One of the most important aspects of a successful collegiate program is its strength and conditioning program. Before the lights ever come on, before the players run out of the tunnel for the first game and before the first touchdown is ever scored, college football players work on getting themselves physically prepared for the rigors of a several-month season. Thanks to the direction of Mike Gentry, Tech's associate AD for athletic performance, the Virginia Tech strength and conditioning program is among the best in the nation, helping to make the football program one of the best as well.
One of the main support centers of Tech football is the strength and conditioning program. The results of hard work by the staff and the student-athletes have paid huge dividends as the Hokies have pushed their streak to 18 consecutive bowl game appearances.
The Tech football strength program centers around four major lifts. The bench press and squat are lifts for building all-around strength. The push jerk and power clean help players develop explosive power. Gentry's program also includes conditioning and speed development, which the players do in the speed and agility room, Rector Field House (Tech's indoor practice facility) and on the Hokies' track facilities.
Each player has personal goals that he works to achieve. The team is broken down into four groups based on positions relevant to the players' body size. The players work to progress from Maroon, Orange, Hokie, Iron Hokie and Super Iron Hokie status to the Elite Level.
The Elite Level of Performance was created to push the student-athletes to higher levels. This level is a predetermined performance test that measures achievement for the individual's position. It comprises four tests in strength (bench press, squat, push jerk and power clean) and five tests in performance (vertical jump, 40-yard time, 10-yard time, sit-reach test and 20-yard shuttle).
Assisting Gentry in the strength and conditioning program this year are five full-time assistant strength and conditioning coaches. Terry Mitchell is the Director of Strength and Conditioning for Olympic Sports. Jarrett Ferguson is the Director of Strength and Conditioning for Football. David Jackson is the Director of Strength and Conditioning for Men's and Women's Basketball. Keith Short is the Strength and Conditioning Coordinator for Football. Megan Evans is the Strength and Conditioning Coordinator for Olympic Sports. There are also five strength and conditioning graduate assistants.
Strength & Conditioning Facilities
Virginia Tech has some of the finest strength and conditioning facilities in the nation. The addition of the Merryman Strength Facility and Speed/Agility Gym in 1998 gives the Athletic Department well over 20,000 square feet of state of the art facilities for training athletes.