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Facility offers improvement in sport, life


Viking Performance Training provides full-body, custom programs

If you’re looking for a cookie-cutter workout full of fancy, complicated machines, Viking Performance Training probably isn’t for you.
But if you’re in the market for a full-body, custom prepared program that uses everything from classic strength-training exercises to lifting cars like a strongman contestant on TV, then, Jerry Handley says he’s got you covered.
A strength training coach for WVU for 10 years, Handley said he opened Viking Performance — on Green Bag Road in the former Bookshelf space — so that everyone, athlete or not, could experience that same level of fitness.
“[I wanted] to offer that same chance for participation and strength training for the general public,” he said.
Handley,  a certified strength and conditioning specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association and a strength and conditioning coach through the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association, said Viking Performance and its workouts center around the basic philosophy that free weight training is the best means for “true strength conditioning.”
“It will improve your performance not only in sport, but in life,” Handley said.
After a few sessions with Viking’s trainers, he said, clients are bound to feel stronger, have more energy and see an overallimprovement in their physical and mental well-being.
“Change is about doing the work required to get from point A to point B, but especially having your body utilize as many muscles as possible while doing, rather than having it be isolated by a machine that just encompasses one single movement.”
To that end, Handley said, the gym operates under three basic tenets: Barbell lifting, Olympic training and strongman training.
It’s the strongman aspect that he believes makes Viking Performance stand out, he said.
“It’s the most unique aspect of the gym that no one else in the area has any of the equipment, let alone how much we have.”
That equipment includes kegs, giant tires and even a contraption that allows a client to back his or her car up onto it — and then lift it.
There are rows of kettle bells, weight benches and free weights. Trainers routinely use  items such as beach balls and even one’s own body weight to achieve a goal.
It’s a far cry from the treadmills and elliptical machines found in most gyms.
No matter what equipment a client uses, his or her workout will be designed for him or her alone, Handley said. Individual attention — and a tailor-made program — is ultimately what Viking Performance is all about.
Bryce Bowman, a professional swimmer and WVU grad who is training for the 2016 Olympics, said he enjoys working out at Viking because of that individual attention, as well as the skill of the trainers and the supportive atmosphere.
Having known Handley during his time as a WVU athlete,  Bowman said he knew he would be in good hands at Viking.
“I felt comfortable being around [Handley], and I knew his intensity and love was going to drive me to the next level of my sport,” he said. “I always saw the way Jerry conducted his workouts and his knowledge that he brought.”
“No [two] people  in this gym are getting the same workout,” Handley said. That’s why he meets with every client, to discuss short term and long term goals, injury history, the client’s workout history and more.
“We’re really giving that full attention to detail, be it mixing Olympic training with strong man, or mixing body weight exercises with cardiovascular conditioning whether its running or jump rope, and finding the best approach for somebody,” Handley said.