Keeping athletes in shape in the weight room

The California Lutheran University athletics department puts a big emphasis on the strength and conditioning program of every athletic team. There are diverse programs throughout each team with the same core goal of achieving power.

“The Strength and Conditioning Department primarily exists for two reasons: namely, to enhance athletic performance and reduce the chance for injury, particularly non-contact injury. A secondary goal is to develop young people, along with teams, in alignment with Cal Lutheran’s mission,” Director of Strength and Conditioning, Patrick Holmberg said in an email interview. “Though most people recognize that formal training programs foster physical preparedness, certain values, such as character, confidence, perseverance, and work ethic, are also cultivated.”

According to Strength and Conditioning Coach and Cal Lutheran alumna Lauren Rasmussen, the strength and conditioning program at Cal Lutheran has a goal to prepare the athletes for their sport and also incorporate time management skills, responsibility and give the athletes the ability to fight through difficult situations to help them become well rounded individuals.

“I think it gives a structured environment, where the athletes can get better. Sometimes they think they know what they are doing in the weight room, but they are not addressing the issues they need to address to get better in their sport,” Strength and Conditioning coach and Cal Lutheran alumnus Joel Canacoo said. “Having the strength and conditioning program here we are able to help athletes reach their full potential. We first have them lift in a safe environment, we have coaches who care about their performance and are willing to critique the athletes and spend that time to make sure that they get better. It is also an opportunity to build team chemistry.”

The strength and conditioning program not only gives the athletes the tools to be better prepared physically and mentally for their games, but it also prepares them for life experiences. The trainers do this by having different programs for each team that contain the same core values to push the athletes to be their best.

“Making the programs involves researching what has worked for us in the past and also what has worked for other teams. We want to install the right techniques and the right exercises at the right time to allow for more efficient strengthening and power development,” Strength and Conditioning Coach and alumnus Chris Cabrera said. “Every program is tailored to each sport with the idea that you need to be strong and powerful to compete as an athlete.”

The trainers that work with the athletes are very dedicated to making the athletes and teams better as a whole. According to Rasmussen, depending on the level of the athletes and if they are in or out of season, makes a difference in the way she trains the athletes.

“A lot of times people think the entire time they are in a weight session it’s going to be the same throughout,” Rasmussen said. “The sessions are tailored to specifically where that team is at in that time to make sure we don’t over train them or we can push them harder if the athletes are in a time where they don’t have to perform their sport on a game day.”

According to Holmberg, every team is welcome to be trained, but the head coach has to be up front and reach out to Holmberg before season begins so the athletes get the full effect of the strength and conditioning program. For the teams and athletes that are unable to participate in the program, there are workouts and nutritional information online for them to use on their own time.

“The programs depend on the kind of sport that is being played. So what kind of energy system they are using, is it an endurance sport, does it involve more running than other sports? That plays a role in each program for the teams,” Canacoo said. “We also have to look at what injuries are the most frequent in each sport because we want to work around it. Overall we are just trying to make every athlete stronger by building strength and power.”

Courtney Sooy
Staff Writer
Published April 13th, 2016