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Incoming Freshmen and Strength & Conditioning

February 21, 2019

I’ve always been a staunch advocate of strength and conditioning. I truly believe it is one of the sole reasons that I was able to play professional baseball.

I came into RIT weighing a smidge under 160, and I walked across the stage for my graduation weighing 215. It was the difference between me hitting a baseball for a double or hitting a home run against St. Lawrence University. It was the difference between me getting fatigued towards the end of a regular season or continuing to perform well deep into the Liberty League playoffs.

I try to stress the same elements of training, eating a lot, and maintaining a consistent routine from when you decide to commit to a college all the way through graduation. So I decided to stop by the Tiger Power Den and ask our new RIT head strength coach, Ryan Kelly, for tips on incoming freshmen and how they can best prepare themselves for the rigors of college sports.

Ryan’s response was simple. Master the basics. Bodyweight stuff. What this means is that you need to be able to handle anything that is your bodyweight. Do pushups, pull-ups, squats, jumps, lunges, abs, and whatever that your sport makes you do. And you’ll have to be able to consistently push yourself in these areas, because we will expect upward progression from each of our athletes.

The athletes will go through several training cycles depending on their sport’s season (whether it be the fall, winter, or spring). They all will eventually be having their one-rep max tested in several movements. The more popular movements are the following: front squats, hex-bar deadlift, bench press, and so on. We are more concerned with your athletic improvement, not your powerlifting total.

Ryan also added that they want athletes to show up in shape—and then they will be able to coach and build upon your strength program with various movements. For example, there will be Olympic movements involved once you get underway with a strength program here. But you have to show the coaches that you have the rock solid foundation ready before progressing.

So in the meanwhile, make sure you move. Squat. Jump. Push. Run. Pull. Strain a little bit. And then we’ll take care of the rest.