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By Randy York (second in a series)
The best news about Nebraska introducing its state-of-the-art EliteForm strength and conditioning product at last week’s national strength conference in Orlando is simply this: It is not an elitist product designed specifically for elite athletes. True to Nebraska’s philosophy and style, EliteForm promises to optimize the development of all athletes in all sports. Nebraska’s weight room always has and will set the tone for daily improvement in athletic performance, and EliteForm is geared to give Nebraska every discernible edge in one of college athletics’ most pivotal performance areas.
Want the ultimate proof of the weight room’s importance? Nebraska’s football team voted Lavonte David and Rex Burkhead 2012 Co-Lifters of the Year. That honor is not politically motivated, and Nebraska’s All-America linebacker and All-Big Ten running back really did tie in a voting rarity. “Lifter of the Year is about who improves the most on the field because of his superior year-round commitment to strength and conditioning training,” Nebraska Head Strength Coach James Dobson said. “This is one honor where your teammates are the only ones who vote because they know who is working hard and sacrificing more than anyone else. They also know that commitment in the weight room is vital to their success on the field. Developing the mental and physical tools necessary to compete at a championship level is a very challenging process. It takes a very dedicated and focused individual to compete each and every day of the year. In the minds of our coaches, the Lifter of the Year award represents what Nebraska football is all about.”
Truer words cannot be spoken, and the beauty of Nebraska’s strength and conditioning program is reflected in the wide distribution of benefactors. The range stretches from unknown walk-ons who dream big to highly touted recruits who arrive on campus with NFL-caliber potential. Consider some of the great players who became greater because of their commitment to strength training and their winning Lifter of the Year awards: Bill Barnett, Rik Bonness, Adam Carriker, Kelvin Clark, Cody Glenn, Rod Horn, Danny Noonan, John Parella, Dave Rimington, Jim Skow, Matt Slauson, Jared Tomich and Kyle Vanden Bosch. Consider, too, some of the walk-ons who used the weight room (and Lifter of the Year award) as the stairway to unimaginable success: I.M. Hipp, Derrie Nelson, Cory Schlesinger and Mike Tranmer, the only captain in Nebraska football history never to have earned a scholarship.
We have at least one more important player who became a captain and Nebraska’s 2006 Lifter of the Year … Brandon Rigoni, a 5-foot-6, 185-pound stick of athletic dynamite and relentless passion. After his Husker career ended, he studied bio-psychology under Dr. Dan Leger and focused on stress physiology related to athletic performance. Rigoni made his name in Nebraska’s weight room, became a volunteer assistant in his primary field of expertise and is now a full-time member of Dobson’s strength staff. Rigoni is the most critical day-to-day contact with Nebraska Global, the Huskers’ collaborator on EliteForm, a software product that was exhibited and inspected closely at last week’s national strength conference. Nebraska Global’s booth received a consistent flow of traffic and resonated among coaches checking it out. EliteForm is definitely working for the Huskers, and now Nebraska Global hopes that coaches’ excitement for this new product cultivates relationships and translates into national sales. Meanwhile, be sure to watch Rigoni demonstrate how Husker Power works in the 21st Century.
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