Next Level Training At Lake Central High School

Lake Central High School weight room.

At Lake Central High School in Indiana, student-athletes are tapping into the weight room to prepare for the “next level.” Tom Halterman, long-time strength and conditioning coach and teacher, says that the focus on the next level helps all student-athletes have a purpose inside the weight room,


“Whether a student aspires to move from the JV to the varsity team or dreams of playing at the college level, the strength and conditioning program is designed to prepare students for whatever their ‘next level’ might be.”


Taking a “next level” approach, Lake Central conveys a clear mission to student-athletes: Use the power of the weight room to get better. To support this mission, Lake Central High School, which has over 3,200 students and is one of the largest schools in the state, works hard to get student-athletes into the weight room throughout the day. Between before and after school lifts and dedicated sports conditioning classes, Tom describes a day in the weight room as controlled chaos,


“A lot goes into managing and working with over 800 student-athletes. But we hold our program and the student-athletes within it to a high standard so that they can see the positive results of strength and conditioning.”

Coming Out Of COVID With A New Approach


At Lake Central High School, Tom has always focused on developing the fundamentals for student-athlete success,


“The goal is to keep it simple. What can we do in the weight room to help student-athletes be great, regardless of their sport or level?”


To accomplish this, Lake Central athletes would complete pre-season, in-season, and off-season workout programs that Tom would post in the weight room. But after COVID-19 forced everyone to go remote, Tom needed a different solution for a unique situation,


“What drew me to PLT4M was that it was more than just an app for tracking workouts. It had so much more with curriculum like nutrition, activities for home, and other opportunities that after we returned back to school, we kept using it in our classes and our program.”

No Phones, No Problem


When Lake Central first started using PLT4M, student-athletes would log workouts on their phones. But after Indiana banned cell phone use during school, Tom didn’t want to remove technology from the weight room altogether,


“With our 1-to-1 school-issued Chromebooks, students can still access PLT4M to log workouts, watch instructional videos, and tap into the positive parts of what technology can bring in class.”


And beyond just the benefits of technology in the sports conditioning classes during the school day, Tom says that the support of technology goes a long way for the different coaches at the school,


“I am strength staff of one, so I can’t always be in the weight room with all the different teams and groups throughout the day. But with PLT4M, coaches can feel more comfortable going into the weight room with teams and athletes even when I can’t be there.”


With the addition of technology, other coaches can turn to instructional videos and the workout programs that Tom has assigned to athletes so that they have consistency in their training, which Tom says is one of the biggest factors for working towards the next level,


“For our school to be successful, we need to have a team of coaches all working together. So even when I can’t be in the weight room, coaches and student-athletes are supported with high-quality videos and workouts that keep everyone on the same page.”

With every exercise assigned in PLT4M, students have access to a instructional demo video to review form and technique. Check out a sample below! 

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image oh student squatting and a phone with graph

Lake Central’s Controlled Chaos Converts To Next Level Results


If you have ever been inside a crowded high school weight room, you know what Tom means when he describes the Lake Central strength and conditioning program as “controlled chaos.” But Tom wouldn’t have it any other way because it allows as many student-athletes as possible to work towards their next level,


“At times, we can have over 100 student-athletes flowing through the weight room at once. But we do it in a way that allows students to work safely and effectively towards their goals and aspirations. That is where having technology has made it even more possible to connect all our different classes, athletes, and teams together.”


And for Tom, a seasoned strength and conditioning coach and teacher, he wants student-athletes to know that to get to the next level, they have to work hard,


“I want athletes to know I have high expectations for them. And in the weight room, we all have the opportunity to work hard to reach the full potential of success. But you have to be willing to put in the work.”


As student-athletes put in the work at Lake Central, they are seeing the benefits of hard work in the weight room. For some, that means moving up to the varsity team, earning more playing time, and seeing the results of the weight room unfold. For others, dreams of playing in college are becoming more of a reality. Altogether, Lake Central is helping student-athletes see that there is always an opportunity to take their training and athletics to the next level.


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