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An athlete’s dream realized: weight lifting course

By Josh Carney
Published: September 2010

A new wellness offering at Newton South is Personal Fitness class, which is allowing student-athletes to prepare for their sport during their respective seasons and offseasons.
The two Wellness instructors teaching the course are longtime staff members Alan Rotatori and Todd Elwell.
According to the 2010-2011 Program of Studies the Personal Fitness class description reads: “Learn to work YOUR body – a class for everyone and every fitness level. With your specific goals in mind create a program that includes machines, free weights, body weight and other fitness tools. It’s like having your very own personal trainer two times a week!
Athletes in at South are reaping benefits that are twofold. Personal Fitness is a engaging and interesting alternative to the mainstream Wellness courses.
In addition, many of South’s athletic participants use the time in the Fitness Center and Dance Studio to stay in shape during the offseason.
“This class is helping me in football; the teacher does some really good drills to help us with our skills. The teacher seems like he is trained in football and is very helpful, freshman Alexander Voros said.
The two teachers each take a different approach to the structure of the class. Elwell uses a loose class structure, while Rotatori has a more structured one.
Elwell has the class meet in the weight room immediately. He takes a little time to show that class a type of exercise and then allows his students to explore and undergo their own fitness routines. Elwell walks around the room helping students with their workouts and answering any questions they may have.
However, the class isn’t completely unstructured, as Elwell requires all students, to develop a regular workout and modify it over time. He also requires students to record their workouts so they can track their progression.
Rotatori, however, takes a completely different approach.
“An average day includes stretching on the field [and] drills, he said. “Next, the class will huddle for instruction on the main activity for the day, then the activity or drill for the day will take place, and lastly [we go to] the weight room.
Rotatori centers his curriculum on a fitness program known as CrossFit, which has proven to be extremely beneficial to South’s Wrestling program.
According to CrossFit’s website, the program that Newton South is utilizing is the principal strength and conditioning for many police academies and tactical operations teams, as well as hundreds of other elite and professional athletes.
It claims that the program is designed based on universal scalability, which is a fantastic application for any individual regardless of fitness experience.
This class is definitely an asset to the Newton South sports teams, as students are using this class in order to help them and their team succeed on the field.
“The variation that can and should happen with each individual athlete will be the skill related portion. All athletes need the basic foundations of movement, strength and conditioning and then they can work on skills related to their specific sport, Rotatori said.
Rotatori’s CrossFit, and Elwell’s training methods, provide students with the ability to develop the skills that can propel them to a new level of competition on the field.
When asked if this class is preparing athletes for their sports seasons correctly, Rotatori said, “Right now I am treating all athletes the same.  They will learn important fitness concepts through CrossFit that they will be able to use if they decide to create their own programs later.
In addition, students can benefit academically from Personal Fitness. Those who take the class will not have to devote time after school to conditioning, giving them more time for academics, as well as other extracurricular activities.
This offering is clearly an asset to the Newton South athletics program.

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