Penn State's Lift For Life has been an annual fund-raising event for three years now. But before the challenge was transformed into a public competition to help raise money and awareness for the fight against kidney cancer, it had already been established as a mid-summer highlight of the Nittany Lions' off-season workout program.
Penn State strength coach John Thomas devised the multiple-exercise event to give the athletes something for which too shoot while working out in the off-season. To make it a bit more fun, he added several strong-man type exercises (like the giant tire flip) and broke the squad into many teams of four.
Now a fifth-year senior, Michael Robinson remembers his first exposure to the mid-summer challenge as an incoming freshman back in 2001. He was asked to be on a team with veteran offensive lineman Matt Schmitt and others.
I was warming up to do a regular workout, and they said, 'Hey, you want to be on our team? ' Robinson recalled. Then I saw these big tires out here, and said I got myself into something I don't want to be in.
So what exactly is it like for a rookie to endure the Lift For Life, which involves 11 exercises with practically no time for rest between stations? That's what we wanted to know, so at last Friday's LFL festivities, prep All-American linebacker Jerome Hayes was nice enough to allow us to follow him through the event.
Was Hayes up to the LFL challenge? You can see for yourself in this video clip.