“Welcome to our playground”, reads the sign above the machines and for the uninitiated, the Free Weights Gym could appear a daunting place. People with ripped muscles, impressive six-packs and total focus on their training, stroll around the gym in between performing sets that are eye-watering in their intensity and effort.
But this is just one part of the total fitness package that Kelsey Kerridge offers and it is a place that welcomes and encourages everyone.
Something for everyone in free weights gym
Manager Liane Shadrack is proud to head a facility and team that caters for people with every type of fitness requirement. “From those who want to lose weight and get fit to those who are elite athletes in a specific field,” she says. “Through our classes, equipment, personal trainers and two gyms, we are able to provide a high quality service for elite, international sports people through to complete novices who want to learn how to live a healthy life.”
The Free Weight Gym tends to attract people who are very serious about their exercise programme. Found on the same floor as the Kelsey Kerridge reception and Climbing Wall, the Free Weights Gym is an area dedicated to people who want to use free weights to build muscle, tone existing muscle and develop strength in parts or all of their body.
From runners to rowers
From sprinters who need to build strength in their quadriceps, hamstrings and calf muscles to gymnasts who need to work on their upper-body strength or core. There are rowers pushing out the kilos as they prepare for the boat race; footballers who are recovering from a cruciate ligament injury who need to build muscle to support the joint; triathletes who need to build both the strength and resilience to finish a gruelling challenge and there are regular people who just want to push their bodies that bit further.
To help these people achieve their aims, there are numerous pieces of top-of-the-range equipment from expert names in the field – Cybex, Matrix and Jordan are the main players in this gym and the equipment is robust, durable and in tip-top condition.
The gym is a definite work area. There is little in the way of idle chatter but there is plenty of support for each other. Two men are working together as they do exercises on a bench. One of the people spots for the other [supports while the person lifts more than they could normally do safely], when he has finished their set, they change roles.
In another area, a man and a woman are discussing the merits of deep squats for improving explosive power in the legs. This is grown-up weight training.
“It is not for everyone,” says Shadrack, “But it can be for anyone. The gym is not the preserve of weight lifters or body builders and it is certainly not a male-only environment. People need to understand what they are doing and respect the equipment but our personal trainers and fitness staff are always happy to give advice and support. And the guys who regularly go to the gym will always welcome newcomers. It is an area where people go to train but the atmosphere is always friendly and supportive.”