Wake Forest Weight Room Gets Face (Power) Lift

June 9, 2008

The Wake Forest weight room is improving its space usage considerably thanks to a complete renovation led by Director of Strength and Conditioning Ethan Reeve.

The new-look weight room will feature new flooring, a 200-foot chin-up bar, eight flat screen televisions, and new weight racks Reeve designed especially for the purpose of maximizing space.

"About eight years ago, we wanted to enlarge the room," Reeve said. "We couldn't do that at the time and we're not really doing that now. We had to think, `How could we make this space more athletic-oriented?' And that's what we really did. Our room is very functional. We went to a lot of weight rooms. We had to come back and really think-out how we were going to do this."

The rack designed by Reeve includes a mobile bench and allows more space consideration than the commonly-used boxed-in weight rack.

"We had power racks in there that took-up a third of our room space-wise. So, we modified the room," Reeve said. "We have 200 feet of stainless steel chin-up bars that are now out of the way. The chin-up bars used to be on every one of our power racks. We stored a lot of our weights on those power racks. But inside the power racks, we maybe only did one exercise, bench press. So, we took the power racks out."

Where platforms once held the old racks, the floor is now level, giving Reeve and his staff more room to coach as well as giving Wake Forest athletes more space to run speed and agility drills.

The weight room floor was replaced and recovered with Mondo flooring, a rubber surface that has been used at every Olympics since 1976. Mondo is the official supplier of athletic track, basketball and handball courts for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

"Mondo flooring is the best in the world," Reeve said. "There's nothing like it. It is a very durable surface and it looks good."

To fully implement his vision for improved space usage in the weight room Reeve traveled to Lincolnton, N.C. to meet with engineers at UCS, a sports and recreational products manufacturer. There Reeve designed the rack which he believes will solidify the Demon Deacon weight room as one of the best in the nation.

Wake Forest Director of Strength and Conditioning Ethan Reeve designed these weight racks with UCS to maximize space in the Demon Deacon weight room

"UCS makes great weight room equipment, the best in the world." Reeve said. "I went to them and designed a rack, a squat stand. Now we'll have 22 stations with 22 of these squat stands. At every one of those stands you can bench press, incline press, front squat, back squat, do lunges, etc. Everything is right there. When you want to bench, you wheel-in the bench, it sets down and locks right into place. It's more universal. When we're not using it, we pull the bench back under the chin-up bar and out of the way."

Before the flooring and new racks could be brought in the Wake Forest strength and conditioning staff addressed a lingering moisture issue by replacing the air conditioning unit. According to Reeve, the last renovation effort saw the now old power racks in jeopardy of rust and tarnish within one week after installation because of moisture in the weight room.

After the air conditioning unit was replaced and the new flooring was laid down, UCS brought in the new racks. Reeve, who came to Wake Forest from Ohio University with head football coach Jim Grobe, expects the entire renovation to be complete by the third week of June.

Reeve, a two-time All-American and four-time All-SEC wrestler from the University of Tennessee, has worked with the Demon Deacon strength staff to optimize every aspect of the Wake Forest weight room.

A 200-foot chin-up bar now wraps around the entire Wake Forest weight room

"We're talking inches here. You have this space and you have to make sure you have room for safety and uniformity and those kinds of things," Reeve said. "We have so much weight. We'll have 500 pounds of bumper weights and bar at every station. That's more than we've had before. Multiply that with the bench, kettle bells, dumbbells, all of that by 22 stations. There's no place in the country like that. No one has all of that together."

The installation of four 42-inch flat screen televisions and four 32-inch flat screen TVs will add a technological improvement to the weight room as well. The screens will display video of proper lifting techniques as well as PowerPoint presentations of workouts specific to the teams scheduled to lift at any given time.

"You might have football, women's basketball and women's tennis in the weight room together and the screens will rotate these teams' workouts so they know exactly what they need to be doing," Reeve said.

Reeve sees all of the weight room improvements as part of the continued dedication to providing Wake Forest student-athletes with the best in strength training and conditioning equipment.

"[Athletic Director] Ron Wellman gave us a good budget and he wanted us to get the best," Reeve said. "We'll have the best racks, the best flooring, the best bumpers, the best bars in the world. We may not have the largest room, but we're going to have the best room. That's what we've done."


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