives him a broad vantage point on high school, collegiate and pro weight rooms and programs.
Combining their experiences and perspective with Coach Kenn’s massive experience at the pro, college and high school level will make for a truly powerhouse trifecta of knowledge and experience that you won’t want to miss!
Selectorized Versus Plate-Loaded Weight Resistance Machines
Practical Considerations to Keep in Mind
By Coach Kevin "Yox" Yoxall, Texas Territory Manager
When selecting various pieces of weight-resistive equipment for a weight room, the first area I always concentrate on is centered on all free weight training equipment – squat racks, barbells, plates, dumbbells, belts, straps, weight storage, etc. Next on my list are weight resistance machines, both selectorized (fixed weight stack) and plate-loaded versions.
In this article, I will be primarily exploring the practical reasons I use for choosing weight-resistance machines. In my opinion there are some key factors when opting for either selectorized (pin-selected) or plate-loaded versions of equipment to install in your room.
If your budget is limited, that alone may become the biggest reason to opt for plate-loaded over pin-selected. There is a significant increase in price to pin-selected versions compared to otherwise compatible plate-loaded machines. Choosing plate-loaded will save significant budget amounts that can go toward additional equipment. Plate-loaded machines can also so be a great choice if there are already plenty of additional or existing plate weight (especially 45lb, 35lb, and 25lb plates, with storage) available. Keep in mind too, that many plate-loaded machines have weight storage pegs on each side of the frame.
The available amount of room and spacing for all the weight resistance equipment is another factor. Generally, the footprint needed for a pin-selected machine is not as large as a plate-loaded machine. This does depend on the type of machine as well. Weight resistance machines, whether they are pin-selected or plate-loaded, that have a lower body emphasis tend to have a larger footprint as opposed to the upper body machines. If the weight room setup will have the weight resistance machines in some sort of dedicated strength-circuit-type training area, then pin-select machines would be a strong consideration from a footprint and flow standpoint.
CONVENIENCE AND CONTROL
Obviously, one feature of pin-selected equipment is how easy it is to select different weights. Changing a weight from one person to the next user can be done quickly, efficiently and in most cases, accurately. Likewise, changing weight on a plate-loaded machine, especially a significant amount of weight between 2 or several people can take some time. At times, it can take significant time to unload a pair of 45s and then reload with a pair of 25s. There is also the issue of two or more lifters at the same machine where sometimes a group won’t bother taking 15 to 20 seconds out of their day to change to appropriate weights. Then you have a situation of the training session that is not safe or effective.
Selectorized machines will offer the user the ease of adjusting weight quickly and accurately. A coach or personal trainer can quickly notice if someone is lifting above or below an appropriate weight.
For small changes in weight increments both pin-selected and plate-loaded do have solutions. For pin-selected machines additional 2.5lb, 5lb and 10lb add-on magnetic plates can be used. For plate loaded machines simply adding 2.5lb, 5lb and 10lb plates to the larger plates can be done.
Generally, from the standpoint of training lower and upper body limbs either bilaterally or unilaterally, most plate-loaded machines will meet those needs more effectively. Many plate-loaded machines are designed for both bilateral and unilateral resistance training. This can be extremely important in an injury or rehab situation where a specific amount of weight or range of motion is required for adequate or appropriate training stimulus. Keep in mind though, there are some pin-selected machines that are also are designed for bilateral or unilateral resistance training
SUPPORTING YOUR OWN PHILOSOPHY
There are certainly other factors to why and how one would choose selectorized or plate-loaded equipment to their weight training program that focus more on the science of strength training. I hope, however, that this article will help you factor in the practical considerations. More important is realizing that, likely, there is no one right answer to a situation other than what is best for your program, your room, and your students, athletes, and clients.