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Y stresses strength, safety

| Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
YMCA Wellness Director Bill Poninsky helps potential student Taylor Eagle, 11, of Uniontown work on one of the machines that will be part of the youth strength-training program. MARILYN FORBES I FOR THE TRIBUNE-REVIEW

Stressing the importance of education and safety, the Uniontown YMCA offers both and more as it debuts its Youth Strength Training Class for the new year.

With a focus on youths 11 through 13, the program will introduce students to the fundamentals of proper exercise and strength training, while preparing them for any future exercise or sports programs that they may be interested in.

“We realized that we had a gap,” Uniontown YMCA CEO Rod Berger said. “We had programs for younger children and many things for adults to do, but nothing really geared just to that age group.”

YMCA Wellness Director Bill Poninsky runs the new class and believes the instruction will benefit any youths who wish to remain active and fit, and because the wellness center has an age limit, the program offers the students the opportunity to use equipment that would otherwise be off limits for them for a few years.

“This is a good opportunity for them to use the equipment,” Poninsky said of the Selectorized gear that is featured in the program, adding that exercise and safety are a part of the regime. “We will work on muscle groups and the proper way to do exercises.”

Equipment safety and weight room etiquette are included in the weekly classes.

“We teach them how to clean off the machines when they are done and about how to use rotation on equipment that may have more than one person at a time who wishes to use it,” Poninsky said. “It's basic etiquette.”

The classes will help its students to learn to develop exercise that benefit the entire body, guidelines for resistance exercises, how to design an exercise program that will meet each individual's needs, how to determine when it is necessary to have someone spot for them, how often to work out and how to determine how many of what exercise to do.

“We want them to learn the basics of strength training so they have an idea of what it is all about without them getting hurt or doing something improperly,” Poninsky said. “This is a good program for all kids that age to get them active, and teach them the benefits of exercise. If they are going to play any type of sport, for school or otherwise, this will help them with that, plus it will also help them with self esteem. You look better and you feel better when you engage in regular exercise.”

Marilyn Forbes is a freelance writer.

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