Photo Gallery - Bench Press Max Out
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - While the Nittany Lion football team is just 13 days from returning to the practice field for the start of spring drills, the group is not thinking about putting the pads back on quite yet.
Led be Director of Performance Enhancement Dwight Galt, the football squad is participating in a three-day physical testing period to measure the progress it has made since winter conditioning began in January and to set a baseline leading into the summer workout season.
The Nittany Lions kicked off the testing week on Monday by running the 40-yard dash inside Holuba Hall and maxing out on the bench press in the weight room. Tuesday's testing features vertical testing, the shuttle run, broad jump and the power clean max out in the weight room. The testing will culminate on Wednesday with a squatting max out session in the weight room.
"You always want to do the 40s first. We only do them once a year, and you want to get a really good time," Galt said. "We always do that first. After that, we did the bench press. Then, we have all of our movement stuff. We have our pro shuttle, our vertical and our broad jump. Then we have our power clean. On Wednesday, we do our squat. Because once you do the squat you are kind of done...The thing that I really believe in is that when they test, it is actually a training day for us."
The testing period is evaluated by something Galt calls a "T-Score". The T-Score assigns values for each of the events during the testing. The scale ranges from 1-100, with 75 the number each athlete strives for on each event. Galt said that 75 or better is a good score, with a 90-100 score in the range of a higher draft pick in the NFL. The score for each event is totaled before taking the average. The final average is the number Galt hopes to see at 75 or higher.
"I have very high expectations here of what that T-Score will be," Galt said.
Roughly eight weeks into the winter conditioning program, Galt is confident in where the team is at during the final week of strength and conditioning before the student-athletes are off for spring break next week. The team has lifted three days a week and conditioned during the early-morning hours the other two days.
"I feel good about where we are right now," Galt said. "One thing you are going to find out about me is that we are an all-year around go (group). We're going to lift on Friday after the winter workout. Then, we will take basically nine days off (for spring break). Then they come back. And the spring ball weight training cycle is no different than the offseason. It is the same thing. We're going to crank all through spring ball."
Where has Galt seen the most progress since he arrived on campus in mid-January?
"I think they've done a great job with strength and power," Galt said. "I had six really good speed workouts before we started our winter workouts...We've made really good progress there, but we have a ways to go (through the summer). But from a strength and power standpoint, we're basically in our eighth week. I think they've done a really good job increasing that area of gain with a good lean mass. We've put some good size on the team. We've set some really good body weight games."
The winter workout period is often a time where the team leaders for the upcoming season emerge. The players battle through adversity in the weight room and during the conditioning tests, setting up an opportunity for the players to establish themselves as leaders. While Galt mentioned a few names as guys who have evolved as leaders for the 2014 season, he said that the thing that impresses him most about the Nittany Lions is their workmanlike approach to every workout.
"We have great leadership," Galt said. "The first week, we had no music (in the weight room). You've got to earn the music. Obviously, they've earned it because we are cleaning our ears out (laughter). They had to earn that, but by in large, these guys are typically just roll the sleeves up, work and don't say much. That's one thing that Coach Franklin and I'm working strongly is to get them to be more vocal. But they work so stinking hard that you don't need the motivation. They are very motivated."
The Nittany Lions are counting down the days before the start of spring practice, but they have an eye on the bigger picture. The 2014 season is just around the corner, and they have one thing in mind.
"We want to be the hardest working team in the country. No doubt. We don't want anyone to be our peer in that area. That's what we always strive for," Galt said.
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