Lion's Eye Favorite: Conditioning Program Strengthens Athletes
July 14, 2009
Athletes at all levels are benefiting from sports training programs that help tune and tone performance. Now, the PEA community—from varsity athletes to workout enthusiasts—can enhance their skills and experiences in a recently developed strength and conditioning program.
Christy '10 is one of the many varsity swimmers who work out two or three times a week in the Weight Room. "I love our dry land sessions. Our workouts are challenging, but because we do them as a team, we make them fun. They are a nice change of pace to our usual, long pool sets." Petra '10 agrees. "It's great to hop out of the pool and switch up the type of training with fun exercises that I've never done before. I know it's working because I always wake up the next morning with a new burn in my muscles!"
When the Weight Room was recently upgraded with 3 new Power Racks, Athletic Director Rob Morris decided to bring in a strength and conditioning coach to teach students, faculty and staff how to benefit most from the equipment. Enter Coach Andrea Sweet who, along with other monitors, provides consistent oversight and advice. Sweet is also a resource for PE fitness classes and works directly with sports teams on conditioning programs.
"Injury prevention is #1," says Sweet. Key to this goal is promoting proper techniques so that athletes can control their bodies when they compete. "During competition, athletes are going 100%—they are not holding anything back. If we train and fine-tune their motor skills before competition—proper jumping and landing technique, core stability and running form—it will become second nature, ultimately helping to reduce injuries." The end result will be athletes playing more and performing better. "Their first step will be faster; they'll have more speed and more power in each step or push," says Sweet.
For Gregory '10, a varsity basketball player who worked out in the evenings after class, preseason conditioning led to quick results. "I gained weight as I grew stronger, improved my quickness, explosiveness, and speed all through the structured conditioning program incorporated into our daily workouts. Without that, I would have been lost this fall in trying to improve my fitness."
Team coaches have seen the positive effects of the new conditioning programs. Field Hockey Coach Mercy Carbonell recalls, "In one two-hour conversation with Coach Sweet, I learned more about strength and conditioning than I have in years." As for how the team responded to the new workout program, Carbonell remarked, "They loved the workouts. Sweet challenged them to work muscles they may have forgotten they had while demanding that they pay careful attention to their form. She brought a seriousness of purpose, a sense of efficiency, and a belief in getting the work done well."
For injured athletes, the strength and conditioning program provides a well designed path back to competitive play. Athletic trainers work with the school physical therapist to develop a plan for each injury. A student might typically spend time in the Training Room for initial rehab activities – such as the whirlpool and icing – and then progress to the Weight Room or the pool before returning to competition. The trainers and physical therapist closely monitor progress throughout the recovery period.
Swimmer Erin '10 is a fan of the program. "We do a lot of stabilization work, which has helped everyone ward off problems. I feel stronger. I'm already going faster now than I was at this point in the season last year. I know that once we rest up for our championship meet, it's going to really show."
Stop by the Weight Room to try out the new Power Racks, with their added safety features. There is also an assortment of equipment including upright bikes, and elliptical, treadmill, and StairMaster® machines. The free weight area has over 1,000 pounds of weights for use with or without the Power Racks.
Interested in learning more?
Read about PEA Sports Medicine, including the Lamont Health & Wellness Center.
Check out the athletic facilities.
See the athletic schedule and team pages.
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Lion's note: this story originally appeared on March 31, 2009.