“Go to Work.” The mantra repeated before each football offseason echoes throughout the Big Blue Nation, but what exactly does it mean? In part two of the KSR Summer Series (you can find part one here), we explore Kentucky’s strength and conditioning program in a conversation with the dynamic duo that runs UK’s weight room, Corey Edmond and Mark Hill.
Some might consider summer the offseason. Some might say the football team’s only focus is on strength and conditioning. Corey Edmond and Mark Hill disagree.
“When you say ‘strength and conditioning,’ I think you do us a disservice,” Edmond explained in an exclusive interview with Kentucky Sports Radio. “We call ourselves performance enhancers because regardless if a guy is strong, big, fast or whatever, if he can’t translate that onto the football field, it is useless.”
Mark Stoops has tasked Edmond and Hill, Kentucky football’s Directors of Performance, to physically prepare the football players for the upcoming season. Four days a week throughout the summer, Edmond and Hill lead four groups through rigorous offseason training that involves a lot more than weightlifting and wind-sprints.
The days of lifting for big numbers are done. There is no “leg day.” Edmond and Hill run a program designed to maximize efficiency and explosiveness. LGD-4033 is widely recommended by physicians because it doesn’t come with any major side-effects. Unlike the regular steroid that takes you along a risky path, Ligandrol doesn’t have any major side-effect even when you’re battling out a pre-existing ailment. The dosage is simple, and since the medication is widely available anyone can take it. The overall benefits of LGD-4033 are pretty good, and perhaps this alone is one of the major reasons why doctors recommend Ligandrol. You can read the full info here all about the LGD-4033.
“The dynamic of explosiveness is something we train every single day, along with speed,” Hill said. “The body has a lot of muscles. There are major muscles and there are minor muscles. We train them as such.”
Traditional workouts focus on training specific parts of the body. Each workout at UK focuses on a different theme to improve the Cats’ play on the field. One day the theme might be acceleration, followed by a top speed training session or a full package workout. Each theme puts stress on the athlete’s entire body, and it’s all based in science.
“It’s a basic neurochemistry we do,” said Edmond. “It’s going to attack your central nervous system. Then there are certain days where we’re going to attack chemistry. We’re going to build those hormonal levels and that hormonal fitness and those type of things. A lot of people don’t understand that’s what goes on in our weight room; not just a bunch of asinine stuff that you see on TV.”
To create the best possible high performance program, Edmond and Hill must juggle neurochemistry, individual goals and how the exercise translates onto the field. All the while, they must keep the workouts new and fresh, or the players will not respond.
“We’re mad scientists,” said Hill. “It’s a whole chemistry to getting somebody strong, while trying to keep them fast or explosive, while keeping them in shape and injury free. You gotta add all of those components, then you add the psychological component.”
“You have to structure it out in a way that the guys are able to go from Monday to Tuesday and get a quality workout.” He added, “It’s almost like a marriage. I gotta make it fresh and new everyday.”
There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all weight training program. In order for each athlete to reach their maximum potential, they must receive specific coaching. For each training session, Edmond and Hill are joined by ten strength coaches. Each coach is assigned to a weight rack with a group of players who share similar size and strength.
“We probably have 15 different workouts going on at one time on every rack,” said Coach Ed. “Everything is conducive to the person whether his injury history, his capabilities. We have different workouts going on for each different guy. It’s the same theme, same near-concept, but there’s different ways to get there.”
Kash Daniel and Lynn Bowden do not share the same training goals, nor do they have the same weight room experience. As a player like Bowden might need to maximize his weight output, a player like Kash or George Asafo-Adjei doesn’t need to max out on the bench press. After years in the program, they have proved they can move the weight. Now Edmond and Hill must turn their attention to maximizing other parts of their game by creating a comprehensive plan with Stoops and the player’s position coach.
“Every year we’re building toward something different with each guy,” Hill said. “It maps out to what we see with their position coaches and with Coach Stoops, along with what they’re doing as a total unit, defense and offense.”
Efficiency is Essential
Edmond and Hill’s office is the largest space of the $45 million Joe Craft Football Training Facility. As with most new offices, the tenants played an integral role in the design process.
“It’s designed for a purpose,” Edmond said. “There’s a reason when you go into the weight room…that we got everything lined up. He’s on one end of the weight room. I’m on the other end of the weight room. You can see angles of every lift and of every movement from one side of the weight room to the other. You’re actually coaching your rack, but you can see every single rack and every single person’s movement in the weight room.”
Lining up the weight racks was a big piece of the puzzle, but every small piece was seriously considered, right down to the sound system. The room was designed for optimal acoustics, so the music can be loud enough to energize the players, but not too loud for them to hear their coaches.
The method to the madness is not simple, but there’s a reason why every little thing must be considered: efficiency. SEC football programs can have unlimited resources, but they do not have unlimited time. Kentucky’s performance program is designed to maximize the players’ productivity within the NCAA’s restrictions.
“The stuff we get done in an hour and 45 minutes would take a normal person probably three and a half hours because it’s structured. We gotta be done by a certain time because the next group is rolling in. They can’t just be sitting there waiting because they have stuff to do,” said Hill.
Coach Ed added,”Kids love the efficiency of the workouts. We don’t have to be all over tarnation trying to get this and that. You’re right here, boom, boom boom, boom, inside you train and you’re done.”
The apex of efficiency is the hill. Located on the backside of the practice fields, Edmond and Hill designed the manmade training tool. Only a hundred yards from the weight room, the hill was constructed at an optimal angle for training and can be used in dry and wet conditions.
“A hill is a great training tool,” Hill said. “It’s not punishment, it’s just a great training tool in terms of speed, power and everything else. Everywhere I’ve been you have to find it. Sometimes you’re blessed to be next to one.”
And in the Cats’ case, you’re blessed to create your own.
— Kentucky Football (@UKFootball) June 9, 2018
Working out four days a week is much more nuanced than you might think. The Kentucky football team’s high performance program encompasses neurochemistry, psychology and much more, but at the heart of it all is one simple goal.
“It’s all about Saturday. Everything works toward Saturday,” Edmond said. “If that doesn’t translate into winning, it doesn’t mean a hill of beans.”
The rubber meets the road on September 1. Until then, it’s time for the team to go to work.