Going for Gold: Athletic Training Meets Research, Science and Innovation at The Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport
Article by Nina S Rafeek
Did you know that some of Canada’s best athletes have trained at the athletic facilities right here at The University of Toronto?
On August 5th, when the world is watching the opening ceremonies in Rio, our flag will be proudly carried by gold medal Olympian on trampoline and UofT student, Rosie MacLennan. Kylie Masse, another UofT student, who was named “female swimmer of 2016” recently broke two national records in the 50m backstroke, and will also be competing in the Rio Olympics. Cheer them on! Both athletes, among many, have trained at the UofT.
The University of Toronto athletic facilities are fit for world-class athletes because they combine the latest technology and state-of-the-art equipment backed by the latest research facilitated by our world-class faculty.
Whether you are looking to train like Rosie MacLennan or just keep in shape between the marathon study sessions, the award-winning Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport, the University’s newest athletic facility, can accommodate every fitness level. It is not just for high performance athletes, it is a training and recreation centre open to the public and to the whole university community. A membership is included for UofT students who are paying the athletic incidental fee.
The Goldring Centre has a 2,000 seat field house for Basketball, Volleyball and other court sports, a strength and conditioning facility, a speed and power centre, a fitness studio, a sports medicine clinic and houses research and teaching laboratories.
The influence of science and technology is evident in the equipment chosen for this facility and plays an integral role in the improvement, maintenance, measurement and rehabilitation of physical fitness.
Alex Schwartz, MSc. (Exercise Physiology) is a personal trainer and nutritionist at the Goldring Centre. He is also a PhD student of Nutritional Sciences at the UofT Faculty of Medicine. He provided a tour of the facilities and shared his expertise around the equipment at the Centre.
What is some of the newest equipment and technology at the Goldring Centre?
“The force plates measure the vertical component of force in the geometric center of the platform. If an athlete makes a standing jump from a force plate, the data from the plate alone is sufficient to calculate acceleration, work, power output, jump angle, and jump distance using basic physics.”
The Pneumatic Pressure Resistance Machines
The pneumatic pressure resistance machines use pneumatic pressure so that you can adjust the weight with the touch of a button in smaller increments, as opposed to 3, 5, 10 and 15 pound dumbbells. “They provide an additional level of resistance that you wouldn’t be able to get with any other machine. It is also used to train specific muscles involved in the kinetic chain in a compound movement such as a throw,” says Schwartz.
The Versa Climber
Using the resistance of a chain system, the versa climbers provide cardiovascular conditioning without the additional strain from running or sprinting.
Swartz demonstrated the Olympic bars and dumbbells, which also have science and engineering intelligence behind them: the engineering and design of the Safety Squat Bar and the Hexagonal “Trap” Bar ensures “proper posture during a squat, disperses pressure to the right joints, therefore decreasing injury,” says Schwartz.
“Good for all Sports”
“Most sports involve a tremendous amount of lower body strength and require compound movements This equipment ensures that athletes perform this type of training safely and effectively,” says Schwartz.
Coach Carl Georgevski, head coach of the Varsity Blues Track and Field team shared his advice for someone who is trying to get in shape but is not sure where to start.
“We have got a great fitness and recreation staff here and they could guide you through a weight training program for you to a simple fitness program that can involve aerobics, cycling, swimming, etc,” says Georgevski.
He continues: “One of the best things about universities and the reason we go to university is to learn and ask to questions, so use that kind of attitude when you come to the Goldring Centre. Ask one the staff members, “how do I use this thing?”
Stay tuned for part 2 of the science and technology and sports performance around the Goldring with an interview with coaches Carl Georgevski and John Campbell.