In an era dominated by schools battling it out for the nicest facilities, Wisconsin strength and conditioning coach Ben Herbert beleives that there's something really special about getting after it in an old school weight room.
Herbert says that when recruits would visit the old weight room they would always ask, "‘How do you go out and do the things you do?" because the other weight room facilities that they had visited were so much bigger and newer.
“A weight room, for us, is a place to get work done. Guys are going to come, they’re going to grind, they’re going to sweat, they’re going to sacrifice on a daily basis. The thing about the old space we had, it developed an aura. It wasn’t the prettiest, it’s not a health club-esque environment, although we kept it organized, neat and clean."
“When you came in, it was just a place you wanted to work in, you weren’t afraid to get chalk on the floor, you weren’t afraid to sweat.”
While construction continues on their new weight room set up in the Student-Athlete Performance Center on the north end of Camp Randall Stadium, they're making due with a temporary 10,000 square foot set up for the season. The final phase of construction on the new facility should get started around the same time that they would leave for a possible bowl trip.
The new facility will double the square footage that they had available in the old one, jumping from 8,300 square feet to 17,000, featuring 23 power stations that can be used for benching, squatting, or platform lifts.
Herbert admits that had some hesitations about moving into a new facility, in an environment where they would have to create their own "aura".
“When you get attached to something like that, when we flowed into this new space, I wasn’t sure, is it going to feel the same? Is it going to be the same? Right out of the gate, I was happy. Guys came in and they knew, it’s not the finished product, but we came in and got to work right away. It became refreshing to me, a new environment can stimulate you mentally. That’s important.”