Walking into the current 2600 square foot weightlifting room at Seaside High School feels like focused chaos. Kids passing through the front doors turn into athletes crossing the threshold from school and life into lifting and training. Each athlete working on improvement in their own various ways.

I’ve been inside of all sorts of different gyms across the Pacific Northwest. Corporate gyms, Crossfit boxes, and Private Studios but I have never seen such a well-equipped organized public school program. Seaside Barbell makes a mark.

Seaside Barbell Club
Coach Marjorie Leary helps athlete Sierra Bailey with her bench press.
Photo credit: Lara Foster

Marjorie Leary is the official Head Strength & Conditioning Coach for SHS. She also assists in coaching Track. Her training skills broaden into coaching adults daily as well. Dan Leary assists with all of the programming, research, and leadership that a club like this entails. Both Dan and Marjorie work as a team to give these kids a fitness foundation for LIFE.

The Leary’s brought their expertise to the SHS weightlifting program in 2010 and have been consistently running it every year since.

Seaside Barbell Club
Coach Dan Leary discusses proper breathing techniques with athlete Isaiahs Jantes for the next exercise.
Photo credit: Lara Foster

“Our involvement started with Seaside Football,” Dan recalls. “It was Head Football Coach Jeff Roberts who really dedicated to the program.” Roberts wanted his Football team to be explosive, fast and bulletproof. During that first year, the Leary’s set up a strength base of push/pull/squat exercises primarily inspired by Dan John’s lifting and throwing philosophies. This helped the players get stronger and quicker at the same time with the extra added bonus of staying injury free.

During the same year Girls Basketball Head Coach Mike Jacobsen also got in on the action. Bringing the entire team onboard with the Leary’s application of lifting. The strength training proved to be beneficial not just for boys, not even just for girls, but for Athletes and students as a whole. There is a misconception out there that athletes only play sports. But really, if you have a body and you move around, you are an athlete. An athlete of Life.

Enhancing athlete’s abilities is the primary focus of the Seaside Barbell Club. The Goal? Empower these kids and teach them up.

Seaside Barbell Club
Stepping through this door students become athletes who train and improve.
Photo credit: Lara Foster

“We always start the kids with a consistent 3-4 week basic program. If they show up and make it through those few weeks then we’ll open the door to some of the more intense training,” said Coach Dan who is technically a volunteer to the program. But watching him interact with the kids proves this is not just a side gig. This is a passion.

Helping kids move well. Setting kids up for success in their lives. Letting them know that their character and follow through are important and integral aspects of their actions. These are the principles interweaved throughout the exercises. The Leary’s as Coaches hold the kids accountable as Athletes. These kids as Athletes learn how to hold each other accountable and lift each other up to a higher standard of life. Show up. Follow Through. See Progress.

The Leary’s primarily use Conjugate Westside Barbell Programming for the High School. The program foundations focus on dynamic upper and lower movements. Squats, Pushups, Pull-ups, Kettlebell Swings and Sit-ups round out a new-comer’s workout session. Taking a previously un-athletic kid and getting them to move quicker and functionally better all at the same time.

“Most of the kids we have in here are three-sport athletes,” said Coach Marjorie. From football, to soccer, to softball, to track almost every sport was represented in the afternoon session I attended. Even if students don’t play a sport they are welcome to train. One athlete is in band and just wants to get stronger. Every time I’ve stopped by to watch afternoon training sessions he is always there. That’s the kind of commitment and dedication which will produce long-lasting gains of strength.

To incentivize the kids to continue pushing themselves the Leary’s have set up the MOC club with lifting benchmarks set at 750lbs, 1,000lbs, & 1,250lbs. If an athlete can get their total volume of lifts with Squat, Power Clean, Bench and Deadlift past any of these benchmarks then they’re in the club and get a shirt to prove it! M O C = Making of Champions for the group of athletes as a whole. When focusing on the football athletes it turns into Men of Commitment, Class and Character.

Seaside Barbell Club
MOC club athletes are emblazoned with a plaque on the wall.
Photo credit: Lara Foster

“We want these athletes to know they are constantly going to be watched and judged and to make great choices,” explained Coach Dan.

To finish off training for the day the athletes focused on kettlebell rack carries.

“What we’re teaching them here is time under tension, breathing into the shield, the core,” said Coach Dan while watching the athletes walk back and forth with heavy kettlebells racked up on the front of their shoulders in the High School parking lot.

Seaside Barbell Club
Athlete Derek Stewart finishes strong with kettlebell rack carries.
Photo credit: Lara Foster

Even after the workouts are over the strength of character continues for these athletes.

Any kid at Seaside High School is welcome to participate in the Seaside Barbell Club. They don’t need to be involved in sports. They just need a desire to train, to learn, and an ability to show up! The Leary’s will take care of the rest.


(Open to any SHS student)

Fall/Winter/Spring: M-F  6:30am & 3:00pm

Summer: M,T, Th, F  8am & 4 pm

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