Life Lessons & Lifting – Inside The Waynesville Weight Room

Students work out in the Waynesville High School weight room.

At Waynesville High School in Missouri, the weight room is a place to build more than just physical strength. For over 500 students involved in the Fitness and Conditioning classes, the weight room is a classroom that teaches a wide array of physical and mental lessons that will last a lifetime.


Jeremy Bartz, Head Strength Coach and PE teacher, has always believed in and promoted the many parallels between the weight room and life,


“We talk to the students about how what they do inside the weight room translates to the real world. For example, do you have the character and resilience to stand up and be strong when things get heavy and challenging?”


At Waynesville, students are working hard, seeing results, and building lifelong physical and mental skills. Take an inside look at the Waynesville way for weight room success.

From Spreadsheets To Spending More Time With Students


While Waynesville PE teachers always wanted to focus on teaching and making connections with students, they also had to keep up with all of the data and spreadsheets that came with managing weight room classes. Maria Duncan, fellow PE teacher and Wrestling Coach, says that with big class sizes throughout the day, it was a lot to keep up with,


“We had anywhere from 30-45 students per class during every single period of the day. And our goal was also to teach things like accountability and goal-setting, but collecting the data and tracking progress that came with the large classes and enrollment proved incredibly time-consuming.”


As a result, Waynesville set out to implement weight room technology to help save time so that teachers and coaches could go from spending countless hours toiling over spreadsheets to spending more time with students. After implementing PLT4M last year, Jeremy says that the difference with technology has been a game changer,


“Adding technology has allowed us to spend more time with students, provide more individual feedback and instruction, and make strong connections with our students.”

Students work out in the Waynesville High School weight room.
Students work out in the Waynesville High School weight room.

Lifelong Skills For Students


In addition to large class sizes, Waynesville also has a wide array of students with varying experiences and abilities in the weight room at one time. But for all students, Jeremy says safety is the number one priority,


“We want students to lift and exercise in high school, but also for the rest of their lives. That means we want to develop lifelong skills that promote health and safety throughout our classes.”


To promote safety, Waynesville also taps into the PLT4M exercise videos that review form, technique, and safety. Maria says that these have been an excellent addition to their ever-changing community of students,


“We have a large population of military families in our community, so students come and go all throughout the year. But with videos and more hands-on instruction, we can ensure everyone is on the same page in the weight room with great form and technique.”

Students work out in the Waynesville High School weight room.
Students at Waynesville performing the barbell good morning.

Check out how PLT4M breaks down form, technique, safety, and execution of weight room lifts and movements. 

Excitement Inside Waynesville Weight Room


Once students have the proper foundation and form down, Maria says it is like a lightbulb turning on inside their heads as they start to see progress and improvement. While there are countless examples of this happening at Waynesville, Maria remembers one student from this past year who was particularly moved by seeing the growth they had made,


“One student had a new personal best by over 30 pounds and was so proud and excited by the results of their hard work! It is those types of moments where you can see it all click that means the world to us as teachers.”


In addition to the personal improvements, Jeremy says that there is a lot of buzz and excitement about the leaderboards within PLT4M,


“We put up the leaderboards on the big screen TV in the weight room, and as students log results, they see their names pop up. It has built this great sense of energy, friendly competition, and community inside the weight room.”

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image oh student squatting and a phone with graph

Life Lessons And Lifting – More Great Things To Come


Waynesville is just scratching the surface of their new and improved Fitness and Conditioning classes. After early signs of success with PLT4M, the school is now implementing the program with all sports teams, pushing for an even more unified weightlifting program across the entire school. Jeremy says that all getting on the same page is a great step in the right direction,


“All of our students, athletes, teachers, and coaches can be connected through PLT4M, which goes a long way for building on the success of your weight room program and culture.”

Maria, also a firm believer in the power of connections, says that this is just the start,


“We see more collaboration among coaches and teachers and growing student-teacher relationships. Altogether, it is making for a weight room program that we are really proud of and excited to continue expanding on.”


As Waynesville sets out to teach a wide array of physical and mental skills, Jeremy says that the life lessons will continue to be a staple of the program,


“There are so many positive elements of teaching fitness and weights to students, and I am so proud that we can focus on the students and make connections that go well beyond the weight room.”

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