Machines and weights available for students to use


Before the 1990s, the Ventura High School weight room was situated in agricultural biology teacher Amy Lewandoski’s floriculture room. Photo by: Alejandro Hernandez

Alejandro Hernandez

The VHS weight room is open to all

The VHS weight room, located near the portable classrooms and officially denoted as rooms 115 to 117, is frequented by various VHS athletic programs, including the football, basketball, soccer, water polo and track and field teams.

In addition, the weightlifting club, advised by English teacher Michael Saltzman, occupies the weight room during lunch daily. The club has about 60 members.

Saltzman said, “[The weight room is] such a great resource to help all of our student athletes stay healthy and in shape throughout the year. It’s also a great opportunity for students who don’t think of themselves as athletes to build confidence and feel like they are part of a community on campus.”

Jossian Petatan ‘24, a weightlifting club member, said, “[Visiting the weight room] is a good way to blow some anger, change your body to be the way you want it [and] a little bit of mindset. Everybody is welcome. Everybody deserves a chance to change their body.”

Carlos Martinez ’26, a weightlifting club member, said, “I already started working out before [I joined the club]. I joined because I wanted to be a bit more active with the weights and progress overload.” Photo by: Alejandro Hernandez
The weight room has a diverse selection of fitness equipment, both free weights and machines. Not all of the machines are operational, and occasionally, machines are replaced and introduced. For example, Saltzman installed a new pull-up bar in early January following the winter break.

The pull-up bar was funded by DonorsChoose, a nonprofit organization that allows people to donate to public school projects. It is the only pull-up bar in the weight room, as all the other pull-up bars on campus are outdoors.

Saltzman said, “It was important to me to have [a pull-up bar] available for students in the weight room. It was something that many of the students had asked for so they were excited when it became available. It’s been used every day since we got it.”

VHS Athletic Director David Hess said, “Strength conditioning is an important part of preparing for athletic competition. It used to be mainly just football teams that used to strength condition but now it’s very common in different sports. Even cross country will go in there sometimes. They don’t do heavy lifting, but there [are] benefits to strength training in just about every sport.”

The weight room is funded through many sources. The Ventura Unified School District has maintained the actual building in which the weight room is situated. However, most weight room equipment was funded by individual VHS athletic teams, as well as private donations.

Saltzman said, “You don’t have to be able to lift heavy weights to find value in the weight room. Everyone starts somewhere and everyone has the same day one. Today is a great day to start building strength in your life.”