Our first goal in strength and conditioning department is to reduce the likelihood of sport related injuries through appropriate conditioning programs. We want each athlete to have a healthy and injury free collegiate athletic career. Again, we incorporate progressive training methods to prepare the athletes body for the increasing stress of resistance training. The only way to benefit from strength training is to let the body undergo stress from load. We apply injury prevention everyday in every lift. We watch technique and constantly critique our athletes in every phase of training.
Our goal is to manipulate and simulate variables that may take place on the court or on the field. We will place athletes in a controlled and safe environment, but challenge their balance and stability. We apply principles of proprioception allowing the body to adjust to unpredictable stressors that an athlete may experience. Performing exercises on a single leg or unstable surfaces helps the body prepare for those unexpected moments.
Under proper supervision the weight room becomes a safe and effective training environment to all athletes. To ensure this we stress technique and the importance of progressive training. Anytime new lifts are implemented such as a power clean. We create observation stations with a ratio of one strength trainer to 1.5 athletes. This provides proper instruction and supervision.
Many athletes have a tendency of lifting too heavy. During learning periods of training (especially incoming freshman athletes) we stress the importance of lighter loads and working in pairs (underclassman with upperclassman athletes). Lighter loads create an easier and safer learning environment. Proper lifting involves the relationship between brain and body. With lighter loads we can help manipulate the weight so the body knows the difference between good and bad technique. When good technique is performed we make sure to positively reinforce those actions. Once movement is learned and after repetition, muscle memory takes over. The pairing of underclassman and upperclassman provides additional helping eyes and hardworking attitudes.
Another area of concern is range of motion or the flexibility of an athlete. Using the advanced movement of the power clean, individuals new to the lift do not have the proper range of motion to properly rest the bar on the shoulders across the clavicle into the “catch” phase. Instead of allowing the athlete to “get better” in the catch phase, we actually erase the catch from the entire lift. We do this to prevent any type of injury to the lifter. As an alternative exercise, the individual will only complete a clean pull, or basically the first movement of a power clean. Then we show the athlete stretches or warm up movements to increase the ROM in the shoulders and back. Once the individual increases their ROM, we slowly progress to full motion (power clean) with increasing loads until the full dynamic movement is learned properly.