For the past five weeks, Jets strength coach Justus Galac has begun to implement his program during Phases One (April 18-29) and Two (May 2-20) of the team's offseason voluntary program. And with OTAs set to begin on Tuesday, Galac will continue to adjust his plan in order to maximize the results of everyone on the roster.
"One of the terms we use as a staff is we're the valve," Galac said.
Galac along with assistants Kavan Latham and Aaron McLaurin are the tone-setters in the spring. During Phase One, the strength staff and athletic trainers were the only Jets officials permitted on the field or in the weight room with the players. And while coaches were permitted on the field and in the weight room in Phase Two, players were limited to 90 minutes on the field as opposed to the 2 hour max allotted for Phase Three (May 23 – June 17).
"So the more Coach Bowles and his staff do on the field, we might have to turn it down a little bit," Galac said. "If they're doing less on the field, Phase One was an obvious part where they're not doing anything so we can turn it up more and press them more. But also at the this time, we've gotten to the point where we're in Week 4 and their bodies have started to get used to the program. So we can add a little bit more slowly without hopefully getting them sore, so they can go out and perform and do what they need to do. But a lot of that for us is talking to the coaching staff, which we have a great relationship with as far as knowing what they are doing and we can adjust off of them."
The old weight room axioms of higher reps/lower weight and lower reps/higher weight don't necessarily hold true at One Jets Drive.
"The way these guys are training right now, I believe in a Conjugate Method," Galac said. "The conjugate method means you're getting strength and hypertrophy and explosiveness, kind of all in one package, instead of a linear strength program. So my beliefs are a little bit different."
Galac, Latham and McLaurin are constantly tinkering. Their typical day starts before 5:00 a.m. with a workout and that sometimes includes experimentation.
"This past year during the season, we tried a lot of stuff," Galac said. "Some of it made it through, some of it did not. Same thing now. My staff is phenomenal. The fact that they'll come in, we'll do the agilities, we'll do the sprints, we're doing the conditioning, we're doing the lifting. It's a testament to my staff and how good they are and how much they believe in what we're doing because every day we come in we're trying stuff."
Education and Individualization
While the Jets have a broad-based program, each player has different needs. A locker room consists of 21-year-olds who have never participated in a pro strength program and veterans in their 30s who have played more than a decade.
"I think part of our job at any level of strength and conditioning is to educate them on why they're doing it. If a player knows why he's doing something, he's more likely to buy in and to want to do that exercise if I explain what this particular exercise does for you. They buy in more," Galac sad. "I think a lot of that from us is the education process, which never ends in anything. But in strength and conditioning, things are always evolving, things are changing. I talk to guys around the league, around the country at different levels and you can always learn something new. I think for the player, it's important for them to understand that we do that too. We go out and try to bring something new to the program and try to develop this program to be as good as it possibly can be for that individual player."
Behind-the-Scenes Look Inside the Weight Room During Voluntary Workouts
*Weight Room Disc Jockeys *
The tunes in the weight room are controlled by the most veteran player in the group with tenure on the team being the second criteria. David Harris, a 32-year-old entering season 10, handles the tunes for the defense.
"Dave's all over. He'll go some newer artist and then he'll go to old school. He'll go Waka Flocka, he'll go Young Jeezy. Who did he have on? Styles P today. He'll do some Future and stuff, but he does a good job of mixing it up, some old school into some new school," Galac said. "Every now and then, we might go a rock day if it's a squat day just for a change-up. Say it's a Thursday because it's a mix of offense and defense."
While the offense might opt for hip hop as well, the Green & White's veteran center mixes genres up quite a bit.
"Nick Mangold can call anything he wants. He's a very good teammate and he will not always say what he wants and defer to someone else," Galac said. "So we get everything from Dave Matthews to techno to hard rock to rap. It's all over the board."
The players' workloads are about to increase with the commencement of OTAs on Tuesday. Galac will turn the valve down as the on-field requirements increase.
"It's like playing a game," Galac said. "They're constantly moving, we're constantly draining the energy system. So throughout that time, we want to be efficient as we can with our time and make sure we are doing right by the player and making sure we keep developing them."