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The Eastern Kentucky University athletics department has unveiled its brand-new, state-of-the-art strength and conditioning center, and it is drawing rave reviews from strength and conditioning personnel and student-athletes alike.

“There’s nothing that we don’t have now,” EKU Director of Strength and Conditioning Jon-Michael Davis said. “We can address any training needs for our student-athletes.”

The 1,200-square-foot facility, made possible through the support of Life Fitness and a private donation by Ron and Sherrie Lou Noel, serves all 17 varsity sports and more than 300 student-athletes.

It features renowned Hammer Strength equipment – 20 weight racks (720 pounds per rack), 16 pieces of plate-loaded machinery, six pieces of cardio equipment and a 30-yard long by seven yard-wide artificial turf field to be used for warm-ups, sprints, agility training and plyometrics.

“This is not the same equipment that you will find at the rec or a local gym,” Davis said. “Everything is designed for athletic enhancement.”

Davis, specifically, is impressed by the thought and detail put into the design.

“Simple things like levers – we had them elongate the levers for our basketball players and our taller athletes,” he said. “Now they can get full range of motion when working out.”

The weight area stands on Mondo flooring.  The durable, anti-bacterial flooring is soft enough to run on, but strong enough to withstand the impact of dropping weight. 

“Everything in the strength and conditioning center has rubber absorption under it, meaning you can drop any amount of weight anywhere in the building and have sufficient cushioning underneath you. It’s easier on the athletes’ ankles, knees and hips. We can be more explosive and dynamic with our athletic movement because of the absorption. It’s a huge training advantage.”

The facility also boasts a nutrition bar, which features eight smoothie machines and two ice cream dispensers.

“Whether it’s a kid who needs to gain, maintain or lose weight, we can now address their nutritional needs while they are training with us,” Davis said.

And, again, the little details have impressed Davis.

“The front of the bar is made from used bourbon barrels to give it a Kentucky theme.”

Colonel student-athletes have been in the strength and conditioning center for weeks now, and the reviews are in.

“The new weight room is just one way Eastern Kentucky University demonstrates its support for student-athletes,” freshman soccer player Larissa Heslop said. “The weight room allows us to efficiently have the best workouts. Everything we need for strength training and conditioning is there. I am also very excited about the nutritional bar, as nutrition and recovery are a huge aspect of building strength. As a student-athlete, I’m very thankful for everyone that shows support to our teams and for all the work that has gone into make the new weight room.”

“Having such an amazing weight room shows you how much the university cares about its student-athletes,” junior men’s basketball player Dillon Avare said. “It has made athletes want to work out and train even more, just to take advantage of all the new features like the machines, turf and nutrition bar. I know, personally, I’m excited to keep working out in there and use every one of the 20 or so weight racks!”