As much (and more) than even in the spring, summer workouts emphasize heavy lifting with every athlete working to increase his strength on the four core lifts.">
As much (and more) than even in the spring, summer workouts emphasize heavy lifting with every athlete working to increase his strength on the four core lifts.">

Photo report: Don't forget the "strength&quot

Most of the talk centers on wind sprints and running, leading fans to assume that summertime is a time for "conditioning" more than "strength." But Head S&C Coach Ben Pollard begs to differ. <br><br>As much (and more) than even in the spring, summer workouts emphasize heavy lifting with every athlete working to increase his strength on the four core lifts.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Spencer Pennington concentrates on a front squat. Performed occasionally as a "training" exercise for the hang clean, the front squat requires virtually perfect posture, forcing the athlete to maintain tight abdominal muscles and involving more of the quadricep muscles in the leg. Though it mimics how the athlete "racks" the bar on the hang clean, the wrists function only for balance on the front squat, as the weight of the bar mostly rests on the shoulders.


Senior wide receiver Joel Babb shows good form on the flat bench press. Though you hear a lot of talk about wind sprints and pass skel drills during the summer, the athletes absolutely do not stop their heavy lifting. In fact, freed from the daily pounding of football practice, summertime is a period for progress in the weight room. Coach Pollard will test his athletes again on all four core lifts before the start of fall two-a-days.


Demonstrating an almost textbook "push press," Dre Fulgham powers the bar over his head. As the picture shows, the exercise works on explosiveness from the legs and hips. Note that Fulgham's legs are slightly offset, resembling a receiver's stance as closely as possible. Overhead exercises are relatively hard on the shoulders, so Pollard is cautious in using them. Sport-specific for basketball, Coach Steve Martin would use them more often when training the basketball squad.


With Gerald Dixon over his right shoulder, redshirt freshman linebacker Juke King waits his turn to lift. When King first arrived on campus, the question was whether he'd be a safety or linebacker. Hours of lifting and added muscle later, he clearly fits the part of linebacker. It's not so much that King weighs significantly more, but he's traded fat for muscle over the past year as he bulked up.


Another redshirt freshman who has switched positions from when he first arrived on campus, Rover Mark Anderson does "tic tacs" to strengthen his abs. Initially worked at defensive end, Anderson was moved to Rover by Coach Torbush to utilize his speed and height off the edge. With tic tacs, the athlete balances on his butt, moving the plate back and forth, touching the floor on each side. Two touches equal one repetition. Normally you do 10-25 reps with a 10-pound plate, though that can be increased.


Continuing to work the abdominal muscles before heavy lifting, senior defensive tackle Kenny King performs "toe touch crunches." Strong abdominal muscles support the lower back, increasing efficiency on all lifts, including the squat and hang clean.


Senior center Alonzo Ephraim works on his footwork in the ladder drill. Specifically he's using what's called the "cowboy shuffle," touching both feet inside and out of the ladder as he moves along. The athletes are emphasizing foot speed and quickness, always working to get faster. With strength coaches hollering "Stay off of my ladder! I want to see ATHLETES!" the exercise is not nearly as easy as it looks.


Showing very good form on the high pull, junior defensive tackle Anthony Bryant keeps his elbows high. A warm-up exercise for the hang clean, Coach Pollard wants the athletes to get out of the habit of using a sort of reverse curl when they clean the weight to shoulder height. This exercise "reminds" the athlete to use proper technique, going up on their toes to get maximum "triple extension" in the ankle, knee and hip joints.



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