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Up Close: Barbre's Offseason Workout


It hasn't undergone a major sea change, but the Green Bay Packers' offseason program is a little different this year under new strength and conditioning coordinator Dave Redding.

One of the biggest things the players have noticed is the constant movement and constant action as they go through their workouts. They may be in the weight room for only an hour or so, but the activity in that hour is practically non-stop.

To provide a close-up look, followed third-year offensive lineman Allen Barbre, known as one of the team's "workout warriors", through a morning workout recently in the team facility at Lambeau Field. With edited video as an accompaniment, here's a diary of Barbre's workout that day:

7:25 a.m. - Dressed in shorts and a T-shirt, Barbre leaves the locker room to head into the gymnasium to warm up.

7:30 a.m. - Led by assistant strength and conditioning coach Mark Lovat, all the players in the 7:30 workout group go through roughly a dozen stretching exercises as they move back-and-forth across the gym floor. From high knees to side lunges to shuffling and karaoke steps, among other exercises, this part concludes with dipping under and stepping over a series of bars or hurdles, going both directions and diagonally at the far end of the gym.

7:43 a.m. - Box jumps. With a one-step head start, players jump up with both feet landing on a small platform, the highest of which is 36 inches above the ground. Rotating through, each player does 10 jumps.

7:49 a.m. - Leave gym to head into weight room.

7:52 a.m. - The "complex circuit" begins with a loaded barbell, which Barbre calls, "All the explosion stuff." He does a series of four lifts, four repetitions each. First is the snatch (lifting the barbell from the ground straight up over the head), then the clean and jerk (lifting the bar first to the chest and then over the head), then the clean (lifting to the chest) and finally the clean jump (lifting the bar to the waist with a small hop). He starts at 85 pounds and does all 16 reps without stopping.

7:55 a.m. - Using an inflated semi-bubble, Barbre alternates balancing on either foot, lunging back with the other leg. He says this is for ankle strengthening and hip-flexor stretching. He then adds 15 sit-ups on top of an exercise ball. "Just staying busy between sets," he said, as moments later strength and conditioning assistant Mondray Gee hollers out a reminder to all, "Keep working in between!"

8:02 a.m. - Another four sets of the complex workout. Sixteen reps again, this time at 105 pounds.

8:05 a.m. - Quick drink of water.

8:06 a.m. - More ankle and hip-flexor work on the bubble.

8:08 a.m. - 20 more sit-ups.

8:12 a.m. - Third and final sets of complex. Sixteen reps, 105 pounds. Before this last round of sets here, Lovat gives Barbre a few coaching tips. "He's just reminding me not to compromise my technique," Barbre said. "As we work on technique, more weight will come."

8:16 a.m. - A final dose of ankle and hip-flexor work. Assistant athletic trainer Bryan Engel provides some pointers, a common occurrence as the team's medical staff floats throughout the weight room to help players with rehab or pre-hab exercises between their weightlifting sets.

8:19 a.m. - On to the "vertical pull" portion of the workout, a series of exercises focused on back and core muscles. Barbre sits in a double-handled pull down machine and does 10 reps at 230 pounds.

8:21 a.m. - Eight more reps at 230.

8:22 a.m. - Switching to a traditional lat pull down machine with a greater-than-shoulder-width bar, Barbre does six reps at 220 pounds.

8:23 a.m. - Six more lat pull downs at 220. Then he throws a few punches on the speed bag to keep the arms loose. Staying busy again.

8:24 a.m. - Another two-handled pull machine, this one more of an upright rowing motion, pulling the weight up and into the chest rather than down in the previous exercises. Ten reps at 320 pounds.

8:25 a.m. - Eight more upright rows at 320 pounds.

8:26 a.m. - Six more upright rows at 320. "We do a lot with strengthening up your back," Barbre said. "When you lock in with somebody, you need that strength in your lats. That's pretty important to an offensive lineman."

8:28 a.m. - Back to the barbells for power shrugs, grabbing a bar at waist level and lifting by shrugging the shoulders to strengthen neck, trapezius and shoulder muscles. Eight shrugs at 215 pounds.

8:29 a.m. - Six more shrugs at 215.

8:30 a.m. - Six more shrugs at 215.

8:31 a.m. - Another new exercise, this one called the "hammer row." It's a horizontal pull exercise that focuses on core strength, using both arms and the torso to pull weight in opposite directions. There are four machines lined up for players to rotate through, and Barbre does 10 reps at 180 pounds on the first machine, and eight reps at the same weight on each of the remaining three machines. The four sets are completed in less than two minutes.

8:34 a.m. - A quick drink of water.

8:36 a.m. - Four more sets of hammer rows. Eight reps on each machine, all at 180 pounds. All 32 reps done in two minutes.

{sportsad300}8:39 a.m. - Time for the forearm circuit. Barbre grabs two 45-pound weight plates and holds them with his hands below waist level, twisting them back and forth 10 times. Then he sits on a hand-gripper machine and squeezes off about 20 reps at 135 pounds. Last, he sits on a bench and rolls a 75-pound barbell back and forth 20 times, raising and lowering his wrists.

8:42 a.m. - Lovat joins Barbre to provide physical resistance for his neck exercises. Lovat provides the pressure in the front, back and on each side, with Barbre pushing in each direction. "(On the O-line) you take a lot of blows to the head and you're using your neck all the time," Barbre said. "A lot of this is injury prevention and strengthening your muscles to prevent you from getting injured."

8:43 a.m. - Onto the mat for abdominals to finish things off. With a medicine ball between his legs, Barbre does 20 crunches. Then he does 20 more holding the medicine ball above his head and bringing it forward toward his feet. Then 20 more with the ball between his legs again, plus a set with his feet straight up in the air, pushing the ball toward his toes. Finally he sits up holding the medicine ball and rotates his hips side-to-side 20 times each way. Done at 8:48 a.m.

That's a total of 56 minutes in the weight room. Nearly 350 reps with weights, not including sit-ups and other "in-between" exercises. Hardly any rest to speak of.

"That's kind of the point of the workout, not getting a lot of rest," Barbre said. "If you're in a 15-play drive, this will really relate to that whenever you're tired, in the fourth quarter, and you're 15 plays in and you have to dig down deeper. I think this will really help."

After a brief cooling-off in the locker room, he hops in fellow lineman Josh Sitton's truck for the short ride to the Hutson Center for some pattern runs with the offensive line group. About 15 minutes of directional sprints geared toward inside and outside runs, screen plays, and pass sets complete the workout, and it's back to the locker room for a shower.

"This was like a super-set day," Barbre said. "We didn't have a whole lot of rest. The weight wasn't real heavy, so it was a lot of just non-stop movement, a lot of non-stop work. It relates to the football field as far as going, going, going. We have days where it's heavier weight and you might have a little more rest. There's both (types of workouts) every week."

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