Weight Training Classes Go From Print Outs To PLT4M

Harper Creek High School weight room.

Over the years, Harper Creek High School in Michigan has felt the positive impact of a consistent weight room program. With weight training classes throughout the school day, the school boasts a busy weight room filled with hard work and dedication. But the school wanted to do more than just feel like they were making progress. Instead, they wanted to highlight and measure students’ growth and improvement in weight training classes. To do so, Harper Creek went from printed workout cards to a digital training system that is changing how they train and track weight training classes.

Challenges Of Tracking Long-Term Progress 


PE teacher and Head Football Coach Mason Converse has been at Harper Creek High School for 14 years. Mason explains how the weight room has always been a place for all students, 


“There are weight training classes every period of the school day at Harper Creek. We see a wide range of students from all grade levels in a single class period. And we push all students to challenge themselves in the weight room.” 


Mason credits strength coach Mike Seedorf, who built the program years ago and has recently retired from Harper Creek. For many years, Harper Creek teachers and coaches utilized printed sheets and the Bigger Faster Stronger (BFS) to manage and deliver student workouts. Although Mason says the program worked well, it became challenging to showcase growth and improvement over time, 


“Once the semester was done, unless you kept everything in an Excel spreadsheet, there was no way of seeing long-term growth year over year. And in the world of education, it is all about showing progress and improvement.” 


As a result, the two PE teachers now in charge of the program, Mason Converse and Larry Quick, decided to search for a solution that would allow students and teachers to monitor and measure all the hard work going on in the weight room throughout the school year and student’s entire high school careers. 

Harper Creek Goes From BFS To PLT4M 


After many years of printed sheets in the Harper Creek weight training classes, the school shifted to an approach that would incorporate technology in physical education classes. Now, the weight training classes utilize PLT4M, a fitness and strength and conditioning software that allows students to access workouts right from their individual devices. 


Mason says that the transition has proven to bring positive results to the classroom,


“Our students were excited by the new tool in the weight training classes. We saw an immediate increase in students logging weights and taking ownership of what they were doing during weight training classes.” 


And because Harper Creek has big weight training classes in a relatively small space, Mason saw the technology as a way to manage all of the moving parts of classes,


“With PLT4M, we have worked to superset different parts of the workout to keep students working hard and moving. But we can also separate students into different groups throughout the week to help with the flow and efficiency of the workouts in a crowded weight room.”

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Building Excitement Throughout The School 


With the addition of technology, Mason says that the overall motivation at Harper Creek has increased. Now, students can see what their friends and teammates are doing, even if they aren’t in the same weight training class. Mason explains how this has helped add an extra layer of fun competition to the program, 


“With PLT4M leaderboards, students can have friendly competition with their different teammates and friends. For example, we started doing a weekly 800-meter challenge around the track, and there is an extra layer of excitement with students trying to see where they can land on the leaderboards.” 


Beyond motivation, Mason can take the data from different assessments to help with grading, 


“We do our grading based on individual improvement. It helps to have a clear and transparent process for students to know how they are being measured on their work in class. And better yet, if they are consistent and work hard, that progress will come.” 


And as Harper Creek High School continues to evolve with the new technology, Mason says he is continuing to tweak and adapt what will bring out the best in students during class, 


“Before PLT4M, the printed sheets were our tool. With technology, we now have a new set of tools that can help us push and challenge students throughout the semester and school year.” 

Harper Creek High School gymnasium and running track.
The Harper Creek gymnasium and track where students complete the weekly 800-meter challenge.
image oh student squatting and a phone with graph

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What Comes Next For Harper Creek 


Harper Creek has seen the early success of implementing a technology tool within weight training classes. Students are more engaged, and teachers have better insights and information to tap into. So, what comes next for Harper Creek? 


While Harper Creek is still in the early stages of implementing technology in physical education and weight training classes, Mason says that they are excited for what is to come, 


 “The data and insights have already been a really powerful tool when working with students in weight training classes. But we are just scratching the surface. As we continue to collect data, the story of progress and improvement will only grow stronger for students.”

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