Will stronger = better?

Friday, June 26, 2009

When Coach Jim Schwartz was hired in January, one of the first things he did was change the team's conditioning regimen to develop a bigger, stronger team, emphasizing free weights and old-school Olympic power-lifting, Nicholas Cotsonika reports at Freep.com.

Before the last day of minicamp, Schwartz drew the players together to discuss their progress in that program -- a 21 percent increase in upper-body strength in 14 weeks of training, excluding rookies and players who didn't go through the full program.

"That's significant," Schwartz told reporters. "Twenty percent for us in 14 weeks wouldn't be significant because we all have a lot of potential."

Schwartz paused for snickering, then continued.

"Consider the starting point," Schwartz said. "These are professional athletes. These are world-class athletes. For them to increase 20% said something, No. 1 about the program, No. 2 about their work ethic and how they embrace the program."

The program also led to a 14-percent increase in lower body explosiveness. And in perhaps the most impressive number, the strength and conditioning program had about a 95 percent participation rate.
"That's unparalleled in the NFL," Schwartz said. "I thanked them for their effort in the off-season program, but effort's not enough. You need to see results, and we did see results."

I'm personally impressed by this, and think it is yet another sign that things could be about to begin turning around.

The Lions should paint on the wall of their weight room, "You're winning the fourth quarter of a December game at Lambeau or Soldier Field right now." Because they are.

It's also the first example of quantifiable positive results from Schwartz implementing his philosophy.

Talk about it in The Den!