No ‘cons’ in conditioning

After-school workouts offers offseason training, injury prevention for athletes


Photo by Nicholas Alumkal '23

IMPROVE AND ENHANCE Bussell(left) explains how to perform an exercise of pushing up from a chest down position into a short sprint to Prabhu (center) and Raj Tiller (right). “I assess athlete improvement on form and mobility,” said Bussell. “When we are able to increase mobility, and bring it all together to connect our brain to our muscles and ensure that everything is in line—that is when we see the strength gains.”

Nicholas Alumkal '23, Sports Staff

‘Get Jacked with Jarrett’ is what they call it. The afternoon strength and conditioning program led by cross country and track and field coach Jarrett Bussell allows Greenhills athletes to stay fit during their offseason and take advantage of the on-site fitness center. The program currently runs from 3:45 to 5 p.m. from Monday to Thursday during the winter sports season and is open for all upper school Greenhills athletes to stop by and workout after school.

“I run conditioning to build our base strength and ensure that athletes stay conditioned and that we are not getting too flat in the off months,” said Bussell. “We work on increasing mobility and stability —  so that when the season comes around we have the ability to prevent injuries. Our goal is to both get stronger and be able to perform at the highest level possible.”

The program offers an opportunity to train before the spring sports season begins. According to Bussell, the program is formulated to create a strong foundation in strength, mobility, injury prevention, and functional movement skills. Each day of the week the session focuses on a certain set of muscles and follows a daily itinerary.

“We start by first doing a warmup either jogging or stretching,” said Matt Prabhu ‘23. “After that we do a circuit centered around mobility, stability, or power circuits which involves various exercises to strengthen certain muscles. Next we have weightlifting in the gym, with either leg or arm day.”

The conditioning sessions started before COVID-19 in the 2019-20 school year, but were halted when the virus cast students to their domiciles. After returning to campus in 2021, Bussell was able to run the workouts in the winter of 2021 and the summer of 2022.

“Right now, conditioning is just through the winter season, because there are a lot of athletes who don’t do a winter sport, so they have the ability to come to conditioning,” said Bussell. Obviously everyone has the summer off, so we have conditioning during the summer. There is potential to grow to be a year round thing, where sports teams attend the sports and conditioning sessions as a team; that is something we are looking into and interested in.”

Since the program has started, Bussell has enjoyed seeing the growth of athletes as they attend conditioning throughout their time at Greenhills.

“One of my favorite things about running conditioning is to be able to see the seniors I’m working with this year, who I’ve been working with since they were sophomores,” said Bussell. “It is incredible to see their growth in the exercises they can do and their form and technique. I also enjoy getting a workout together after school, working hard, and having laughs.”

Participating athletes set physical and mental goals for their sports to achieve through the program. The sessions have also covered mental approaches to improve performance.

“Overall, I want to achieve a more muscular version of myself and be fit,” said Prabhu. “It helps with my sport [track and field]. On the mental side, it helps me not rush, and to take your time with each exercise in order to achieve the maximum effect.”

Bussell offers team conditioning sessions, allowing an entire sports team to workout together. These sessions can strengthen camaraderie within the team during the offseason, as well as to maintain strength and fitness.

“Team workouts are a good option,” said Prabhu. “ You are able to work out with your friends or other people you do not know yet, who are new to the team. It gives you a chance to get to know different people, and begin building a bond before the season starts.”

Bussell believes the conditioning program can be important to address injuries. He says one of the program’s goals is to prevent injuries, but if an injury does occur, he notes that there are exercises that can be done in order to work out the muscles that are not directly involved with the injury.

Down the road, Bussell wants to increase participation at the sessions by informing athletes of the advantages of strength and conditioning in the offseason. He also notes the enjoyment of students spending time with friends or teammates and getting a valuable workout done in the process. Promotions for the sessions are occasionally published in the eForum newsletter, but Bussell wants to continue to spread the word of the program, especially in the summer months where the opportunities are endless due to the vacancies of the workout facilities on campus.

“I’m always down for more participation,” said Bussell. “I always recommend finding another friend or teammate to bring with you, and then it is even more fun to do it with a partner. A lot of the exercises that we do have a partner or go through it with a partner, so I think it is a nice bonding experience.”

Bussell’s stressed athletes should come in order to reach their potential. He said sessions are valuable for the wellbeing of any athlete, whether one plays a sport or is trying to stay fit.

“If you come, you will be bigger, faster, stronger and less likely to get injured,” said Bussell. “Being able to reach your potential, or get closer to your max potential of what you can perform at, is super fun. I wish I would have taken advantage of strength and conditioning as an athlete and distance runner. I didn’t think I needed it, but all athletes can certainly benefit.”

And the name—‘Get Jacked with Jarrett’: “ It’s fine,” said Bussell. “Anything that gets people to show up and workout, I support.”