Bruiser Strong!

In the latest blog installment of #GirlTalk, Coach Matt Green introduces our approach to strength and conditioning.
I’ve spent the majority of my career training female clients to be successful in their sports, activities, and lives in general. Despite their differences in ages, personalities, interests, and abilities, one common thread seems to have always connected them: strength. As I prepared for the school year this summer, I decided to make the concept of being #BruiserStrong my calling card in the weightroom going forward. Simply stated: A foundation of strength will serve our Bruisers throughout their lives in ways they simply cannot imagine.

So what does being Bruiser Strong really mean?

Physical Strength

Being physically strong is perhaps the most obvious component of a strength and conditioning program but also one of the most critical as well. As our girls get stronger, their physical limitations will diminish, and they will have a greater foundation for future success. A famous strength coach once said that physical strength is the foundation on which performance is built; the stronger the foundation,the greater the potential for performance. Additionally, strong individuals, particularly athletes, are far less likely to get injured. As an example, a recent research review found that strength training was the single most effective way to help female athletes decrease the likelihood of ACL (knee) injury.

Mental Strength

When I first arrived at GPS and familiarized myself with the rigorous academic environment, a different side of strength development was revealed to me: helping our girls develop mental strength. I believe you can view the development mental strength in two ways. First, it is well established that regular physical activity is a potent stress buster and brain booster that helps our girls flex their mental muscles as well. When you have a strong body, you are much more likely to have a strong mind. Second, I have found that when my past clients and athletes stuck to a disciplined workout schedule, even in the face of challenging circumstances, that discipline would invariably spill into other areas of their lives.

Emotional Strength

As I mentioned previously, I have been training women of all ages for many years and I can guarantee you this: when girls or women get strong in both body and mind, the heart will surely follow. Unfortunately self esteem and poor body image issues (and their unfortunate consequences) often start in the middle and high school years and can often persist into adulthood. Growth spurts, hormones, and social circle changes can often create a strange journey for girls to navigate. However, I have found that helping a girl get strong can serve as a guiding light on her journey, teaching her to trust and like herself first and foremost regardless of the situation at hand. When I have seen that confidence and self worth bubble through in one my girls, I know they will have plenty of emotional strength to fight the many battles to come.

As I thought about what I wanted to convey in this essay, I came across a video presentation from a recent coaching conference featuring a fellow strength coach Tara De Leon. In her presentation, she does a fantastic job explaining why getting strong is so critical for female athletes from a variety of angles. (View here) However, one quote in particular stands out:

“If we get our kids lifting at a younger age, we will increase their self esteem, self confidence, self efficacy, and teach them to strengthen their passions.”

That statement perfectly merges the GPS mission and my concept of Bruiser Strong. I couldn’t have said it better myself.  

ABOUT MATT GREEN: As strength and conditioning coach, Coach Green works with student-athletes to help them attain peak performance. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s in athletic administration and coaching. He is married to Blaes Schmissrauter Green ’03, a former Bruiser athlete, and is a father of three. Follow GPS Strength and Conditioning on Instagram and Twitter at @GPS_Strength.