Worth the weight

photo by <span class="credit credit- "><a href="/credit/"Aaron/" title="View all of this person's work">"Aaron</a></span>

photo by Aaron Wu

On any given day after school, the PHS weight room is bustling with activity. Students are doing workouts together, trying to see who can bench press more weight.  Athletes are doing strength and conditioning exercises with their teams. Players are completing agility exercises in lines. Compared to last school year, the fitness center is substantially more active full of energy. And at the center of it all is first-year strength and conditioning coach John Torrey.

“It’s going really well,” said Torrey, who previously held a position as an assistant strength and conditioning coach at the Peddie School for three years. “It is a really energized group and the facility is packed everyday.”

Torrey is a part of a transformation that has taken place in the fitness center, causing a sharp increase in facility activity this year. The process began toward the end of last school year, when Interim Head Athletic Director Brian Dzbenski dedicated more funding for the athletic department toward the weight room. Over the past summer, the department made its first move with these new funds by hiring Torrey. So far, Torrey has put a focus on getting team members to work out together. Teams can be spotted using the weight room for working out before, during, and after their seasons.

photo by <span class="credit credit- "><a href="/credit/"Aaron/" title="View all of this person's work">"Aaron</a></span>

photo by Aaron Wu

“I don’t believe that the athletes were training as a team using any type of system that was designed throughout the year to peak for their seasons,” Torrey said. “I started organizing teams to train together, and there were a lot of teaching points for the athletes who hadn’t used the facility before.”

The strength and conditioning program that Torrey has implemented for athletes takes into account the large number of athletes who participate multiple sports. The routines emphasize physical abilities that many sports share, including strength, explosiveness, movement, and quickness. The program is designed to prepare the athlete and get them in peak shape just before their season begins.  Additionally, Torrey has added in exercises that seek to prevent injury and fatigue. For example, members of the football and boys ice hockey team do neck exercises to prevent concussions.

“There are some prehab or injury prevention techniques I try to implement,” said Torrey.  “Overuse [of muscles] while playing a sport can cause injury. These exercises are implemented into the team packages.”

With working out in the fitness center becoming more prevalent for sports teams at PHS, the facility is becoming increasingly popular among individual students as well. Alex Park ’19, a member of the boys lacrosse team, partnered up with Torrey to create the PHS Strength and Conditioning Club. The club has a flexible daily schedule for its roughly 40 members to exercise different muscle groups in the weight room.

“I worked out with Coach Torrey everyday last summer,” said Park. “And I thought it would be great to be able to share this with the rest of the school. We have a really great facility and coach Torrey is a great physical trainer, so I thought it [would] be an awesome idea.”

Powering this club is the knowledge of the benefits of working out for students.

“I think people are realizing that working out and getting in shape is fun,” Park said.  It’s a great way to relieve stress after school and escape reality for a little bit before you have to go home and do homework.”

After this year’s progress toward getting more and more students involved with the weight room, Torrey is looking forward to further improve the facility and system.

“We are hoping to install some turf, which would allow … change-of-direction drills as well as sled work and resistance running,” said Torrey. “We are also going to replace some old equipment with new equipment. It’s all about taking small steps to improve the facility and better the results for our student athletes.”

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