GREEN BAY—The players are hitting the field for OTAs, but that doesn't mean the strength and conditioning stops.
The Packers moved from the weight room to the football field for four weeks of non-padded practices starting Monday, the third and final phase of the offseason program. During this transition, it's common to hear that the players are expected to "maintain" the gains they've made during the first five weeks of offseason workouts.
Packers Strength and Conditioning Coach Mark Lovat isn't a big fan of that term, though. He won't be with the players as much while they spend more time with the rest of the coaching staff, but that doesn't mean their visits to the weight room will be any more relaxed.
"We never are in a maintenance mode," Lovat said. "That's not really how we're looking at it. We're always looking to push, looking to gain, even in-season.
"Generally as the volume of football work goes up, the volume of weight room or time with us will go down, but that's not at the expense of intensity."
The first five weeks of workouts, which began in mid-April, constituted the first two phases of the offseason program. The players began with two weeks of workouts in the Hutson Center (see the Randall Cobb video below) aimed at expanding the workload the players could handle.
There was less time spent in the weight room than in previous years during phase one, but that was by design and had its benefits.
"They were really competing and pushing that work capacity, the ability to work at an up-tempo and high-intensity level, and I think we got that," Lovat said. "It forced the team to work together in that kind of space and grow as a unit. We asked more and the team gave us more, so I was very pleased with that."
Next in phase two, players combined time with their position coaches with regular sessions in the weight room. They also continued some running and other conditioning aspects introduced in phase one.
Lovat called it a "strength phase" with more running as part of the workouts than in previous years.
"Guys pushed some really good loads and were working through the adaptation that takes place when you ask for that – the soreness and aches and pains," Lovat said. "Guys worked through it. They didn't look for outs."
Now, the idea is to go from "strength to power," but with more limited time as a result of the OTAs in phase three. Again, the off-field workouts won't be about "maintaining" anything aside from their intensity.
"We have to be really efficient with the movements we choose and our workout design," Lovat said. "That's where that becomes that much more crucial."
Phase three wraps up on June 14, and then the players are off for five weeks prior to the start of training camp in late July.
Lovat said some players will continue to work out in Green Bay while others will be on their own. The break is necessary before the long grind of the season starts, but the players still must keep themselves physically prepared to crank it up again.
"That's a long time to get away and come back right into football," Lovat said. "That's tough. You have a nine-week run with your guys and you make some progress, and then there's a five-week hiatus.
"What we hope is we've established a work ethic and a knowledge of training they can take with them so they can come back ready to roll."
An example of a phase one workout: