Strength and conditioning among challenges faced by WKU football this spring

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Strength and conditioning are a key component of the offseason for football and this spring it's become a big challenge for WKU.

No longer on being on campus, players are now tasked with completing their workouts from home. That sounds simple enough, but once you apply a few factors, it becomes a bit more complicated. For starters, many gyms across the county are closed and some players have limited access to workout equipment. It's also a lot harder to motivate yourself to workout and push yourself when you're not in a group setting.

"You know, there's really only so much you can do," Tyson Helton, WKU's head football coach said.

Currently, the Hilltoppers are using the Bridge Athletic Tracker app. The app allows Jason Veltkamp, the team's strength coach, to upload workouts every week. The app also features videos of each workout to use as examples. It also times how long they lift.

"Coach Veltkamp has a workout whether you can get to a gym or not," defensive back Trae Meadows said.

"It's still the same drill," offensive lineman Tyler Witt said. "We may not be in spring ball but this is the new path we have to take to take those next steps for this next season."

Veltkamp also lists alternative options for players who might not have weights at home. Meadows said one option was to use milk jugs for weights.

"You can use just household items," Meadows said. " You can still be creative to be successful."

One top of workouts, WKU is also tracking the team's nutrition. The football program is mailing nutrition shakes to the homes of the players. Coach Helton said the NCAA has given them flexibility to assist players with meals.

"The guys that need to gain weight are gaining weight and the guys that need to lose weight are losing weight," Helton said.

Finding the motivation to work out on your own is a challenge itself. Players will need to be self-motivated now more than ever under the new format for spring football.

"When we come back it's going to show who really put in the work and who didn't," Witt said. "This is our time to get that edge."

When football returns to the hill, Meadows believes the team will be more self-driven.

"Once we get back to football it's going to be kind of different," Meadows said. "Everybody's going to have a different drive about themselves."

WKU is taking the steps to adjust its strength and conditioning program to maintain social distancing. However, there are some elements to football that just can't be replicated off the field.

"You know football is a contact sport and you just can't make up for that," Tyson Helton, WKU's head football coach said. "So all the weight lifting and all that gives you a good foundation. Once we get back we've got to get back into the football part of it, football movements.

With new information coming forward each day regarding COVID-19, there is still no clear time frame for when football will be back on the hill.

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