Offseason Conditioning Winds Down

Football players are made in the off-season and for several years it has been strength and conditioning coach Matt McGettigan's job to get Iowa State football teams where they need to be heading into the fall. The Cyclones are in the middle of another summer session in Ames and have less than two weeks left in an eight-week program.

Twice the national strength and conditioning coach of the year, McGettigan gives this group of players high marks for their work this summer.

"We started June 2nd, went hard and got off to an outstanding start," said McGettigan. "We're into the final two weeks and will be testing out over a week, combining it with training and testing. That will be July 21st to the 25th. If we can finish strong, we'll be right where we need to be going into camp.

"We've had excellent leadership and the work ethic and competition has been excellent. To this point, I'm very pleased but now we need to finish it strong. What we talk about to these guys is look at what kind of summer you've had to this point and how you're going to finish it."

It's also becoming quite evident that the leadership of this senior class is starting to take shape early on.

From pushing players to gain the much-needed strength and conditioning level needed to compete in the Big 12 to leading by example with solid off-seasons of their own, this year's senior class could be the best at ISU under McCarney.

"This will be our biggest senior class, but now our goal is to make it the best senior class from a leadership standpoint," McGettigan said. "That's what we're looking for. Lane Danielsen, Jordan Carstens, Bob Montgomery and Casey Shelton are doing an outstanding job, leadership-wise. They have set the tempo and tone for this summer. A lot of guys are doing it, it's important to them

"You don't want to be a coach-led team, you want to be a player-led team. Those are the most successful teams. We look back at the teams we've had. The 2000 team with Ryan Harklau, Sage Rosenfels and all of those guys, that was a player-led team. That's what we need to do with this class."

McCarney issued a stern challenge to a select group of players, both privately and publicly, after a New Year's Eve setback in Idaho to Boise State, to make a new commitment in the off-season. So far so good, said McGettigan, who also supervised ISU's winter strength and conditioning program.

"The guys understand," he said. "We went through all of that, with what we need to accomplish, and set goals individually. They know what we're shooting for. Everybody is really on track pretty well. All of the guys (Coach Mac) talked to coming out of the winter are right where they need to be coming into the home stretch."

Testing week will conclude a summer program that McGettigan broke into two phases. It's designed to get players to a certain point early and help maintain and build on that throughout the summer.

"We went phase one and that was for four weeks," he said. "It was three days of lifting per week and we'd run them two days a week. The lifting was two days of total body and one of upper body. For running, Monday was a conditioning day, then one day was a speed and change of direction day. The first phase was meant to provide a workout, base and foundation.

"We came back on week five and went to our four-day program. Monday is a lifting and speed-oriented day, and we work our lower body. Tuesday and Friday are conditioning and upper-body days."

Conditioning is an important factor in summer workouts, especially since many athletes will be asked to perform at a high level in what figures to be one of the nation's toughest schedules.

"Fitness is an important issue, because you have to be fit to play the game," McGettigan said. "When we leave camp, we want our players to be physically fit and ready for the rigors. That's why we go on a four-day program, because it's total volume work. We're developing their work capacity. We have guys lift and run all in the same workout, so we're getting the total amount of work.

"That's the thing high school guys have the hardest time doing. They don't have the ability to perform work at a high level for an extended period of time. They don't have that yet, because it hasn't been developed. It's a big adjustment for them."

Tuesday, in the second part of our special report on summer strength and conditioning workouts at ISU we'll highlight the players that have excelled so far and give you the names of a few that still have some work to do.

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