The Holy Cross (Texas) football team’s strength program has produced a lineman who has squatted 930 pounds.

By Dan Guttenplan, FNF Coaches Managing Editor

The Holy Cross (Texas) football team’s strength program is run by the school’s powerlifting coach, Brian Ortiz. The program has produced a lineman who has squatted 930 pounds and 13 different players who have benched 300.

Ortiz models his strength program after American strength training coach and author Mark Rippetoe’s Starting Strength program.

During Phase 1 of the offseason (January through March), players are expected to lift four days a week with an additional day of speed training. Every lift has up to four warmup sets and then generally three sets of five or six reps.

The program has worked for players like offensive lineman Joseph Pena, who stands 6-foot-1 and 330 pounds. The two-time All-State center set the Texas state record with a 930-pound squat at the state championship powerlifting meet.

Ortiz trains all Holy Cross athletes, including the girls’ sports teams. He has helped a linebacker build to a squat of 600 pounds and three female athletes achieve squats of 500 pounds each.

“It’s a very boring program,” Ortiz said. “The way you work at it will determine how much weight you’re going to gain per lift.”

With 80 athletes in the weight room per lifting period, Ortiz works the 45-minute sessions like a conveyor belt. Five players stand at each station and rotate through five reps each. After four warmup rounds with increasing weight, the players do three “working weight” sets of five reps before moving to the next station.

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About the author

Dan Guttenplan