BU Today


Taking On the Triangle of Terror

Semester’s best: Fine-tuning varsity athletes year-round


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Ever wonder why you chose not to become a varsity athlete? Watch as strength and conditioning coach Glenn Harris puts pickup basketball and soccer player Davide Nardi (CAS’11) through the paces in the video above and you’ll remember why. Advil anyone? Photo by Chitose Suzuki

As the semester winds down, we thought we’d revisit some of our favorite features from recent months, in case you missed them the first time around. These stories were selected by the staff of BU Today.Happy holidays!

The third floor of 300 Babcock Street is a cacophony of clanking metal, echoing voices and grunts, and wall speakers throbbing with rap music. In the 12,000-square-foot gym and weight room, members of the men’s varsity hoops squad are short-sprinting under the watchful gaze of BU’s strength and conditioning head coach Glenn Harris.

“He’s got the shoes, he’s got the shoes,” Harris shouts as guard Matt Griffin (SMG’12) bursts forward, stops on a dime, and sprints back.

NCAA regulations prevent varsity student-athletes from contact with their head coaches during much of the off-season, but Harris, who is not a team coach, and his staff are on hand year-round to keep players in top shape. The fitness guru, who has run BU’s strength and conditioning program since 1997, helps devise workout regimens for each of the University’s 23 varsity teams, using the latest training techniques and equipment, as well as some decidedly old-school tools like medicine balls, weight vests, and barrels of rice (athletes plunge their hands in and squeeze the grains to improve wrist strength). Oh, and there’s the dreaded “triangle of terror,” a large rubber band athletes step into for shoulder-screaming, quad-burning resistance work.

“You look around and you see new and shiny equipment, but the mentality is you need to do the hard work,” Harris says. “The successful people are the ones who are good at doing the hard work.”

Harris, who also blogs about strength and conditioning, has trained members of USA women’s soccer, ice hockey, and lacrosse teams, as well as players from Major League Lacrosse, the National Hockey League, and the European Basketball League. He’s also put Massachusetts state troopers through their paces.

The barrel-chested coach and his team design each training session to improve an individual athlete’s movement, core stability, speed, strength, balance, and flexibility. Harris points to Terrier hoops standout Rashad Bell (CGS’03, CAS’05), who now plays professional basketball in Asia, as one of his biggest success stories.

“When I first met Rashad, he was 6 8 and 172 pounds, and now he plays at 218 pounds,” Harris says. “It didn’t happen over the course of four months. It was a four-year process, and he arguably became one of the best players on our team. His mind, and his body, was a sponge.

“I’ve had athletes who have gone on to play professionally come back to me because they really enjoyed their time as a BU athlete and want to get into that training mode again.”

Caleb Daniloff can be reached at cdanilof@bu.edu. Nicolae Ciorogan can be reached at ciorogan@bu.edu.

This story originally ran September 2, 2010.

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