Hitting the weight room hard in the off season is one thing that all high school, college, and NFL programs have in common. What differs dramatically from program to program is their approach in the weight room. No one way is more right, or more effective than any other way, which is what makes this area so interesting to so many coaches and strength staffs.
For the most part, approaches in the weight room can be fit into one of two categories. You have your programs where everyone does the same lifts (with varying weights), and then you have an individualized approach where the program is adapted and tailor made to each player's needs. Of course, there are always programs that fall somewhere in between on that spectrum as well.
Dwight Galt and Penn State are in that second group that personalizes their approach based on the needs of each individual player. As Galt notes, there is nothing cookie cutter about their approach.
"We sit down as a staff and the one thing that we really try to do is we want to train these guys for what they need. So we don't do a cookie-cutter deal where you put all 95 guys in the pot, stir it up, and here's your program."
"So we're trying to be as individualistic as possible, and really give them what their need set is, so that's where your three tiers come in."
Gault goes on to explain the three tier system that they use at Penn State. Here is a summary of them.
- Tier 1 - These are for guys who have "strength as their biggest need." These guys just have to get strong. Not just made up of freshman. Gault notes that there are 29 guys on Penn State's roster currently in this group
- Tier 2 - Regular, all encompassing program where they "crush it in the weight room" as well as ladders, plyometrics, flexibility, core work and a variety of other things. "Real good general, be a great football player, be an athlete category" Gault notes.
- Tier 3 - This is for the elite guys on the roster. 9 players on Penn State's roster currently make up this tier. This is for guys who already have tremendous strength that the strength staff is now focused on some other things. Galt notes that they want 16-17 guys in Tier 3 next season, and 20+ in year 4.
While there are clearly advantages to both approaches in the weight room, Galt and his staff's plan has a lot of upside.
Hear more from Galt below.