As you expect, Keene State College athletes are in the gym during the off-season and in-season looking to improve their game and gain an edge on the tough competition.

These workouts come from Strength and Conditioning Coach Sarah Testo.

Testo enters her twelfth year as Strength and Conditioning Coach at KSC, however, it does not mean she has done the same routine in that span.

Denise Grattage / Equinox Staff

Denise Grattage / Equinox Staff

“I change my workouts every four weeks; you need to stay current in the field, you need to do research,” Testo said.

“What you think is right six months ago may not be right today.”

“She’s very good at what she does and she knows sports-specific types of exercises for different teams, and we let her go with it, that’s her expertise,” KSC Baseball coach Ken Howe said.

Every year student-athlete’s receive workout packets from their coaches and Testo for the off-season, where they are available online for them to print out and follow along at home in the summer.

“You can only give it to your players, it has to be password protected,” Howe said.

“It’s not available for a recruit to go online and take a look at it.”

Each sport has specific goals for their team depending on what time of year it is, which can be a combination of strength and conditioning as well as personalized tips for individual players.

For example, pitchers have a different workout than other position players in baseball.

“It’s about eighty percent of the same stuff but a lot of the pitching stuff we try to make sure they’re not going past ninety degrees with their shoulders,” Howe said.

“If I know of a certain weakness that they have, we’ll talk,“ Testo said. “From a technical standpoint in the weight room, a lot of [athletes] are learning techniques for the first time so it’s like teaching a baby how to walk. It’s really just getting them to learn the technique before focusing on strength.”

Having no control over the athletes when they’re home for the summer, Testo tries to keep it simple to avoid injury in the off-season.

“Basic strength training. I only give Olympic lifts to returning players that I know can do them,” Testo said. “My expectation in the summer is that they’re running, lifting and following the program, and playing as much lacrosse as possible,” head lacrosse coach Mark Theriault said.  “The training is not just running and lifting but gaining more lacrosse knowledge.”

Depending on the team, exercises and workouts vary to try and help improve the muscle movement athletes will be performing during competition.

“It depends on the movement of their sport for what we want them to do,” Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach Kristen Huckins said. “With swimmers, they’re going into that deep knee flexion on their turns, so you want them to be going through the same range of motion in the gym than they would in the pool.”

Student-athletes receive pre-season testing and post-season testing so when they return for the season coaches take note on their appearance before training begins.

“If they don’t come in shape there’s a lot of kids that want that starting position and their going to work hard to beat them out of that spot,” Theriault said.

“We’re going to put the people who are in the best possible shape and skill-wise in those positions.”

“If the kids don’t do the things they need to do then it’s time for them to move on just like it’s time for us to move on,” Howe said.

Some athletes study these workouts more than others; some are encouraged to incorporate their own workouts along with Testo’s.

“I try to follow it as much as possible,” senior discus thrower on Track and Field, Angus Fisher said. “The bulk of the summer was to build strength and now the goal is to maintain while waiting for the season to start.”

“I follow it very closely, I’m very superstitious about it,” senior soccer player Jessie Berthiaume said.

“It makes a difference for me going shoulder to shoulder with someone, I notice I’m stronger or faster coming into the pre-season because of the workout.”



Stephen Arulio can be contacted at

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