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With gyms no longer an option, Comet coach offers at-home training tips

With gyms no longer an option, Comet coach offers at-home training tips
Press photo by John Burbridge
Charles City 2019 graduate Ryan Zuspan does a weighted lunge in the school’s weight room while preparing for the 2018 football season. The weight room, as well as other gyms in the area, is closed for the time being, but the lunge is an exercise that can easily be performed at home.

By John Burbridge

Training takes motivation. Internal as well as external.

Charles City head football coach Darren Bohlen, who presides over the school’s weight room during all seasons, doles out plenty of external motivation.

Whether it’s tweeting the thought “Weight training is not for everyone … neither is playing time” or posting the final score of last season’s heartbreaking loss to Waverly-Shell Rock, Bohlen is all about encouraging weight-room participation.

Or check that … the participation part.

“If you go out for sports, you should make yourself an athlete rather than just be a participant,” Bohlen has said.

But how are students going to make themselves athletes, or continue being athletes, with the school’s weight room as well as all the local gyms being shut down for an undetermined amount of time?

“Athletes can do a lot of the same exercises that are part of the current strength program, with the exception of the core lifts,” Bohlen said of training at home. “They can still do the auxiliary exercises that utilize body weight.”

Bohlen offers several examples.

To train the legs, student-athletes can do body squats, which can be performed by setting your feet shoulder-width apart, slowly bending the knees to drop you hips to lower your body, then pausing for a moment at the bottom of the exercise before rising to the starting position — repeat for the desired amount of reps.

Squat jumps, or squat jacks — exploding upward from the bottom position of a body squad to a point where your feet leave the ground — are another leg exercise that can be performed at home.

Bohlen also suggests lunges — stepping forward with one leg, heel hitting the floor first, to where the leg’s thigh is parallel to the floor — and calf raises — from a standing position lifting one’s heels off the ground, hand-held weights optional — as lower-body exercises that can be performed at home.

For upper-body at-home training, Bohlen suggest the good ol’ push-up as well as bench dips — a medium-intensity exercise that utilizes a bench, or any other stable platform that offers a seat-level plane, which can be gripped from behind as a means to lower and raise the forward-facing outstretched body — and a farmer’s walk.

That’s “Carrying around a five-gallon bucket full of water or sand,” Bohlen said of the farmer’s walk.

To strengthen the core, Bohlen suggest sit-ups in any variety, planks — an isometric exercise of maintaining the raised body position similar to that from a push-up for an extended period of time, and “supermans” — making a U-curve with simultaneously raised arms and legs from a face-down prone position.

For conditioning, Bohlen suggests 30-yard sprints for speed improvement.
For agility … “Any change of direction drill that the athletes are familiar with,” Bohlen said.

“Kids can be as creative as they want to be with the variations of each exercise,” Bohlen said. “The key is just to be active and do something.”