Twice a week, about 80 Arapahoe High School athletes get up early so they can join the Warrior Strength and Conditioning Camp.
“The sports with a lot of athletes like football and basketball hold their own voluntary summer workout camps,” coach Eric Riordan said. “But, until a few years ago, there were no similar voluntary workouts for athletes involved in sports like golf and track. So, this strength and conditioning camp was created. We meet for a couple hours twice a week to help those athletes get stronger and stay in shape over the summer.”
There were about 40 athletes on the Arapahoe High School football field for the June 25 camp. The group included swimmers, golfers, cheerleaders and members of the track team and the volleyball team.
“This is only about half our camp,” Riordan said. “We split the camp into two sections. This group started today's workout in the weight room. After an hour, they came out to the field and the group of about 40 who had been on the field went to the weight room.”
The coach said the voluntary workouts are important for the athletes.
“Of course, the athletes can go to the recreation center and workouts on their own,” Rirodan said. “But I don't think most of those workouts produce the strength, conditioning and endurance benefits we feel the kids receive by taking part in the more structured workouts here at the camp. Also, having the camp helps the athletes get into the habit of working out regularly.”
During the June 25 camp, Riordan put the athletes on the field through a variety of conditioning drills. For example, he split the group into two lines across from each other. He then distributed medicine balls and had the athletes in one line use a variety of methods to toss the medicine ball to the athletes in the other line. They were directed to use methods such as a shot put technique and a granny-style free throw to get the ball to the other athlete.
He said once the timed drills were completed, the athletes would be doing some speed and endurance work on the track.
He said having weight training as part of the camp is important to build strength. Plus, he thinks the weight training is particularly helpful for incoming ninth-graders because it may be the first time they have had someone coach them on how to properly use the weights and machines.
Max Wilson, an incoming freshman, agreed with the coach about weight training.
“I am a swimmer and I had my first experience with a coach in the weight room here at this camp,” he said. “I swim sprint freestyle and backstroke. The coach helped me learn what weight exercises to use for general conditioning and what weight exercises to use to help strengthen the muscles I use in the events I swim.”
He said a friend told him about the camp and invited him. Wilson said he was glad he accepted the invitation.
“I am getting in good physical condition and I am getting stronger,” he said. “I feel the camp helps me begin preparation for swimming season and will help me swim well in all my events.”
This is the third year Bre Jones has attended the strength and conditioning camp.
“I run track and I know the summer workout sessions help me a lot,” she said. “I manage the boys golf team in the fall season and then, in November, I begin running track with a club team that competes in indoor track until February. Then it is time to begin running with the Warrior team.”
She said she is a sprinter and she feels the strength and conditioning camp helps her to get stronger and to build her stamina for the coming track season.
“This year, the workouts on the field and particularly in the weight room have helped me get stronger,” Jones said. “I know I am in good physical condition and I hope being stronger will help me run faster in the coming indoor and outdoor seasons.”