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Inside Stanford's unconventional (but crazy effective) strength program

At Stanford, doing things the unconventional way is actually conventional. The entire campus looks at a problem and finds a different way to fix it. That's why strength coach Shannon Turley fits right in.

“Most people don’t get it,” linebacker Trent Murphy says of Turley's tactics. “And that’s fine.”

For staters, freshmen don't touch a weight for their first few weeks on campus. That time is spent doing push-ups and pull-ups, squats and lunges. In addition to weight training, Turley pushes Stanford players into yoga.

Like any successful coach, Turley steals from any source he can find. “You have all these different genres of training, and we steal from them all,” Turley told the New York Times. “CrossFit. Bodybuilding. Power lifting. But ultimately, it’s none of those. It’s a system we’ve developed to train football players.”

Turley has been as integral to Stanford's historic turnaround as Jim Harbaugh and David Shaw. Games missed due to injury dropped by 87 percent from 2006 to 2012. A year ago, the entire Stanford roster required only two season-ending surgeries. This year, the number has dropped to one. 

"This is real-world applicable man strength," Turley said.

Stanford is not just perhaps the healthiest team in college football, it's also one of the toughest. The Cardinal blocked, tackled, pushed, pulled, battered and bruised their opponents to a second consecutive Pac-12 championship. Tomorrow, the program will play in its second straight Rose Bowl and FBS-best fourth straight BCS game. 

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