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Glenbrook Story: Perch Technology Enhances GBS Students Athletic Training

Glenbrook Story: Perch Technology Enhances GBS Students Athletic Training
Glenbrook Communications

Glenbrook South is one of the first public high schools in the country to use ‘Perch’ an MIT-developed weight room technology that helps athletes train starters and reduces the risk of injury. 

District 225 Instructional Innovation Director Ryan Bretga said the technology is composed of a 3D camera and tablet that are effortlessly attached to weight racks.

“Velocity-based training is a way to auto irregulate your training and by that I mean you can come in and instead of moving a set weight or a percentage that your body doesn’t really know what is 80 percent. What it does know is whether you’re moving the bar well or not,” Bretag said.

An individual will walk up to the tablet, log in, select their circuit and begin weight lifting. The camera will record an individual’s movement and instantaneously displays important metrics like sets, reps, velocity and power output on the tablet. The data is stored and saved to Perch’s web application to monitor how to approach future workouts.

GBS Assistant Principal of Athletics Tom Mietus said, “The biggest mindset shift that I’ve seen is that people are a little bit more comfortable to go in there because they are not taking who they are lifting and comparing themselves to somebody else and I see that all the time.”

GBS Senior Xander Hwang said, “I definitely got stronger. I improved my max from the beginning of the year to the end of the year. And then my actual game playing soccer I felt sturdier, more centered.”

All 14 racks at GBS were equipped with the technology over the summer. 

“Like many things that we do here that are leaning edge, one school usually embarks upon it first while the other is very much involved and aware. So, I very much see Glenbrook North getting involved in it and I see it expanding even into our general fitness areas right here so that more students have access,” Bretag said.

GBS Junior Ellie Moen said the Perch technology is like having a personalized mathematician and trainer at the same time.

“I started weight lifting because I love to do it and I found being a dancer it’s given me number one a lot more confidence in where my strength comes from and knowing how to train my body and what muscles to help me in the dance world,” Moen said. 

Mietus envisions the school using this new technology in other classrooms.

“Whether it’s math, science there are so many things that we can utilize it with, and that’s kind of where I see this going with that cross-curricular activity is being able to bring a class down, show them what we are doing where it’s math or science and be able to utilize it in the classroom, not just in physical education or athletics,” Mietus said.

Professional teams across the country have begun using the same equipment as well. Those teams include Miami Dolphins, LA Chargers and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Some college teams that are also using the technology include the University of Missouri - Football, University of Georgia - Football, University of Kentucky - Basketball, and BYU Olympic Sports.

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