Building A Successful 7th-12th Grade Weight Training Program

Stockbridge Junior Senior High School weight room.

At Stockbridge Junior Senior High School in Michigan, students from all grade levels come to the weight room with different experiences, interests, and abilities. But what makes the weight room a truly special and powerful place is the feeling of success each student leaves with. Physical education teacher Susan Lockhart explains,


“Everyone is seeing progress and has a great sense of personal satisfaction from what they achieve in the weight room. That feeling of success is what keeps students from seventh grade to seniors coming back.”


At Stockbridge, students set a strong foundation in introductory weight room courses before continuing to advanced electives and independent studies. Here is how Stockbridge has built a successful 7th-12th grade weight training program.

7th-8th Grade: Setting The Foundation 


Stockbridge’s physical education program is designed to gradually build students’ strength and skills. In the first semester of 7th grade, students start with bodyweight movements and lightly loaded objects to learn the basics of exercise. By the second semester, they transition to the weight room, where they are introduced to weightlifting using PLT4M’s Weight Training Lesson Plans


Throughout the early stages of the weightlifting program, students work on form and technique, building confidence and comfort in the weight room. Susan says the early introduction proves to be a game-changer for long-term success, 


“The students are hooked at an early age. And because we have PLT4M and students using technology, we can personalize and customize weights and workouts so that every student has a positive experience in the weight room.” 


Susan says turning to PLT4M came at a perfect time and has helped meet the needs of students in all grade levels throughout the program, 


“We went from block to hourly scheduling as a school and wanted our PE classes to maximize time and efficiency. In addition, we wanted to customize the experience so every student could find a way to work out in the weight room that suited their interests and goals.”

Bonus Content: Example instructional video from PLT4M’s Intro To Strength Training program breaking down the barbell back squat. 

9th Grade – Deepening The Dedication 


Because 9th grade is the last time students are required to take a PE/Health in Michigan, Susan says they work to put all the pieces together for students, 


“We split our week up with three days of weight lifting and two days of health lessons and different games and activities. It helps to really connect the dots about what health and wellness mean for students.” 


And because of the early foundation set in 7th and 8th grade, Susan says by 9th grade, the conversations around fitness and exercise are thoughtful and meaningful, 


“We do different research projects and have great conversations about training plans, nutrition, and more. Combined with students’ progress in the weight room, it makes for an awesome transition to upper-level electives.” 


Stockbridge leaderboards inside the weight room.
Stockbridge has leaderboards inside the weight room that motivate and excite students.

10th-12th Grade Electives, Independent Studies, and Sports Teams


Once students are in their final few years at Stockbridge Junior Senior High School, they have the opportunity to continue in the weight room in advanced weight lifting electives, independent studies, and with sports teams. 


While personal progress and improvement are still the focus, Stockbridge also has leaderboards that add a little extra incentive for students to continue pushing themselves, 


“The students love the leaderboards and work hard to see their numbers go up on the PLT4M app to eventually get onto the leaderboards. It is a fun way for them to keep working hard through success and failure.” 


And when Susan talks about failure, she wants students to see the weight room as a place to learn life lessons, 


“We want all of our students, especially our older students, to see that success is found through failure and challenge. Failure isn’t bad when you can put it into context, learn from it, and keep moving forward.” 


For example, students participating in the independent study program will reflect on their data within PLT4M and see their progress, plateaus, and drops. Altogether, Stockbridge students work hard in the weight room and think critically about their actions. 

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image oh student squatting and a phone with graph

Stockbridge’s Weight Room Success Connects To Real-World Results


While Susan is proud of the accomplishments her students have made inside the weight room, what she focuses on is how it relates to everything else in their lives, 


“A big thing we talk about is the mind-body connection. The work in the weight room isn’t just helping students get stronger, but the power of exercise translates to what they are doing in other classes like science and English.” 


Most importantly, Susan believes that the work from 7th-12th grade is helping students to prepare for a future of fitness and wellness, 


“The skills and knowledge gained help students find ways to stay active well beyond graduation. These are things that students can carry with them for years to come.” 


Stockbridge Junior Senior High School has built a successful weight training program that meets students where they are at and helps them develop and grow over time. The result is that students all leave the weight room feeling proud, empowered, and ready for the next stage of their healthy, active lives. 


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