T Nation

Free Weights Are EVIL!!


I needed an attention grapping title, so I hope it worked. I am a strength and conditioning coach of high school in NJ. My superiors who do not know anything about training, maybe what they learned 2-30 years ago, want to remove my power racks and platforms in order to put in more user friendly treadmills and cardio equipment. I'm in the middle of preparing my last stand to save my weightroom and my sanity. Any help in this matter would be great.



Give them each a copy of Science and Practice of Strength Training, point out that every successful sports program in the country, regardless of level, includes weight training, point out some of the 100's of studies showing free weights are better at improving body comp, and point out a bunch of studies (search for Faugenbaum(sp?), Avery, Kraemer, among others) showing how weight training is safe for kids, and last but not least, make disparaging comments regarding their mother's lineage.

If they already have the weights, wanting to get rid of them is rediculous.



Sorry, you are probably screwed. At best try to meet some where in the middle and one or two.
Possibly go around to all your district schools and see what they have. If you tell your boss that you will now be the only school without ... then maybe they will catch on.
To be honest, many more people will use the new equipment, that's just how it is.
If you lose everything, try sandbags and dumbbells instead of barbells, the kids might like the challange.


Not that I don't believe you, just trying to make a point for you. It's tough to believe that a school (public?) would want to spend time and money to GET RID OF weights and then spend more time and money to get treadmills and cardio equipment. Especially when "treadmill work" and cardio can be done outside with little to no equipment.

Also, I found the idea of "user friendly" cardio equipment funny. Do barbells and power racks even come with instruction books? I can't imagine them being more than a single sheet of paper in even a single language for explanations, let alone the books, in multiple languages, that come with treadmills.

To be clear, are the superiors you're talking about, are they school administrators like sports and athletic directors or are we talking school board here? If it's the athletic directors, go to the board, if it's the board, only the students/parents/community can help. Good luck.


My school did that this year 4.6million dollars on a new athletic facility. they quadrupled the number of treadmills, and doubled the number of machines, and halved the power racks (we have 1). Personaly I'm peeved but hell it's only me the two guys I help train, the football team, and 1/2 the basketball team. But like all things the machines have there uses (note this is not being sarcastic), for example they provied me and my friends great enjoyment, beacuse they have the funniest warning lables, showing a poor stick figure killing himself with the machine.


If you can't convince them to not make a change, ask them if you can compromise. Keep one rack, one platform, etc. Make enought room for some of the new equipment, and keep some of the old.

Showing them the book recommended is a good idea as well.

If nothing else, you have the makings of a badass home gym. :slight_smile:

Good luck



My idea would be to sell off the old equipment, get whatever $ I can, and upgrade. If I sell 20 pieces of machines, maybe I can buy 5-8 new/used cable pieces or something else to appease their limited knowledge. I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

PS.-they think my tires, sandbags, wheel barrow, farmer's walk gear, and hurdles are cluttering the room.



If all else fails, and they do get rid of them, you might as well "agree" with them and offer to take those 'old pieces of junk' off their hands and keep them for yourself.

If they don't have any clue about the value of the equipment, you might get a great deal on them.


Tell them those are not equipment but modern art.

A healthy mind in a healthy body and all that.

When they catch you working out with the art, tell them it's interactive art. It's a "happening".

Defeat the bastards are their own game.


All good points all but have your superiors taken a survey & asked the actual users of the equipment if they want them removed? Gonna be some pissed off lifters if they come in and find a shiny new treadmill has replaced their power rack and weights.

Meet in the middle on this and try to partition the room, thus saving at least some equipment.

As a last stand just chain yourself to a power rack... kidding, sort of... buy it at a deep discount or offer to ditch it as "scrap" and keep it in your own gym @ home.


I don't know what sport you generally take care of, but if you train the football team, how can they take your power racks? No good football team doesn't do squats and deadlifts. I graduated from Wayne Hills within the last decade, and the very well known coach there (who's son plays for Miami) has his players doing squats and deadlifts non stop. Talk about scientific proof? 10 years straight in the state playoffs, and one championship. Tell you're higher ups that this is a terrible idea...

You could chain yourelf to the power rack, as environmentalists do with trees....


My suggestion, try to contact Joe DeFranco (hey, it's worth a shot). He's from N.J. too, and may be able to talk some sense. If not, at least mention him, and the results he produces locally.

If that doens't fly, I suggest offering them the American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement on the issue of children and strength training. It may be more convincing than any of the articles or snippets of info you can present from strength coaches, no matter how credible they are. The average school board member may lend more weight (no pun intended) to the AAP:


"...Aerobic conditioning should be coupled with resistance training if general health benefits are the goal."

Coupled with being the operative words. Tossing the free weights to be exclusively cardio is counterproductive, at best.

Good luck. Let us know how it turns out.


hey if you're in jersey and getting rid of that stuff i may be able to take it off your hands and get you some $$$ for the racks. pm me
P.S. i hope your other coaches wise up for your and your athlete's sake


Funny you say that. I'm the strength coach for a very successful northern NJ team in Morris County. We have a new coach this year and we're struggling. Our previous coach who left would have none of what's going on now. Things have changed; new football staff, new principal, new AD, new head of PE. My superiors are looking for something a little more "inviting" to the non-athlete or whatever the students are. Also, the other PE teachers who use the room do not know how to teach weight training, it's more along the lines of "get on a machine and do something". Anyway enough ranting, the mega millions is 192 million so if I win..........



When I was in high school we had to run outside...


You dont need treadmills. Out door running has far more benefits and is harder.

Why the hell would you get rid of weights for a treadmill??? makes no sense


Don't they already have a cafeteria?

Sorry man, it sounds like you're screwed. I'm going out on a limb, but the "regime change" at your school sounds like the result of the NCLB Act, am I wrong? Not to pry, but I need to know if I now have another reason to hate the act.

I liked the AAP and Joe DeFranco ideas. And I agree with some of the other posts about wheelbarrows, tires, sledgehammers, sandbags, and compressed beverage tanks (for some reason I don't think kegs will go over well in a H.S. setting) being cheap, easy, and effective.

Just don't forget the little people who relatively anonymously contributed sympathy to your plight on an internet forum when you win the $192M, Okay?


Did your administration accept one of those government grants where they can get money for exercise equipment but only if they open it up as a community-minded fitness center?

I have heard of cases where schools have wanted to totally clear out all the good ole cast-iron stuff for the shiny stuff so the community will come and use the place.

Did your administrators consult with a fitness equipment supplier before putting the plan together? I bet they did, and they got the spiel about how safe and easy machines are for people to use. Of course they cost more, too.


How stupid. My high school gym had one treadmill. We do have those things called roads, fields, and tracks for running. And I was a runner too. Our track team definitely would not have been happy if they moved out the weights equipment for treadmills. No, advice though. Sorry.


Really , what can you do? Once the power that be make up their minds thats pretty much it. Having said that , maybe what you could do is add some strong man implements into your schools exercise facilities.Sand bags , old tires , and what not. These are all cheap or even free. Probably not as good as the squat rack.
What you could do is make the arguement that the milatary uses such implements ,as well as free weights. If the US goverment thinks it good for their soldiers then it must be ok for your students.

It probably wont work ,but , its worth a shot.