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Pump Up the Power

Katherine Kuzma

Padded medicine balls and other equipment to enhance the power of our middle school students. Students will participate in Iron Dread Jump, Throw, Sprint exercises during our regular Physical Education class activities, as well as our Personal Fitness elective.

Most students come to Mill Creek without much knowledge of proper weightlifting form, mechanics, or safety. Over the past few years we’ve been able to help many students improve in these areas, thanks to equipment funded by the EFD. Dumbbells, benches, Plyo/Squat Boxes, and resistance bands, along with my participation in the Iron Dread program over the last year and a half is truly helping our middle school students make a smooth transition into our high school strength and conditioning program. This EFD cycle, our focus is on improving what we can teach our students about power. Power is an extra special component of fitness as it can be considered both skill and health related. Coach Whittaker places high emphasis on power within his program and includes jump, throw, and sprint exercises after students complete the warm up. The Iron Dread program utilizes padded medicine balls, stop watches, and measuring tape during this portion of the workout. We believe we can better prepare our students for Iron Dread as well as increase their overall health and athleticism by including more power exercises into our Muscle Monday curriculum, student created Workout Wednesdays, additional circuit training on Fitness Fridays and in our Personal Fitness elective. While increasing power is our main focus on this grant application, there were a few items funded by the EFD in the past that we did not realize would become so popular with our students. We are happy to see how much the students enjoy using the plyo-boxes and weight benches. Unfortunately, so many students want to use the benches and boxes that we have to be creative and turn our aerobics steps into both. By purchasing 5 more boxes, we would have enough for every group of 4 to have their own plyo-box. Adding one more bench to our arsenal will allow each class (7th and 8th grade) to have two benches of their own. The remaining items on our grant application include wall anchors and heavier bands. The Iron Dread program utilizes bands in every aspect of the workouts and our students enjoy using the bands. Unfortunately, other than the bleachers, we do not have other locations where we can attach the bands to the walls. Working with my building principal, we would like to find other locations in our gym where wall anchors can be installed safely, making it possible for students to better put to use the bands that we already have. Another component of the Iron Dread program that we would like to better implement in our gym is the use of pull up bars. Various forms of pullups are often included during the accessory exercise portion of Iron Dread workouts. Heavy bands allow for students to have assistance performing these exercises. We are requesting three different types of heavy bands so that students can use the level of resistance that they need. This year our students informed us that the PE teachers at Creekside have bands for their pull up bars and they asked why we did not. Knowing that our students want to add pull ups to their student created workouts, we wanted to list the heavier bands in this application.

We believe the equipment described above will also help our students toward achieving many of the state standards focused on the 5 Health Related (cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular endurance, muscular strength, flexibility, and body composition) and 6 Skill Related (power, agility, coordination, speed, balance and reaction time) Components of Fitness. Michigan Department of Education Content Standards for 7th and 8th grade that will be enhanced by the approval of this grant proposal include:

Participates in a variety of strength- and endurance-fitness activities such as weight or resistance training. (S3.4.7)
Participates in moderate to vigorous muscle- and bone-strengthening physical activity at least 3 times per week. (S3.6.7)
Identifies the components of health-related fitness (muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, cardiorespiratory endurance, body composition) and explains the connections between fitness and overall physical and mental health. (S3.1.8)
Plans and implements a program of cross-training to include aerobic, strength and endurance, and flexibility training (S3.4.8)
Designs and implements a warm up/cool down regimen for a self-selected physical activity (S3.12.8)
Accepts responsibility for improving one’s own levels of physical activity and fitness. (S4.1.8)

The addition of padded medicine balls will allow additional opportunities for our Physical Education students to improve their power while also protecting our gym floor by participating in the following exercises:

Seated Medicine Ball Throw
Lying Overhead Medicine Ball Throw
Medicine Ball Slam (on mat)
Medicine Ball Vertical Jump to Reach
Seated Jump to Overhead Medicine Ball Slam (on mat)
Mason Twists
Medicine Ball Rotational Scoop
Standing Medicine Ball Shot Put Throw
Medicine Ball Figure 8 Overhead Slam (on mat)
Supine Medicine Ball Chest Throw
Lying Swiss Ball Medicine Ball Throw

The addition of tape measures will allow our physical education students to:

Measure growth in their broad jump
Measure growth in their various medicine ball tosses
Determine the proper distance for setting up the 5-10-5 Pro Agility Drill
Determine proper distance for completing 10 and 20 yard Sprints

The addition of stopwatches will allow our students to:

Measure growth in 10 and 20 yard sprints
Measure growth in 5-10-5 Pro Agility Drill
Have their own time piece for their student created workouts
Keep track of lap or split times during longer cardio runs
Take more responsibility for their own health by participating in more student directed activities

In addition to use in our physical education classes at Mill Creek, padded medicine balls, tape measures, stop watches, and additional plyo boxes and resistance bands would also be utilized by students in our Sports Medicine elective. Students would learn and practice popular physical therapy medicine ball and band exercises for various sport related injuries. They would also learn how to use the boxes to modify exercises for clients recovering from injuries.

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