Strength and Conditioning Programs for Incoming College Athletes

incoming freshman starting college stength and conditioning programsIf you read any books on college athletic recruiting, you’ll come across a section that discusses the biggest surprises to new college athletes coming from high school. I can’t think of a single one that doesn’t mention the dramatically harder college strength and conditioning programs. In fact, I’m willing to bet it would come in first by a wide margin over any other freshman surprises.

Student-athletes we interviewed overwhelmingly reported that one of the hardest adjustments they had to make was in the level of physical endurance and fitness they were expected to meet to perform at the college level. From Win a Sports Scholarship

How can student-athletes better prepare for the transition from high school to college? They should contact coaches (sport and strength) and understand the demands that are going to be placed on them when they arrive on campus. In addition, following the summer training program closely and preparing for the team’s fitness test will allow the athlete to be ready for training. From The Student Athletes Guide to Getting Recruited

What common physical problems do you tend to see in freshman student-athletes? Most entering freshmen do not understand the increase in training load from high school to college. From The Student Athletes Guide to Getting Recruited

Athletically, the biggest challenge for incoming freshmen are adjusting to the speed and physicality of play and maintaining a consistent high level of performance. From Put Me In, Coach: A Parent’s Guide to Winning the Game of College Recruiting

College Athletes do Conditioning on Their Own

And it’s not just the increased training load. In college, strength and conditioning programs are usually done on the athlete’s own time so it doesn’t count towards allowed practice hours. Theoretically, players are not required to do it.  You could be cynical and say the coaches know who does the work outs and who doesn’t and decides playing time accordingly. Or you could say the coach sees who is in shape at the start of the season and makes the same decision.


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In any case, since you’ll be expected to do the workouts on your own once you’re in college, between attending classes and going to practices, why wouldn’t you start preparing by doing workouts in the summer on your own? You might think, “hey, this is my last chance to relax and enjoy myself.” So you would rather develop a workout habit at the same time you’re adjusting to college academics and starting over on the team totem pole?

Ambitious, dumb, or lazy-you decide. Or rather, your coach will.

College Workouts Guides

If your college coach didn’t give you a summer workout schedule, ask for one. If they don’t have one, find one on the internet. It’s not hard. However, they’re not likely to be current. Teams have become more proprietary about their workouts. It makes you wonder what’s so special about them that they worry about the competition seeing it.

No matter, you can find plenty of workouts to get you started.

The Central Connecticut State University has general information for all athletes including nutrition and links to videos of various exercises. It also includes summer programs for all their specific sports.

Birmingham Southern College has PDFs of summer workouts for all sports. The interesting part is the statement at the top about not being late for voluntary workouts.

Principia College has their 22 week Softball strength and conditioning workout program with trainers’ comments for downloading. The Baseball team has a specific summer workout with videos on the website for all three phases.

Macalester College has workouts posted for all sports under their Summer Team Workout Programs.

You can find women’s soccer conditioning at the Washington & Jefferson website. It includes a version for those with equipment and one for limited equipment.

Carleton College has an Incoming First-Year Student-Athlete Lifting Program that has a nice series of tables to use to track workouts.

You can always use a more generic approach. STACK has a 16 week Baseball Training Program as well as Softball and other sports.

The following links are to forums and posts on what freshman student athletes face, including strength and conditioning programs, as they start off the school year.

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Strength and Conditioning Programs for Incoming College Athletes

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