Two days before their matchup with rival Edina, the Eden Prairie (Minn.) Eagles couldn’t be more wide-awake — even at 6:15 a.m.
“You have to have that mentality that you gotta work hard if you want something,” says junior left guard Ethan Stordahl.
And what the Eagles want is to maintain their dominating status. So on Wednesday morning, players convene in the weight room for a very early strength training session before classes.
“Our athletes understand that part of being a champion is you have to sacrifice,” says strength coach Jason Reader. “If they’re not thrilled to be there, they know better than to tell me that.”
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In the weight room, find the Eagles alert and ready to sweat.
“The environment is certainly not one where everybody is walking around like they woke up five minutes ago,” Reader says.
Since the team only lifts twice a week during the season, the workout targets the entire body. Reader says the goal is to keep strength levels up to 90 percent of what was gained during the offseason.
Reader likes to keep weight training simple and not introduce anything new during the season. The session starts with foam rolling and light stretching followed by a dynamic warmup.
Next up is the core of the workout, which generally starts with big multi-joint movements like a bench or squat variation followed by supplementary exercises that mimic the big movements. For instance, if athletes perform a front squat, they’ll follow the exercise with kettlebell swings. If they perform the bench press with a barbell, they’ll follow with a dumbbell press or incline dumbbell press. From there, players move on to auxiliary movements for the upper back, triceps and biceps. For the lower body, they target their glutes, hamstrings, calves, ankles and lower-back.
Intense? You bet, but you won’t find the Eagles complaining. In fact, senior wide receiver Elijah Johnson says the morning workout is necessary for the team’s success.
“We feel like we have something to prove,” Johnson says. “We’re even more hungry than last year.”