Jackets Get Stronger

The new Volt weight-lifting program has benefited Cedarville athletics

story by Josh Woolverton; video by Erica Zichi

Cedarville University has transitioned to a new lifting program for its athletic teams. The new program, Volt Athletics, helps athletes excel in their performance and allows Cedarville to remain compliant with NCAA regulations.

Volt Athletics emphasises user-friendliness while increasing performance through strengthening and lifting exercises. The Volt

program provides a platform to make sport-specific training programs for each team. In a sense, Volt acts as a stand-alone strength and conditioning coach that athletes can access through an app.

“To be honest, [Volt] is much better than what we had last year,” sophomore baseball player Gunnar Stinson said. “Last year was a decent program, but it focused on a lot of movement, whereas I feel like Volt can cater to my specific needs as I continue to progress.”

Cedarville began using this new program because the NCAA made a rule requiring Division II schools to have a strength and conditioning coach supervise all varsity programs. Cedarville’s assistant athletic director for athletic training and sport performance, Wes Stephens, has the credentials to supervise the programs and Volt allows him to do it in a time-efficient way.

“The program provides an avenue for me to personally manage 16 different varsity athletic strength training programs that are specific to the sport all by myself,” Stephens said. “It lets me be more of the facilitator than a specific strength and conditioning coach.”

Stephens is able to create each team’s lifting and strengthening routine in about an hour when using the Volt platform. The platform also gives him the flexibility to change the workouts and make them unique. Volt allows him to use a baseline of exercises from a suggested list. Stephens then puts them together to form a workout based on the desired difficulty and equipment available.

“I can tweak it, change it and swap out exercises to help with a particular focus a coach wants to emphasise for the team,” Stephens said.

The program gives smaller staffs the ability to run strength and conditioning programs in a time-efficient way. It allows the university to avoid the need to hire multiple full-time positions by condensing the role to be more manageable.

However, the switch to Volt was not exclusively to stay in compliance with the NCAA. The switch to Volt gives Cedarville a better lifting program than before. Previously, each team had its own lifting program with little accountability. Now the program is more uniform and coordinated.

Volt has provided a way of accountability among teammates. Each team member can see when other teammates have completed the workout and how often the workouts get completed. It gives the upperclassmen and team captains a chance to encourage those who typically do not want to be involved in lifting.

“It builds a sense of team comradery, and responsibility in all the athletes in the program,” Stephens said.

Volt has also had an impact on athlete injuries. While Cedarville athletes still get hurt, the severity of the injuries has changed.

“I think there has been some level of increased soreness because athletes are trying new things, but for the most part we have avoided a lot of the more major injuries, just have had some tweaks here and there,” Stephens said.

Coaches have embraced the change to the new Volt athletics program. It gives them a better ability to monitor the workouts and see who is struggling and who is ready to get a larger workload. Volt also allows coaches to talk with Stephens about areas they specifically want the team to improve on.

“We adopted this workout program and have seen great improvement in our athletes’ performance on the court,” said Cedarville volleyball head coach Doug Walters. “I love the way we can use it to help our athletes perform.”

Stephens said, “Overall we have had extremely positive feedback from coaches, most of the coaches that are using it regularly have been very happy with it.”

Athletes also have a generally positive view on the new Volt program. The ability to have the workout on their phones allows for easy access and removes the hassle of keeping track of different workout sheets in the locker room. All an athlete needs to do is have their phone and head to the weight room.

“Volt is really easy to use,” Stinson said. “The days are already programmed in, so all you have to do is click on the designated day and it pulls up your workout.”

Because the Volt program is so easy to access, it is easy for athletes to take with them when they go home from school. Stephens can change workouts based on the equipment athletes have available during summer or other breaks. This also means that he can easily talk with coaches and athletes about off-season training.

“When athletes go home for the summer, they still have Volt with them, they still have feedback from me,” Stephens said. “I can still adjust their programs from here in Ohio even while they are gone.”

The Volt program is something that Cedarville can use for its lifting and strength and conditioning exercises both now and the future. It is changing the way lifting and workouts are being done.

“As somebody who has been doing strength and conditioning for 12-15 years now, this program is something I would always use,” Stephens said. “It does a lot of things that a person just can’t do.”

Josh Woolverton is a sophomore journalism major and sports reporter for Cedars. He hopes to get involved in sports reporting and analysis after graduation and enjoys watching sports, running, and spending time with friends.

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