Posted at 12:00pm -- 12/18/2007 Michigan Football: Coach's Corner -- M..."/> Posted at 12:00pm -- 12/18/2007 Michigan Football: Coach's Corner -- M..."/>

Michigan Football: Coach’s Corner — Mike Barwis S&C Coach — Part I


Posted at 12:00pm — 12/18/2007

Michigan Football: Coach’s Corner — Mike Barwis S&C Coach — Part I

Coach Barwis emphasizes cycles in his S&C workouts and believes in switching stimuli on the body often. In different cycles they emphasize Strength, explosiveness, injury prevention, balance and agility.

He will use many different accessories including hammer strength, squat racks, Olympic lifting, bands, and plyometrics. He also cycles his methods, sometimes emphasize high reps and explosion, and others times emphasizing other aspects of S&C, but the major part of his philosophy is core training. Exercises that hit the muscles of lower back and abdominal. He believes that core muscles are not only important for improving performance, but also in injury prevention. He talks about core muscles providing stability a transfer of power.

Mike Barwis believes in using unstable environment and multiple planes to work core and recommends multiple sets, three or four sets per workout, with combination of high and low reps. He be lives that you need 24 hour rest after training core muscles.

Here are a few things we able to find out about Mike Barwis:

He has been the Director of Strength and Conditioning for West Virginia University sports since 2000. Michigan football players are going to be walking into a new program along with a new attitude for the S&C program.

Technically summer workouts are voluntary in college football, but then again, technically breathing is also voluntary. If you want to survive in this world, breathing is a good idea, and to survive in the world of big-time college football, strength and conditioning workouts had better be a daily ritual. Such is the life of a Michigan Wolverine football player will be feeling in the summer. Sweating, straining, running, lifting. Every football player realizes that strength and conditioning workouts are necessary to thrive in today’s highly competitive athletic world, but that does not make the drills any easier, even for the sadists in the group who actually claim to enjoy working out. It has been mentioned by previous players at West Virginia who does not lose his lunch during some of Barwis’s hyper intensive workouts at the beginning of the summer.

Seems like every year his program gets harder and harder from former Mountaineers players who claim with pride that Mike Barwis is working them harder than ever before. Of course that mantra seems to ring from the players each summer says “this is definitely the hardest we have ever worked, whether we wanted to or not,” and that “We’ve also had the best attendance we have ever had with All the scholarship athletes are here and then some. It’s been pretty good so far. Also seems like each year he evolves and keeps adding to his program from former players saying “This year there has been a lot of new stuff,” and saying “For the most part the lifting is still the same with having the same cycles. It changes every week, but we do the same cycles we do every year, but the running and agility, those things are more advanced this year. Mike is definitely pushing us harder this summer than any of the past ones.”

One of the running drills, and the one that is the most notorious so far, has been something Barwis calls “double fifths.” In past summers, the Mountaineers have had to run a lap around the football field in a prescribed length of time (faster for the skill players than the linemen). Then after a short rest, the run is repeated. That one lap is called a “fifth”, because it’s about a fifth of a mile. Obviously, a double fifth is two laps, and two certainly is tougher than one. Past players have stated the “double fifths” and what they are “The first one, he gives us two minutes and ten seconds for the speed guys and then the second time around we get two minutes. After that we do single fifths and we have 65 seconds to make it on the first one. Then he cuts five seconds off for the second one. It’s pretty tough and Mike like to switch things up just when you think you are doing the toughest drill possible he turns it up a little and makes it even tougher.”

The weather can gets pretty hot and humid in the summer time that can makes for a tough workout, but the players better accept the adversity. From former players talking about the summer workouts “It has been a lot hotter this summer, and Mike is making things ten times harder than in the past, but that will all be good for us in the long run.” Mike is a good motivator and he keeps everyone going, no matter how hot it is.”

From another player “I’ve noticed that it’s hotter so far this year than in the past, but I have not noticed that has made the workouts any tougher” and “I always try to work out in the afternoon in the heat of the day anyway because you have to get used to the heat, we are going to play in it. You might as well get used to it now.” Also he said “It seems like every practice and every summer workout has a new twist, but you just have to push through it,” and the “Summer is the toughest because it’s hot outside and you just want to lay up in the house. It’s hard enough just rolling out of bed, say nothing of working out. It’s hard, and Mike Barwis pushes us to the limit, but we have to get through it, because in the end, it makes us better players.”

“The hardest part is the first two weeks,” said a former player from Ohio “After you make it through that, you feel like you can make it through anything. I know it helps me become a better player, and there is an added benefit – it also makes me look better for the girls. I want to look good for the ladies. At the end of the day, my body is tired and sore, but I know I look good for the ladies, and let’s face it, you want to look good for the ladies, especially in the summer time.”

Another guy pointed out that “Defensively linemen may think of that stuff, but offensive linemen, we do not worry about looking good for the ladies. We are big, ugly guys, and we know it” and he went on to say “Workouts aren’t going to make us any prettier, no matter what we do.

While some of the former players said they liked it “Maybe I am different, but I actually enjoy the workouts,”and you can tell it is helping “You see yourself getting bigger, and you see yourself getting better.

As Mike Barwis puts his charges through new and interesting forms of torture, he is holding the ultimate drill until the end, using it as a carrot (or a whip, depending on your perspective) to insure complete dedication this summer. “Right now they are using the Law School Hill for motivation,” (probably compared to the Michigan Stadium step something nice and big and steep). “They say if we come to every workout and do every workout, we will not have to do the Law School Hill and everyone wants to avoid the Law School Hill. It’s not really an endurance thing when you try to run the Law School Hill; it’s more of a mental thing. That is by far the toughest thing we do.”

Obviously the proof of the new Michigan Wolverines summer workout effort will be told in August, when head coach Rich Rodriguez and his staff open fall camp. Rodriguez and his assistants are extremely limited about what they can do with the players in the off season. Mike Barwis and his strength and conditioning team is the ones who are hands on at this point in time, but R-Rod is certainly aware of what is happening in the workouts. He knows the product he puts on the field this fall is being molded and shaped in the heat of the summer and ” What we hope, as coaches, is that when we start practice in August, everybody is healthy, in shape and ready to go.”

Stay tuned for part two of Mike Barwis.

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff

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