Temple University’s kinesiology department is offering a new type of course that challenges students to eat right and get into shape through weight training using free weights and machines-online.
John McNamara, the designer and instructor for this new course, said that it is the only online weight-training course of its kind that is offered in a university setting. McNamara, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and Olympic weight lifting trainer is also a Ph.D. candidate at Temple.
“I took some technology classes and realized that a person could combine technology and weightlifting and that’s how I got the idea [for the course],” he said.
Most of the courses that the kinesiology department offers, such as yoga or backpacking, run a regular class schedule requiring student attendance. This class is the first of its kind, and some of the students who enrolled wondered what the class’ objectives were and how it would operate when they registered for it.
“I thought it was weird,” senior Brittany Fletcher said. “I thought, ‘How do you do an activity online?’ It’s like online eating or something.”
According to McNamara, the course was designed so that students can work out at their own convenience, at a specific time or day every week.
Besides fulfilling credit requirements, many students enrolled are hoping to learn something about exercising.
“I would like to know the proper way to lift weights, and I think that it would motivate me to lift weights more,” sophomore Kate Schuster said.
Students in McNamara’s online weight-training course are expected to attend class at Pearson Hall for the first two weeks to learn specific exercises. These include the proper way to bench press, lunge, squat and the proper way to use the Nautilus machines.
For the next 11 weeks of the semester, students are expected to establish a workout routine incorporating the exercises they learned. They can exercise at the IBC Student Rec Center, at home or in Pearson Hall where the weight room will be left open for them certain hours of the week.
The course requires the students to record their workout sessions and progress in a log on Blackboard. For the last two weeks of the semester, students will return to class and perform practical tests based on what they have been doing for the semester.
Some may be skeptical about how determined the students might be to create and stick to a specific weight training program. Those who are enrolled in McNamara’s class are enthusiastic.
“I think [this course] will be challenging. I think that I can learn how to effectively lift weights. It will also enable me to manage my classes better as well,” senior Dan D’Antonio said.
However, McNamara made sure that students know not to do certain exercises, such as bench pressing, at home, because home gym equipment is proven to be not as safe. Students are notified about certain exercises, plus exercises that they must do with a person to spot, or monitor, what they are doing.
“I know that safety is of utmost importance, so I made sure I restricted certain ones,” McNamara said. “I want them to be able to work out safely with the principles of weight training and know how to put a good weight training program together.”
Diana Huynh can be reached at email@example.com.