Fall Sports Sports

Specialized Five O’Clock FIT Program Prepares Athletes with Personalized Strength Training

As part of a revamped, high-intensity Fundamentals in Training (FIT) program launched this fall, 18 female and male athletes have exclusive access to the weight room for expert strength and agility training from Christopher Collins, Instructor in FIT, and Assistant Boys Basketball Coach Damani Fisher.

The new program began after Collins and Fisher identified a need for a specialized component within the existing FIT course.

“The idea was to have this program where we work with athletes getting ready for an upcoming sport, putting the focus on enhancing and improving their biomotor abilities — speed, strength, flexibility, endurance and coordination — with the underlying theme of strength,” said Collins.

The program has distinguished itself from another, musclar-endurance focused FIT program called Gunga FIT by offering more targeted and tailored muscular strength training for individual athletes.

“Gunga FIT in the past has been more of a survival of the fittest — work hard, work hard, work hard and hopefully you come out and you’re able to do something without being injured. Here, the plan is [to] have a program that’s purposeful and progressive. The program will be adaptable, rather than ‘let’s make someone tired and hope that it works,’” said Collins.

Leon Modeste, Athletic Director, approved the proposal for the program and set aside time for exclusive use of the weight room and Borden Gym.

The four-day program has the athletes going into the weight room three times a week. The group follows a routine that targets a different region of the body each day, from squats that target the lower body to bench presses that target the upper body. On every third day, the group works on their deadlift.

The fourth day is dedicated to conditioning and developing speed.

Collins focuses heavily on technique, working with each individual athlete.

“Collins split us down into really small groups, so he can train us all personally. He teaches us the proper form for everything — I didn’t know how to run right until yesterday! Now I can continue the proper form throughout my collegiate career,” Gadson Leftt ’15, a member of the program and a basketball Post-Graduate, said.

Collins and Fisher chart how much weight each person lifts and how many repetitions they can do. After four weeks, Collins and Fisher will evaluate the progress made and adjust the program accordingly.

“We’ll say, ‘Yes, we gained strength here, we can move on. We haven’t gained strength here, we have to change that.’ That’s the adaptable part. There’s a general plan, but, within that general plan, it’s going to be more individualized. Some kids are better and stronger in different areas than others, so we will adjust it that way,” said Collins.

Members of FIT are responding well to the revamped program and can see the payoff in their respective sports.

“The speed and agility work we focus on will help with quickness and acceleration, as well as my ability to control the puck in the corners and make good outlet passes to the forwards,” said Rob Bakerian ’15, a hockey Post-Graduate.

“The power we are building will translate into quick transitions [and] jumping, and the strength work will help for boxing out and rebounding,” added Courtney Erickson ’15, a Post-Graduate who will join Andover Girls Basketball this winter.

Collins has two goal for all athletes in the new FIT Program: physical strength and physiological development.

“A robust, strong, efficient athlete should come out from the program. Hopefully, they’ll have more success on the field, the court or the ice, and the teams will have more success, and everyone will be happier,” said Collins.