Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Fitness, the Buccaneer Way

Introducing a new series of articles on Buccaneers.com designed to share the practices and protocols used by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ strength and fitness team

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Strength and Conditioning Coach Mark Asanovich (right) helps Dexter Jackson through a lifting program

For the professional athlete, it's part of the job. It's background work, like a lawyer knowing his case studies or a soldier performing basic training.

Three or four times a week, each Tampa Bay Buccaneer heads for the back area of One Buccaneer Place, where the weight room is housed. Strength and conditioning sessions are mandatory for each player, but they're also obviously necessary. Professional sports are a battle of physical abilities at the highest level, and most athletes want to maximize their performance by being in peak condition.

And, of course, every professional team is blessed with a strength and training staff that helps players set and meet their goals. On the Buccaneers, that staff is headed up by Strength and Conditioning Coach Mark Asanovich, who has been training players at One Buc since Tony Dungy took over as head coach in 1996. Asanovich spends much of his work day banging weights, but he has the analytical mind of a scientist. The Buccaneers in his training room are working with a plan and a purpose.

And now, through the team's official web site, the Buccaneers are going to share those methods with you.

It's Fitness, the Buccaneer Way, and it's an approach that any person can use, athlete or not. Beginning today, Buccaneers.com will, on a weekly method, share aspects of the team's strength and conditioning approach in a manner that any interested fan can apply to his or her own health. Asanovich believes that imparting these tips and fundamentals to the team's fan base only makes sense.

"Community service has always been an important part of what this organization does," he said. "What we want to give back to our fans is information that is credible and factual. In strength and fitness, there's so much misinformation, that we just wanted to be able to give our fans something that they could sink their teeth into, something they could trust.

"It's valid. It's reliable. You're not going to get this in a muscle and fitness magazine. The glitz and glamour is all gone. We just want to give out credible information."

Asanovich isn't selling any quick-fix programs, and he will start any fitness discussion with a talk on the value of hard work and discipline. But he has spent years in the field of human performance and he has very detailed concepts on everything from diet to workout techniques.

"There are so many people that want to split the atom when it comes to strength training, but it's just like football," said Asanovich. "People say football is a really complicated sport, but the reality is, it comes down to the fundamentals. The team that blocks the best and tackles the best is the team that's going to win. That's true for strength and fitness, too.

"It's the fundamental things – how you implement progression, how you lift the weight, how you lower the weight, the intensity that you perform your sets at. Those basic, fundamental things are what we're going to talk about. Whether it be our players or the people who are reading this information, the physiology remains the same. So the fundamental principles are going to stay the same, too. It's applicable for the athlete or the non-athlete."

So, as we begin our Fitness, the Buccaneer Way program, we'll start with the basic philosophy employed in Tampa Bay's training room. This position paper will always be displayed in the new Fitness section. Please check back on a weekly basis to gather more tips on strength and fitness straight from One Buccaneer Place, using the Fitness button on the right-most column. You may also use this special section to send strength and fitness questions to Mark Asanovich; selected questions will be answered each week.

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Strength Training: The Buccaneer Way

The goal of the off-season (as well as in-season) strength training program will be to develop optimal muscular strength potentials in a manner that is Prudent, Productive, Practical and Purposeful. That is to say, maximal levels of muscular strength -- developed in the safest, most successful, sensible and specific manner is The Buccaneer Way.

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