Being an Arizona State Alum, this past year’s football program seemed like a dream. After all, it hadn’t really seemed like we could be the real deal since I was there in 1996! Every game I was wondering if THIS was the game we would collapse. However, at the end of the year we were in it! We had a chance to play for the Pac-12 title and it was at home. Could it be? Could we actually have this great program once again?
I have to admit, I felt cautious optimism as the game approached. We had the mighty Stanford Cardinal coming to town, but we were a team of destiny. Things seemed to have line-up just right where we could actually do it, we could actually win and go to the big Rose Bowl game!
That excitement was pretty short lived when the game actually began. It became pretty evident that we weren’t this team of destiny as Stanford marched up and down the field at will. We were pretty dominant at home and you would have never known it the way Stanford just pushed us around.
For those that may not know a lot about college football, Stanford is known for being both very good and extremely physical. Both may be a bit shocking considering the challenges they face having athletes pass more stringent entrance standards.
How does this help you? Well, I was really intrigued by what they were doing for their football program. Having been fortunate to have met with Stanford’s Director of Sports Performance, Brandon Marcello, I knew it wasn’t the same old type of strength training. Was there something we could learn from Stanford that would actually be applicable to our own fitness?
A recent New York Times article (CLICK HERE to read) definitely showed my hunch to be true. Head football strength coach, Shannon Turley, is interviewed in the article and right off the bat I knew I would like his philosophy..”Strength is not his focus. Function is. Balance is. Flexibility is.”
That is odd, is strength really not his focus? I mean, they are known as a extremely tough and physical team. Maybe it is the way we traditionally think of strength is not what Coach Turley is all about. “…but he cares more about how they lift…than how much.” He goes on, ““You have all these different genres of training, and we steal from them all,” Turley said. “CrossFit. Bodybuilding. Power lifting. But ultimately, it’s none of those. It’s a system we’ve developed to train football players.”
Funny how a sport that is largely thought of having bruising gladiators is now beginning a renaissance itself. People would often assume that these guys are worried about how much weight they are lifting and setting personal bests. The beauty of the Stanford program is that they have seem to show that you can make movement a priority and still set amazing standards. As one of the top combine prep coaches, Brett Fischer, explains, “I tell all the guys,” “all the giants, the huge-looking guys, the Adonis-looking people, if you cannot move, you will not last. It’s a game of speed and movement and the lowest player wins.”
Now, you may never have a plan of running out to the field Saturday morning in front of
thousands of people. You just want to look good! Does this stuff matter? Of course! What we see as a fitness program is changing. We are grateful that programs like our DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training can be helping lead that charge.
What programs like Stanford are showing is that our fitness should and needs to be more than the weight we lift. It has to be about how we move, how we combine our strength with our ability to be athletic. Being athletic isn’t about training for a sport, it is about having that feeling we can do whatever we want. Whether it is playing in the backyard with our kids or joining some friends for a weekend warrior event. All of this without feeling like we have to be hospitalized. After all, the definition of being athletic really has nothing to do with being a competitive athlete and more with “physically fit or strong; muscular or active”. When you put it in those terms, who doesn’t want to be more athletic?
The sad part and what gets me excited to see the success of the Stanford program is that slowly the word is getting out. That our strength comes in how we move and how we perform a host of different movements. The benefit to you is the reward of becoming more fit faster, greater injury resistance, and stronger in ways we never thought possible.
Check out today’s DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training video and to get more in depth check out the DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training for Sports Performance DVD we did with renown Strength Coach, Robert Dos Remedios. Coach “Dos” has been a leader in functional training for athletes and shows you how to make it part of your own fitness program. Get it HERE NOW for $19.99 with coupon code “strength” or get it for FREE by using the coupon code “athletic” when you purchase any of our DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training packages! (excludes just shell purchases)
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