“Old-school” training going out the window

Dan Nelson

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Sam Shipley grips a pull-up bar in a sweat-drenched shirt with his palms facing away and pulls his entire 240-pound frame with him over the bar as spectators watch enthusiastically.

The City College football player trains at his older brother Adam’s gym, Fueled Sports Performance. His goal is to help gain that extra edge in the ever-increasing competitive field of sports. He carries the notion that unconventional workouts are a thing of the past.

“You have to understand that the days of the idiot athlete are gone,” said Adam Shipley.

Adam Shipley, 33, has owned and operated Fueled Sports Performance for the last five years in hopes of changing the way we look at sports training.

“I mean look, if we were in medical school doing things, as a teacher, that are causing mistakes you’re literally killing people,” said Adam Shipley. “Now it’s not as bad, but you have coaches that are injuring people.”

Adam Shipley believes in working athletes out specific to their trade.

“We do tire flips, pull sleds, a lot of unorthodox things,” said University of Maine bound linebacker Sam Shipley. “He’ll have me do a push-up off of a ledge, a lot not traditional things, but are very effective that I’ve seen in developing explosive power and speed and strength.”

Workouts can vary from short explosive training with football players or basketball players practicing flexibility.

“A lot of the things we do are unorthodox, but they apply perfectly to what we’re doing,” said Sam Shipley. “Me, as a linebacker, how often am I going to have to run 100 yards? Once a season. How often am I going to have to run 10 or 20 yards? Every play.”

City College forward Richard Somdah of the men’s basketball team takes a ballet class on campus. He calls the training “complicated” and “intense.”

“Honestly, I believe in this kind of stuff more than I believe in using the weights all the time,” said Somdah. “I thought that was the way, but the way that I feel from doing this [ballet] just makes me not agree that just hard weights are the way to go.”

Basketball star Tim Duncan can attribute some of his success to the boxing he works on during the off-season. Tennis player Andy Murray admits that bikram yoga was the key to his Barclays Dubai Open victory over superstar Roger Federer in 2008 according to BBC News.

“I’ve done many different kinds of yoga like bikram yoga, which is almost a cult now,” said 19-year-old women’s basketball player Lauren Kahn. “It’s a little frightening.”

Kahn takes Rosabeth Dorfhuber’s fitness yoga class to help prevent the wear-and-tear that basketball does to the body and avoid specific basketball injuries.

Nowadays workouts aren’t all about just being at your peak physically. Athletes are also looking to peak mentally.

“What I really like about Rosabeth’s yoga is that she works with athletes,” said Kahn. “Before our season started she was helping us with mental toughness and visualizing, for example, that you’re at the free-throw line and thinking it’s [the ball] going to go in.”

Mental confidence is another factor athletes like Somdah are trying to acquire from workouts.

“In the ballet class, I have a few of my teammates in there, they start doing little walks and stuff and we get it down right and we’re high-fiving and stuff,” said Somdah. “It’s the exact same kind of confidence and drive you need on the court.”

“In the third round, I’ve still got to have my head on my shoulders,” said 25-year-old mixed martial artist Joe Person. “That’s what’s hard and he [Adam] puts me in these stressful situations and makes me react.”

19-year-old men’s basketball player Joshua Guild also does ballet and is one of the teammates taking the class with Somdah.

“I feel like when I do ballet before practice it will help me be a little bit more explosive,” said Guild. “Everything’s all loose and warmed up.”

Adam Shipley said “coaches are still in the dark ages,” when it come to training. With stories like his younger brother’s acceptance to the University of Maine it’s hard to argue the results. 

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