Gym sign-ups create challenges for athletes

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Hill’s weight room is subject to COVID-19 regulations. Photo by Sarah Rogalski ’21.

With recent COVID-19 restrictions, many obstacles, such as a scheduling frenzy, have surfaced this year around the weight room. Kiki Lange ’21, a varsity track athlete, said that some students are signing up for the 6:30 a.m. time slots but taking their names off at 2 a.m. the next day. According to Lange, such behavior prevents sleeping students from signing up for that first slot, creating frustration among students who could not find a time to go at all. 

Strength and conditioning coach Steve Notebaert said, “It is different in the sense that we have to be a lot more aware of the max capacity, social distancing, and the masks. It’s definitely a lot more challenging.”

In previous years, there would be about 30 students moving freely about the weight room, coming in and out, and sharing equipment. Now, there is a max capacity of 16 students who must train alone and keep their distance from others.

Some students have suggested that the weight room should consist of free weights, machines and lifting racks only. That would mean moving the treadmills, ellipticals, and other cardio equipment into the field house. Doing so would space out the equipment and allow more people to train at once.

 Wearing a mask in the weight room is mandatory for all students and faculty who wish to train in there and use the equipment provided. There is also a 45-minute time limit that each student must sign up for if they desire to work out that day.

 Regarding the 45-minute time slots, varsity football and lacrosse player Cooper Sugden ’21 said, “For me, as an athlete – and I know for a lot of other aspiring college athletes – it’s not fair.” 

 He notes that it is hard to get a good workout in such a short time and that it feels “rushed.” Sugden also said that the faculty should not expect to produce better student-athletes by limiting their gym usage. 

 Lange said, “I would prefer to go back to one-hour slots.” The extra 15 minutes would allow those who are working out to get in a good warmup and have time to complete a full lift.

 Faculty and student leaders have put together an Excel sign-up sheet to try to enforce the new rules. Brian Artim, the athletics equipment room manager, said signing up for early times has been hard because everyone is fighting to find an open time slot before school.

 “People are deleting other people’s names” off the list and taking their time slot, Artim said, adding that this is a major problem that needs to be addressed.

Possible solutions to these issues, as suggested by Lange, could be creating a system in which students can only sign up for a morning slot a certain amount of times a week and sending the list out to everyone at the same time each day. This way the same people are not reserving the same time slots every day, and those who wish to sign up can be prepared for when they receive the list.