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Tigers do some heavy lifting

John Youngkrantz carries a sandbag through a row of tires.

The name says it all.

Brutal Recess.

It's a moniker Farmington High School strength and conditioning coach Scott Meier has borrowed for his summer training camp, which is giving Tiger student-athletes more and more creative ways to stay in shape in its 11th season.

"Brutal Recess is actually a term I borrowed from a guy named Chip Conrad of Bodytribe Fitness in Sacramento. I came in contact with him last year, and he has some interesting philosophies when it comes to fitness and exercise," Meier said. "(Brutal Recess) is done as a group outside the weight room, rather than having the kids do the exercises as part of their lifting workout. By doing it as a group, I think it's been much more successful. The kids seem to be getting great results and there is also a good team-building aspect that you usually don't get from lifting."

What kinds of activities are the kids bonding over? There's running up hills while carrying medicine balls, flipping 500-pound tires, swinging a pair of 40-pound ropes and running relays with 50-pound sandbags, just to name a few.

"Basically, it's an 'anything goes' type approach. If you've got something heavy that you are lifting, throwing, carrying or moving, then it's good," Meier said. "The workouts are very demanding, but also fun at the same time. You'll see kids working hard and struggling, but with a smile on their face. We've done some kind of crazy things with Brutal Recess, but all with the same purpose in mind. You use your entire body for most things, and in a way that is very applicable to sports, but different from what you do in the weight room."

The weight room is still a part of Meier's summer program, however. In addition to the Brutal Recess activities, student-athletes also spend a half-hour each morning lifting weight and a half-hour on JAQS (jumping, agility, quickness, speed) training. Meier believes a dedicated workout regimen over the summer can help give athletes an edge when the high school sports seasons come around.

"I think the summer training is extremely important. This is the time of year that you can really focus on training and making some big gains and improvement," he said. "There aren't the distractions that are there during the school year. There aren't the in-season competitions that limit the amount of training.... If kids really want to reach their fullest athletic potential, they need to be training in the summer."

Quite a few Farmington athletes are taking Meier's message to heart. Training camp numbers are once again on the rise this summer, especially among underclassmen and female athletes. The variety of new activities provided by Brutal Recess has also kept kids coming back, Meier suspects.

"The feedback from the kids has been very positive. Doing something different always helps, but this has taken it to a whole new level," he said. "At the end of Brutal Recess, most kids are covered with sweat, are spent and exhausted, but they got a great workout in and had fun doing it."

The final day of training camp is today, giving athletes 10 days off before the fall sports seasons begin Monday, Aug. 16.

"Overall, I thnk this is the best summer we've had," Meier said. "It has been extremely productive, and I couldn't be happier with how it has gone. I'm looking forward to seeing it pay off once the competitions start in the fall."