June 15, 2006 - by
A Look at Florida State Strength & Conditioning with Coach Jon Jost

June 15, 2006

Assistant sports information director Jeff Purinton sat down with FSU head strength and conditioning coach Jon Jost to discuss topics such as how he got his start in athletics and what a typical football lifting schedule includes.


How did you get your start in strength and conditioning?


“I was born and raised in Nebraska and did my undergraduate work at the University of Nebraska. I was involved in sports my whole life and through high school. I wasn’t talented enough to play at the Florida State or Nebraska level, but I wanted to figure out a way to use athletics within my career and with my degree which was exercise physiology. I met with Boyd Epley, who was the director of strength and conditioning at Nebraska, and started to volunteer. I went on to get my master’s at Nebraska and was hired full-time. Those are the principles I draw upon when implementing a program here.”


A lot of people may not realize the commitment FSU football players make in the weight room. Take us through a normal football strength and conditioning program for the year.


“I’ll start with post-bowl workouts because that’s really where the year begins. Our goals are to recover from injuries and to go through what we call the hypertrophy stage which is developing muscular endurance and building mass. Hopefully with the guys that need to gain weight, we start the process of building lean body mass. That starts in January once we get back from the bowl. Once we go into mat drills, we go into a strength building cycle, but we will actually cut back on the number of times we lift during the week simply because of how strenuous our off-season program is with mat drills. Following that, we have a week of spring break and then we go into spring ball. We try to lift through spring ball as much as we can and still develop strength. We have to really scale back a true strength development cycle because of the amount of contact that is done during spring ball, but ultimately our goal is still to gain strength during that time. The only time our players really have off is after spring ball in the month of May which is the slowest time for them. Our summer program starts off nine weeks before we report for fall camp. The NCAA allows us to start nine weeks prior with one of those weeks being a discretionary week so we actually have an eight-week summer program. The summer is probably the most important time of the year as far as physical development is concerned. The primary objectives during that eight-week cycle are improving strength, improving speed and preparing for the physical rigors of fall camp. It is really a challenging time of year because it’s very difficult to improve strength, speed, and conditioning all at the same time, and that’s something we have to do during the course of the summer. It starts out with a high volume of work which is lot of sets and reps at a little bit lower weight. In the middle of the summer, our goal is simply to develop strength and as we progress through the summer to peak speed and power going into fall camp.


“During the season, we really have three different categories of players. We have a developmental group, which is primarily incoming freshmen and athletes who are redshirting. They will train four times a week. We try as much as possible to have them in an off-season type of program. They’ll have a high volume workout with lots of sets and reps. The primary objective for their first six months is developing muscular endurance in order to gain lean body mass and then also really improving upon technique. A lot of the players come in not having an awful lot of technique work. The second group would be our travel squad, basically our top 60 players. Those are the players you are going to see on the field Saturday getting 40 or more snaps a game. They are going to train two times a week. They’ll train Mondays and Wednesdays and it’s really a maintenance program although we do lift pretty heavy during the course of the season because if we don’t, they will lose strength by the end of the season. It’s a period of time where we don’t have a lot of volume, only about five exercises a day. A typical day would be doing four sets of four or three sets of four per exercise. That will be cycled as well. The total number of sets and reps per exercise will be somewhere between eight and 12, where as in the off-season and during the hypertrophy stage it would be between 28 and 32. Obviously with those players the primary objective is winning football games and while we want to continue to develop in the weight room, we have to be careful not to be counterproductive to their speed, explosive power and to their endurance. Then we have a group that really falls in between those two and those are the players that are not redshirting, maybe playing only on special teams or something, and they will train three times a week.”


Florida State had four first round picks this year and those guys credit the strength and conditioning program for much of their success. Talk about a guy like Kamerion Wimbley and how he became a first rounder.


“Kamerion is a great example. The first time we put him on a scale, he weighed 209 pounds. He left at about 252 or 254. During the process of gaining 45 pounds, he improved his 40 from a 4.99 to a 4.60 which is pretty remarkable. The first thing we do with athletes is put them through a functional movement screening which is similar to going through a physical, but is more strength and conditioning specific. Through that we want to look at range of motion of joints, we want to look for flexibility issues and muscular inbalances. Then the second thing we want to do is take a look at that information, take a look at their body composition, talk to the coaches, and sit down and set goals with each athlete. We really like to have them set the goals, but with our guidelines. We list goals after their freshman year, sophomore year, and on through preparing for the combine. From all of that material, that’s where we develop a program to help them reach those goals. Once the program is developed, the next step is working with their technique. Every single week, an athlete gets a new program. We’ll look at what he’s done in the past and update his program for the next week. At that point in time, it’s their turn to put in the work. The harder they work the more progress they are going to make. Through Kamerion’s four years, I don’t think he ever missed one workout. There have been a number of people who have been extremely compliant, but he did exactly what was asked every single day. It’s exciting to see him make so much progress and live the dream of playing at the next level.”


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