As most students are sitting down for their 9 a.m. lectures on a Tuesday morning, Johnny Castro heads to a different type of classroom. The kinesiology major walks into the Rec Center and heads over to the basketball courts where he’s met by his weightlifting instructor, Kevin Blume.
Introduction to Weightlifting is held twice a week in 50 minute sessions in the rec center. Students are taught how to safely use exercise equipment and apply what they have learned by building a personal training program to fit their fitness goals.
A typical class begins with an active warmup, followed by a personalized exercise routine created by students, ending with a group exercise and stretch. The students line up on cue and begin their warmup. They lunge, skip, and crawl. Yes, crawl.
Crawling is a full body workout and a cardiovascular exercise that helps students learn to control their breathing. Now, Johnny incorporates it into his own workout routine and suggests others try to crawl for as long as they can without stopping. It’s his personal goal to crawl for three minutes straight. Half-way through the semester, he was up to a minute and 30 seconds before he had to stop.
After an effective warmup routine, they meet with Kevin again as he explains a new technique. Today, he chose to explain the proper form for a weighted row. He walks the class to an open cable machine and gives them tips on how to use the machine to maximize their muscle contraction when performing a row. Johnny listens intently along with the other students. The class has changed his perspective on exercise.
Going into the class, Johnny expected the focus of the class to be on gaining muscle, “the traditional way”. He expected bodybuilding — bench presses, squats, and deadlifts — to be the basis of the class. This is the typical expectation of a gym, but Johnny was introduced to a new set of fitness values.
He attributes his change in perspective to his instructor, Kevin. Along with the benefits of traditional movements, Kevin introduced the importance of mobility for long term health. Mobility is important for everyday tasks, but Johnny found it to be particularly helpful for his extracurricular dancing.
Johnny is a professional folklorico dancer. Over the past year, Johnny has become a member of the Oyamel Folkloric Dancers local dancing group, and throughout the semester he noticed an improvement in his mobility during folklorico. He says he felt stronger and became a better dancer because of it. After learning more about how to apply mobility to a personal program, he began to lead his dancing class in mobility exercises that he learned in Kevin’s class. Everyone enjoyed the movements and were excited when their hard work began to show through dance.
In Kevin’s weightlifting class, students get to work on their own personalized workout plans. After warming up, Johnny decides to start with bench press and ends with lunges and curls. Kevin watches Johnny and gives feedback on how to activate the right muscles in each movement. One of the things Kevin taught him was that sometimes less weight with better muscle targeting is most effective.
The class shows students how to lift weight safely, without injuring themselves. Johnny admits that, previously, he injured himself lifting weights because he didn’t understand how to lift safely, but now, he feels more confident in his knowledge of proper movements. Kinesiology is the study of the body’s movements, so he applies what he learns to his other classes.
He found his passion for kinesiology on his LDS mission, which took him to Australia and Florida. In Australia, he didn’t have access to weights, so he used bodyweight training to maintain his fitness. In Florida, he lived with a bodybuilder who introduced him to weight training so he could gain more muscle.
Johnny is excited to apply what he’s learned to his personal exercise plan and wants to take another BroncoFit class. He enjoyed getting credit for working out and wants to try the rock climbing class next.
BroncoFit 165: Weight Training I, has multiple sessions available over the course of the semester and accepts all skill levels and encourages anyone to try! If you’re interested in signing up for a class or have questions about BroncoFit, you can contact BroncoFit Activities Coordinator, Kevin Blume at email@example.com.