It’s no walk in the park.
But athletes looking for an edge in their offseason training can find a grueling workout during the free one-hour warrior training sessions conducted each Friday throughout the summer at Tablyn Park in Lake Elmo.
Organized and conducted primarily by Stillwater wrestling coach Tim Hartung, the sessions are open to athletes young and old.
“It’s a free workout, come push yourself,” Hartung said.
The steep bank at Tablyn Park provides a unique training challenge for participants.
“The whole idea behind (the training) is there’s always a mental part of it where you struggle — whether it’s football and you get tired in the fourth quarter, or wrestling in the third period when your mind starts to become a player in the competition,” Hartung said. “This is just an opportunity to give a kid a chance where they’re going to get exhausted and it’s going to be a challenge. Nobody can keep going the full hour so you’re constantly battling the mind where you’re saying stop, but your body can go longer.
“This is an opportunity for them to continually push their mind and understand that mind/body connection and how the mind is weak at moments. And in big time moments when you start to question yourself you can draw on this and say, hey, I put in a lot of extra hard work that was optional. It was my choice and I deserve this, is really what it is about and getting past the hump, so to speak.”
Among the exercises athletes tackled during the session on July 9 were the fireman’s carry, bear crawl and crab walk — all while ascending the hill that doubles as a popular sledding spot during the winter months.
The sessions have averaged about 30 participants, including some parents and adults, with a high of 51 taking part earlier this summer.
“There’s no equipment, just show up,” said Hartung, who noted athletes in a variety of sports can benefit from this type of training. Because the sessions are just once a week and only last an hour, it is unlikely to conflict with other sports and/or training opportunities. “There’s kids in other sports coming and just seeing what it’s all about and giving themselves a little bit of an advantage.”
The numbers were down a bit on July 9, which was anticipated due to the holiday week. Taking the place of Hartung, Stillwater athletes Antony Tuttle and Sam Bethke led this session due to it being a no-contact period for coaches due to Minnesota State High School League restrictions.
“It’s a super tough workout,” Hartung said. “It’s a challenge, but you feel really good about yourself and anybody that wants to take that challenge come on out. We have three left.”
The remaining sessions, which are held from 7:30-8:30 a.m., are slated for July 16, July 23 and July 30.
Most of the MSHSL fall sports seasons are scheduled to begin on Monday, Aug. 16.