Students work on self-confidence in Weightlifting and Leadership course


Students feel differently about each class. Whether a student enjoys art-based classes, science classes or for many Mr. Christopher Coennen’s Weightlifting and Leadership course. 

Coennen’s weightlifting course is a favorite for many students, as it allows them to stay fit and healthy throughout the school year. The course, being an elective, has the most students out of any other elective in all grades, with 118 students in total. The Weightlifting and Leadership course takes place in the weight room above the gym. There are different exercise machines, including:leg presses, shoulder presses, treadmills, bicep curl machines, chest presses, hamstring curl machines, bench presses and many more machines to work with.

“I think it’s a huge mix of students that want to get stronger for athletic reasons. A couple of kids always want the class to prepare for the military, but I’m seeing more and more students taking the class because they want a more healthy approach and they want to take a step out of their comfort zone,” Coennen says.

Students who participate in different sports enjoy being in the class and being able to work on their strengths, to prepare for upcoming seasons. Some students also see the class as preparation for the military after high school. Getting to work out and having friends and peers there to motivate and push them can boost their want to continue working out.

“It leads to self-confidence when you start seeing yourself improve and feel good about yourself. I have students seeing themselves making huge accomplishments about themselves in the class,” Coennen said.

Weightlifting and Leadership can be very beneficial in working on self-confidence and self-care. Lifting weights can ultimately improve your mood and release endorphins, also allowing students to see the big accomplishments and achievements they are making. Students are given a notebook for recording what they do each day, and they are able to look over their progress and reflect. This is especially helpful on “Max days”— a day where students keep lifting on the bench press, squat or deadlift until they hit a maximum and can’t continue— because students can see their progress over a longer period of time. 

“I took the class to better myself, and I enjoy getting to work out with my friends,” sophomore Richard Wasko said.

Working out with friends can lead to more motivation when in class. Students are able to work out in the class together and can work to push each other to get better and better each day. 

While the class normally has a predominant number of boys who take the class to work on their physique and overall health, Coennen has seen more and more girls taking the class each year. In the past few years the boy-to-girl ratio within the course has increased, although it still is not a 50/50 ratio, the number of girls has significantly increased.

Seeing students improve and better themselves and their self-confidence is a personal enjoyment for Coennen. He enjoys getting to watch students see themselves in a better way and work on themselves. Coennen has the outlook of “whatever your goal is, we will reach that goal.” Self-confidence is Coennen’s biggest key to the class as well as lifting and working on your physical body and mental perspective.

Weightlifting is a beneficial course for any student, especially those looking to become more confident about themselves.