Monday, August 25, 2014

Review: MTSU Rec Center weightroom

A great facility, but lacking a few vital machines for a sprinter.   But, if you're a body builder and your main goal is to develop pecs and biceps to show off to the girls, well ... it's a good place for that.

Actually, it's a decent weight room, but if you want to do anything for your hip flexors, you have to get creative with the cables and pulleys.   If you want to isolate your glutes without engaging your knees, they don't have the machine to do it.  But they used to!  Why would they eliminate it???

The glute-ham raise is listed as one of the 5 best training exercises for sprinters and runners.   If you want to do glute-ham raises... well, maybe I'm missing something, but I didn't see even one of these at MTSU:

MTSU doesn't have one of these hip flexor machines either, so important for a sprinter:

But ... they have an enormous amount of space for about a DOZEN flat and inclined benches. What an amazing level of redundancy, and really ... a waste of space.  I think they could get by with half that many.   I've never seen more than 2 or 3 of these benches being used simultaneously... and these benches are in addition to the other chest/pec machines they already have.  Very upper body oriented.

Don't get me wrong, I do workout there.  There are a lot of valuable machines and free weights that are really useful.   They even have a station in the corner for Lumberjack squats.  I do their glute machine and calf extension machine along with the leg curls, quad extensions, and my usual Bulgarian split squats and leaps with dumbells.   All valuable for a sprinter. Not to mention the core and upper body stuff.

Unfortunately, MTSU's glute machine doesn't isolate the glute like a real glute hip rotation machine does.   It engages the knee as well as the glute ... which is ok, but sometimes unnecessarily stressful.
Also, maybe it's in a different room but I also didn't see any plyometric boxes for box jumps and step jumps.   I just use one of the many benches near the dumbells, although they aren't designed for this.

I made a suggestion to the Rec Center staff about getting a real hip flexor - glute machine, like they used to have.  This was the reply from Assoc. Director, Ray Wiley:
"...please understand that we have requested feedback from our recreation students and other fitness professionals prior to purchasing any new equipment.   I do not foresee us purchasing this machine at this time. "
I have to wonder how many of these "fitness professionals" are athletes?   What was the thinking involved in eliminating any single machine to strengthen the hip flexors in favor of a DOZEN benches?

Sounds like those "fitness professionals" don't do a lot of sprinting... like people who play football, soccer, baseball, track, and a myriad of other sports.

I also work out at the University of the South in Sewanee - a Division III athletic school.  Sewanee's Fowler Center has all those machines I mentioned that MTSU doesn't have.   Plus they have longer summer hours than MTSU.   I like Sewanee's solid dumbells as opposed to MTSU's plate dumbells.   Plus... the Fowler Center is never crowded and always has lots of parking.  I'll try and plan to do more of my weight workouts in Sewanee.  Great to have a house there.

Another gym I worked out at recently was the Louisville Athletic Club.  Again, this gym had all these items MTSU lacked.  They even had a weight sled w/ turf runway, hanging ab straps, a full set of plyo boxes, and a big set of kettle bells.  Great gym.

I am happy for what MTSU has to offer me as a masters athlete, but their weight room should be getting better, more diverse, not eliminating valuable machines.   MTSU's track is wonderful as well.  This coming season I expect to be training for the National and World Masters Championships, so these facilities are a concern for me.

Overall, the MTSU Rec Center is amazing, but their weight room gets a solid B minus from this professor / sprinter.

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