By Dan Guttenplan, FNF Coaches Editor
In 2017, Kimberly (Wis.) High School opened a 6,500-square-foot weight room to serve the football team, among other sports.
Kimberly went with an in-state equipment supplier, Dynamic Fitness and Strength, that was willing to work with the school’s strength coach in designing custom racks — 14 in the larger room alone.
Kimberly strength and conditioning coach Dean Matsche shared eight pieces of equipment for coaches looking to add to their strength program.
- Vertical Jump Mats
“Our big thing is to have a measurable for vertical jump,” Matsche said.
- Sprint Velocity Assessment Tool (Sprint Light)
“We use a speed system for 10-meter flies and 40-yard dashes,” Matsche said. “Our system has a timing system.”
- Rogue Taller Sleds
“Sleds give the athletes something they can push, pull and sprint behind,” Matsche said. “You can do a lot of things with them and work on different planes of motion.”
“We have to have bands so we can do glute activation,” Matsche said. “Bands allow them to work on bench and squat technique. You can take a band and put it on anything like a dumbbell, kettlebell or ball to change the stimulus.”
- Safety Squat Racks
“We got our racks custom made with safety squat bars,” Matsche said. “We have four bars at each rack — so you could have 56 kids performing a movement all at one time.”
- Swiss Bars
“This bar allows athletes to change the grip for various lifts,” Matsche said. “We like to do close-grip pressing with them.”
- Hex Bars
“We use the hex bar for deadlifts,” Matsche said. “It’s the best bar for that lift due to the grip and hand placement.”
- Pull-Up Attachments
“You could use a connector board or really anything that allows the athletes to do chin-ups and pull-ups,” Matsche said.
Posterior Chain Exercises
Posterior chain exercises are a big part of the strength program at Kimberly. Posterior chain exercises involve contracting and lengthening the muscles in a chain-like manner. This is important for athletic movements that require strength, flexibility and fluidity to properly jump, rotate, lift or land.
Training the chain can also help to reduce possible injury caused by weak or improperly functioning muscle groups. In addition, a strong posterior chain contributes to a strong core musculature, which reduces back pain and low-back injury, while also facilitating coordination and strength through the limbs.
Some posterior chain exercises include loaded squats, diagonal lunges, deadlifts, hamstring curls and inverse curls.
“It’s a way to bring together the glutes and hamstrings,” Matsche said. “We do a lot of reverse extension and inverse exercises. We want to hit the lower back, glutes and hamstrings.”