New, Improved Weight Room Now Open

Rachel Breitweser '03

With more open space and streamlined equipment, Punahou’s Hennrich Fitness Center, better known to students as the weight room, has a whole new look and feel in addition to offering a wide range of strength and cardio exercises. It’s user-friendly to both the highly trained athlete and the student who is beginning to explore fitness training options.

“It’s a far more versatile space that’s only bound by our creativity. It’s like a giant tinker toy,” said Sandy Abney, assistant director of athletic performance. “The versatility of the equipment will allow us to accomplish more and enhance athletic training opportunities at a higher level.” 

(Fun fact: Abney is a collegiate track and field heptathlete and power lifter turned Olympic Weightlifter. She is new to Punahou from the University of Texas, where she was a strength coach for over a decade.)

With many different methods to customize training for each individual, it’s personalized learning at its best. And with a new arrangement that allows more students to use the space at the same time, PE classes and athletics are collaborating more on curriculum. Students will gain a common knowledge of how to use the equipment effectively and safely for a lifetime of fitness. All students and alumni are welcome to utilize the fitness programs.

“The leadership provided by Athletics associate Michelle Arnold and Sandy Abney allows for so many exciting possibilities within this teaching space, including the creation of an innovative K – 12 functional movement curriculum,” said James Kakos, Assistant Principal for Student Life and Athletics.

Here’s a tour of the new weight room.

Base Camp Units

Each of the seven “mini training centers” offers 25 different exercises and can accommodate up to 15 students in rotation at one time. There are racks and benches for lifting barbells, pulleys for rotational work, and TRX suspension training straps for body weight work. 

On the wall stands a shelf of weighted medicine balls used for throwing, slamming and other ballistic movements. There are also large stability balls for developing core strength and working stabilizer muscles. 

Dumbbell Rack and Open Space 

The weight room now has far more open space and can accommodate entire athletic teams. New free weights have thick handles to improve grip strength. Apple TVs mounted to the wall list the daily workout and also cue for timing. 

Notice there are no mirrors? “The walls are actually trainable spaces,” said Abney. If students need a visual to help with form, Abney and other staff can deploy a mobile phone to take a quick video to show a student how he or she is moving.

Cardio Equipment

Elliptical, rowing machines and the Woodway Curve – a self-powered treadmill that requires proper running technique – offer students aerobic exercise choices.

Multi-turf Area

Astro turf provides an optimal space for floor work and foot work. Resistance bands, kettle bells, stabilization equipment, and more line the wall – a menu of options for stretching and strengthening. 

What’s with the chains hanging on the far wall, you may ask? Thanks to physics, adding lifting chains to a barbell helps you get the most out of your workout by making muscles work harder all the way through a rep.

Read an in-depth story from the Punahou Bulletin about personalized, functional strength training at Punahou.