The Goose Creek (Goose Creek, S.C.) football team is admittedly hungry — and not just for post-training peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. At 10-0, the Gators are also hungry to repeat as 4A DII state champions.
Goose Creek’s consistent wins stem from consistent training. The Gators train on back-to-back days during the season, even the day before a game. The weight room is also open on weekends for optional workouts.
Strength coach Joe Bowers says he sometimes has to tell his athletes to pull back and take a break. And it’s that training dedication that’s allowed the Gators to stay on top.
Three days a week, the Gators hit the weights to maintain their strength throughout the season.
Bowers says his program is old school, a recipe of mainly Olympic lifts — power cleans, deadlifts and squats.
Senior defensive end Gerald Turner says his body is always challenged, especially when performing the power clean.
“The heavier the weight, the more you have to balance while it’s on your chest,” Turner says. “That means you have a lot of lower-body power as you flip it up.”
Of course, he doesn’t mind taxing his body in exchange for on-field benefits.
“[The lift] gives me lower-body power and makes me explosive out of my stance,” Turner says.
Weight sessions range from 30 to 45 minutes, and Bowers likes to superset exercises to push muscle endurance.
“You’re pumping a lot of blood into the muscle, breaking down that tissue and making it receptive for growth,” Bowers explains.
Rest time for the upper body becomes work time for the lower body. During a typical Tuesday workout, athletes will bench press and then immediately work their hamstrings on a glute-ham machine.
Wednesday is dedicated to power cleans, deadlift and trap bar shoulder shrugs. Bowers also incorporates bent-over rows and pullups to work the upper back.
The Gators lighten up on Thursday with an upper-body workout to keep legs fresh for gameday.
Gator players will perform a wide bench press followed by dumbbell presses. They may also do dips, pushups and dumbbell raises and core work featuring traditional sit-ups and leg raises.
Bowers draws training inspiration from elite college and high school programs like Byrnes (Duncan, S.C.).
Since time in the weight room is limited, supersetting allows the Gators to get the most out of their workouts. To work their upper bodies, players perform the bench press followed by dumbbell presses. The exercise works stabilizer muscles and allows for a greater range of motion.
· Lie with back flat on bench
· Hold dumbbell in each hand
· Simultaneous press weight up
· Lock arms at top of movement
· Lower weight to mid-point of chest
· Repeat for specified reps
Form tips: Avoid bouncing weight off of chest; keep back and butt flat on bench; maintain 90-degree alignment with knee and feet
Sets/Reps: Perform 4 sets of 4 reps