by RANDY GREGORY
Rockford remodeled their weight room in 2012 and the football team is just one of many Ram squads that took advantage of the new equipment and improved their conditioning from top to bottom. With the continued increase in size and speed of athletes across the board on the gridiron it has become a necessity to train year round in order to be prepared to face off with players from other schools who have the same ultimate goals, to get bigger and faster. Rockford High School is fortunate to have former University of Michigan football player Brent Cummings oversee not only the training regimen of the football program but every other sport as well.
“Without a doubt the new equipment has made things decidedly more beneficial to the kids and made my job easier because of the range of options we can now offer them,” said Cummings. “We can have more athletes working at the same time and we can keep them moving to different stations that offer greater benefits. Our goal is personal improvement and we have definitely had more kids who participated on a more regular basis than we have had any other year since I have coached football here.”
The football team tried something new this year where the players had a chance to earn tee shirts and even a steak from Coach Cummings. The challenge of making it to every team workout in the weight room would seem to be nigh unto impossible with the variety of options available to kids today. But the Rams had five players who achieved that level of commitment.
“I had signup sheets for the kids for workouts Monday through Thursday and an optional lift on Friday,” said Cummings. “We rotated upper and lower body workouts. Monday and Wednesday were upper body and Tuesday and Thursday were lower body. We would then flip that around the following week. We had two players who made it to every workout including the optional ones in Trevor Coughlin and Mason Pant. They got tee shirts and a steak from me. We had three other players who made it to every single team workout in Ethan Lussky, Jimmy Olewinski and CJ Farmer. They all got the tee shirts for their efforts. The shirts all have an inspirational message from Muhammad Ali and they should all be commended for the efforts they put forth in earning them.”
Cummings trained under the legendary Mike Gittleson at Michigan and feels that his time there and the lessons he learned under his tutelage carry over to this day.
“Mike was a trainer who preached both physical and mental toughness and it is something I still carry on with to this day,” said Cummings. “I may have the kids do some things where they say ‘what is the benefit of this’ but they always come around when I explain why we are doing it. We also try to carry on Mike’s theories of keeping the athletes upper extremities healthy so they can stay on the field. Core training is important but it doesn’t help the team when they miss time with injuries because they weren’t physically ready for the grind that is high school football.’
Senior linebacker and three-year starter Randy Garvin is a living testament to the theories espoused by Cummings.
“We used to place so much more focus on total body workouts throughout the year,” said Garvin. “We still practice some of that during various times of the year but now it is a more focused program with greater rotation between upper and lower body workouts. We have everything we need now in the new weight room and have really improved our level of more mass and lower body fat through the training of Coach Cummings and our efforts as a team from the varsity to the freshmen. I feel that as a senior I am setting an example for the younger players on what type of effort it takes to uphold the tradition of Rockford football. As seniors it is part of our responsibility to show them the way and we take that very seriously.”
Garvin is just one of many Rams who have flocked to the weight room in previously unequaled numbers this year. Stop out and support the 2013 version of Rockford football when you get the chance. The season kicks off in Utica on Friday, August 30th.