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Sometimes You Need A Break

Sometimes you need a break.

Mike Gittleson was the Director of Strength & Conditioning at the University of Michigan for 30 years and was a part of 15 Football Championships in that time. He explains, that sometimes you need a break.

All of our training was very basic. Our focus was always on good quality repetitions and progression. The goal as a team was to win the Championship. Every rep and everything we did counted and was important. I was careful not to deviate from the goal.

But, periodically we would step aside from our normal routine and do something that was challenging yet fun, at least for me. The proverb “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” is certainly fitting. Athletes in college are in a supervised strength training and running program every day for 4-5 years and look forward to change.


I liked to challenge the athletes just prior to spring, summer or winter break, as they were about to have at least a week off  from training.

I was never  concerned about the difficulty of the task presented, as I made sure the team was always physically prepared before I began.

I also liked to spend about two weeks prior to the pre-break workout telling the athletes how they were going to be crushed. Anticipation of the task always seemed to lead to increased effort as the workout became an event rather than a training session.

The following is an example of one such workout prior to the team going on break. The weights used were taken from their strength training printouts. This added to the difficulty as the target repetitions were dramatically increased.

Normally, for neck training we used the neck machine (I had 12 neck machines). On this particular workout I chose to do manual neck.

1). Dumbbell Side Lateral Raise – 100 reps

2). Standing Dumbbell Curls – 150 reps

3). Bench Press 185, 225, 275, or 315 – 75 reps

4). Manual front of Neck

5). Manual Back of Neck

6). Manual Front of Neck

7). Manual Back of Neck

8). Manual Front of Neck

9). Manual Back of Neck

10). Manual Front of Neck

11). Manual Back of Neck

12). Chins – Max reps in 3 Minutes

13). Leg Press – 100 reps

I am not recommending this at all. It is just what we did.

Get Strong.


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