Strength, conditioning gains abound in Club Sports Complex
A central feature of the Liberty Club Sports Complex, which opened last fall, is the 3,600-square-foot weight room, which each of Club Sports’ 40 teams have access to train in under supervision from its strength & conditioning staff.
“When we were adding this new Club Sports Complex, we (said), ‘Let’s build an absolutely state-of-the-art, top-of-the-line weight training facility or sports performance facility, and that’s what we have here,” Club Sports Director of Strength & Conditioning Chris Kerr said.
“The purpose of this design was really the functionality and the flow of having the weights and racks on one side and our open space on the other,” Assistant Director of Strength & Conditioning Ross Garner added. “The open space is for jumping, sprinting, stretching, (plyometrics, medicine) ball work, push sleds, things like that.”
The value and impact that the centrally located facility has on Club Sports student-athletes’ performance is already starting to be demonstrated through their teams’ success.
“The goal of our strength & conditioning program is to improve on-field performance, so we make sure we operate from a lens of ‘How do we improve sprinting, jumping, or anything that is going to impact them on the field or the court?'” Garner said.
“Our second goal is to improve injury resistance, so when they get injured, it’s not nearly as severe or it just doesn’t happen as often,” he added. “The more that they’re training, the healthier they are going to feel and they’re not going to be as injured as they go.”
Garner said innovative machines such as the 1080 Sprint have accelerated the training for Club Sports student-athletes.
“The new technologies we have really are game-changers,” he said. “One of the biggest tools we use is our Freelap, timing the sprints with our athletes, which allows us to track their progress.”
Kerr said the overarching goal of the program is in line with the university’s holistic mission of developing mind, body, and spirit, which leads to bearing spiritual fruit for God’s Kingdom.
“Goals for the program are just to keep establishing a winning atmosphere within our teams,” he said. “If we’re able to help our teams win, if we’re able to build better individual athletes within those teams, it’s a culture where a lot of things need to happen, a lot of things need to be going well and hopefully that helps with our overall goal of ‘Training Champions for Christ.’ If we can give a very positive four or five years to these athletes, if we could teach them hard work, that suffering now will pay off later, that’s just life. The weight room is such a good metaphor or analogy of ‘If you put all this work in now, then you’re going to reap those rewards later. The seeds you sow here, you’re going to have a bountiful harvest later on.'”