Changes in the Weight Room


Stoughton High School weight room looking empty without athletes.

Rachel Callahan, Features Editor and Cover Story Editor

Switching to virtual school has been academically challenging for many students, but athletes are being challenged physically from the switch to virtual school as well.

Bobby O’Brien has been the Strength coach at Stoughton High School for 3 years, and is going on his 8th year of being in the strength and conditioning field. Being virtual struck a lot of changes in the classroom as well as in the weight room.

Being virtual struck a lot of changes in the classroom as well as in the weight room.

“The main objectives of our strength program have not changed with the transition to virtual [learning], but it has changed almost everything about the way our strength program functions day-to-day. Instead of hosting hands-on workouts here at the high school, we are finding ways to teach, learn, train, and improve from a distance,” O’Brien says.

While students adjust to doing school at home, they adjust to workouts being at home too.

“We’ve been so impressed by the ownership and initiative that our students have shown through this unusual time,” O’Brien says. “We talk a lot in our strength program about the importance of consistency, and a huge number of our students have found ways to consistently challenge themselves even without the structure of in-person workouts.”

The PE and Strength staff have worked hard this summer to create challenging workouts that students can achieve without having major lifting equipment at home.

“There are currently about 240 students crushing our workouts,” O’Brien says. “We use an online platform called TeamBuildr that allows our students to access multiple different workouts, posted by our strength staff, based on each student’s individual situation. Students are able to watch demo videos, add notes, and record their own workout results so they can see their progress over time.”

Finding our new normal for school and physical education has been tested on many athletes, but with the support of coaches and other athletes, goals can still be achieved.

“We cannot wait to have students back in our school!! But until then, I know they will continue to find ways to challenge themselves to keep growing and improving,” O’Brien says.

Kate Maloney is another stff member teaching Team Activities, Lifetime Fitness, and Strength and Conditioning this year.

Maloney has had to adapt to a new way of teaching classes that are usually all in person. “In the virtual setting, we have had to establish a new way to document and communicate our activities and workouts,” Maloney says.

As many classes have a typical routine for each day, PE classes do as well. “Zoom sessions are used to talk through the day’s activity and workouts,” Maloney says. “Upon dismissal from Zoom, students get up and do their activity before their next class.”

Maloney still encourages students to exercise. “If there are students who are not currently enrolled in PE or sport, please tell them to contact us. We would like to help as many students as possible during this challenging time at home,” Maloney says.

Students can contact PE teachers by email with questions about working out during these times.