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I use the ARC or CRCE almost every day for martial arts, weight lifting, running, and cycling. I appreciate the difficulty of designing facilities, policies, and programs for a large, diverse community, but I have come to wonder if any sports training experts were consulted in the design. Over the last year or so several policy problems have come to my attention, most of which relate to the safety of patrons. The primary ones are:
1. Clips are required on barbells to hold plates on, regardless of the lift being performed. When someone is bench pressing, it is more hazardous to have clips than not. If the patron fails to get the bar back on the rack and the spotter cannot lift it enough to get it on the rack, the bar could easily suffocate. (See Mark Rippetoe's book "Starting Strength")
2. Patrons are required to wear shoes at all times in weight areas. However, deadlifts and squats are better performed barefoot since shoes are often not level and provide a somewhat squishy base. (again, see Mark's book) In fact, what purpose do shoes serve in weight areas? A layer of fabric certainly won't protect my foot from a 20-pound dumbell. the only reason I've been given is that the shoe would "contain the mess."
3. Unless students/staff are well-versed in what someone is doing, they should not give advice or interfere with someone's workout. Patrons are ultimately responsible for their own safety. In order to accommodate individual differences, a patron may perform an exercise in an unfamiliar manner or a completely unfamiliar exercise. The staff need to know the limits of their knowledge and know the purpose behind the policies they enforce.
4. The tornado policy for campus rec is to close the facility whenever there is a tornado warning anywhere in Champaign County, even if it barely touches the northeast corner of the county (which actually happened at least once this past season). There has got to be a better way to decide when to shove everyone into the basement, like closing the facility when the city of Champaign is part of the warning. Also, when there is severe weather or a threat of it, It would be extremely useful to change at least one TV in the basement to a weather report so the patrons know what is happening. Often the information given over the PA is minimally useful because the staff know little about weather, incomprehensible because the staff do not enunciate, or cannot be heard over the crowd.