Area athletes are getting stronger thanks to a strength-training program started this summer, made possible, in part, with a donation for a weight machine from RiverView Health.

    Nate Lubarski, who volunteered his time to get Pirate Circuit started, describes the new machine as a seven-station universal weight machine that allows the weight to be changed quickly with the use of a pin. The workout the athletes get using the machine is based on time; therefore, the machine is beneficial because the weight can be changed in a matter of seconds.

    Lubarski describes Pirate Circuit as ideal for beginners who are just starting to lift weight, as well as athletes all the way through high school. At the younger age, especially, the focus is on form and performing the lifts correctly. Lubarski said the beauty of this strength-training program is that it keeps moving quickly, with each session completed in 36 minutes, helping to keep the kids’ attention. Because of the program’s short time commitment, the athletes are able to work it into their practice time and maintain the training all year long, whether they are currently in a sport or are training for the upcoming season.

    Pirate Circuit ran three days a week all summer. Currently, the seventh and eighth grade football team incorporates the program into its practices, the girls’ soccer team uses the program two times a week, and Tim Moe, Crookston teacher/girls’ hockey coach, supervises the program three days a week after school for those not currently in a sport but who want to continue training.

    “I wanted to see this available in Crookston because I have seen the results first hand and know this program works,’’ Lubarski shared of the program his father, Conrad, ran for many years in his hometown of Argyle. 

    Donations for Pirate Circuit came from RiverView, Crookston Youth Basketball, Hot Stove Hockey, Dee Incorporated, Crookston United Insurance and Biermaier Chiropractic.  The City of Crookston donated space to use in the Crookston Sports Center and allowed changes to be made to the weight room in order to fit the machine and program in that space.

    Lubarski thanks volunteers who donated their time and knowledge to help the kids get stronger both mentally and physically. He credits RiverView’s Crystal Maruska, director of Rehab Services, and Tony Kuchan, physical therapist, with donating their time to help develop the program, coach and cheer the kids on; Darcey Larsen, dietitian, for teaching the athletes about the importance of a healthy diet and taking care of themselves; and Stacey Bruggeman, director of Marketing, for the idea of creating a commitment schedule with awards for goals met.

    “The project would not have happened without RiverView,’’ Lubarski reported. “I am so thankful first for the monetary donation towards the machine, but probably even more amazing was the commitment they made to the program itself.  The time and talented people they made available to our kids was priceless.  I can't tell you what a boost it is to a program when you have professional people willing to set your stretching routine for you and give kids needed and quality information on how to lift and take care of their bodies.  A huge thank you to Carrie Michalski (RiverView President/CEO) for allowing her wonderful staff the time to be with us and share all their knowledge. It has been a heartwarming team effort from RiverView and I cannot tell you what a difference it is and will continue to make in the confidence and strength of our youth.’’