Scott Sinclair, Director of Strength and Conditioning for football, at the University of Georgia, discusses how he went about upgrading the Bulldogs' cardio and strength equipment. Scott offers insights on why new equipment was needed, as well as how he found a vendor that fulfilled his program's needs.
What was your goal when outfitting your facility?
I think one of the goals we had when outfitting our weight room was functionality — having the ability to have our players not wait around for a rack or for a machine and they can go right into the workout and not waiting. And we've actually cut down probably 15 minutes or so from our workouts, just having the ability for those guys to be able to work out and not wait around on things.
What challenges were you looking to overcome with this project?
I think probably the biggest challenge was in our old weight room. We had not a lot of space and our workouts took longer than expected because players had to wait around to be able to use a piece of equipment, to use a rack, to use a bar, to use dumbbells. And so what we wanted to accomplish is being able to have a time management deal where players could come in, we could get our workout done, and we could move on. And the other piece of that would be a connection piece that was part of our DNA trait here with Georgia football — we talk about connection a lot, and having the ability to have a whole team come in to our weight room and work out at one time really gives us that connection piece that we've been missing. And having our new 24,000-square-foot weight room gives us that chance to have that connection piece that we've never had.
How were you introduced to Matrix and why did you choose to work with Matrix?
One of the ways I was introduced to Matrix, and one of the main reasons I wanted to work with them, was Kelly Neuhauser. I've known Kelly for a long time, and I think a lot of Kelly. I think his customer service to Matrix and to me and to the client is really, really, really good, topnotch. And some of the products that Matrix had I really liked. In particular, the glute machine. It's really been an integral piece of our training and it's been able to allow our players to get in and out of a machine in a short amount of time and still do the exercise correctly. So, functionality. I think Kelly Neuhauser and his professionalism and the client experience that he provides. And then the treadmills upstairs have been really huge. And him talking about the Matrix treadmill, and what they had to offer. It just kind of was a no-brainer for me.
What kind of feedback have your athletes provided?
Some of the feedback that our athletes have provided on our Matrix equipment, number one is how easy it is to get in and out of some of our machines that we have. The old way we were doing a certain exercise, it just took a lot of setup, it took a lot of breakdown, it didn't feel great on the athletes when they were doing the exercise. And the glute machine in particular gives us that chance to get in and out and it doesn't hurt and it's easy to program. And so our players definitely like that. Having the ability to have those guys use our treadmills and our cardio pieces with the screens on them has really kept them on the machines longer and allowed our bigger players that may need to do extra cardio, it allowed them to stay on a machine longer because they could watch a video where they could connect their phone to it and it wasn't pulling teeth to get them to be able to use it. The other thing we've heard a lot of is how smooth some of their cardio machines are — the Matrix cardio machines, and how the treads are nice and smooth. It doesn't feel like you're running on a treadmill. It feels like you're running on a nice surface. So those things have really been good feedback that we felt and heard from our players and other people that are working out in our facility.
What advice would you give to other universities undergoing a similar project?
Some of the advice I think I'd give other universities and other places that are looking to improve their weight room or their fitness facility or really doing another room is, I think, number one, you've got to have space. I think you crowd too many machines and racks and everything else in a room, and then before you know it, you don't have space to be able to train. So I do think the space is huge. I think you have to buy equipment and racks and dumbbells and all those kind of things based on how you're going to program and how you're training your athletes. Don't buy something if you're not going to use it. And then I think the third probably would be go with a reputable brand, go with someone that's going to treat you, the client, the right way. If something breaks, if something isn’t working right, if something tears up, you know that that person is going to be right in to fix it and to make it right and do whatever they need to do to make it right. So next time you're in the business of buying more equipment, you know who to go to. Space is number one for sure.