DetNews: Barwis Training The Seniors

Submitted by Mr. McBlue and… on January 24th, 2012 at 7:21 AM

An article on Barwis training Michigan's graduating seniors.  Two quotes stick out from the artcile:


Molk said his agent initially presented him with options of training at elite locations in Arizona, Florida or Texas.

"The other places are resorts — you come here to work," said Molk, the Rimington Trophy winner who had surgery Jan. 13 and will be limited four months.




The 6-foot-6 Van Bergen said his weight is the same — 288 pounds — but his physique has changed, evidenced by the fact he couldn't make his stomach protrude so he could show teammates his "fat stomach" look.

"I've lost 3 to 4 inches off my stomach, and my strength has gone up dramatically," Van Bergen said. "And this is nothing against Michigan's strength program — this is a different kind of training. We're training hard."


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January 24th, 2012 at 7:25 AM ^

Does anyone know the back story why hoke didnt keep barwis aside from he might have just wanted his own guy ? Barwis just seems like the best S&C coach in the country and at least from what Ive heard Barwis wanted to stay at Michigan..


January 24th, 2012 at 8:21 AM ^

I have to think training for the combine is also different than training for the game. There's a lot of guys RVB's size, and they've all been lifting for years and strong as hell.  Bench pressing is not going to be a problem and is only one of the areas tested.  The other physical tests all have to do with quickness and jumping abilitiy, so that's what is being emphasized.


January 24th, 2012 at 11:26 AM ^

"You really want to be a track athlete for (the combine in Indianapolis)," said Martin, who is participating in the Senior Bowl. "Football shape and combine shape are different. We work on the drills and he trains us a certain way to get us as fast and as explosive as we can be. Once that's over, we transition to a different type of training."


January 24th, 2012 at 9:14 AM ^

After reading the article, I took it to mean that he's trying to get leaner to improve his 40 time.  It talked about training specifically for the events at the combine.  After the combine, the training will change to prepare them for fall camp.  i wouldn't be surprised to see the weight (probably some body fat) increase again.  

Nice article.  


January 24th, 2012 at 11:36 AM ^

I am willing to be that it is more a combination of his quickness (ridiculous first step), timing, strength, and fundamentals (which I cannot guage at all but assume he has some) more than his size/fat. His penetration probably has little to do with his fat/size, but the inability for the Oline to move him in the run game would. I would take some fat on my guys if they were all Vince Wilforks but not if they are just regular Joe Shmoes (i.e. Will Campbell).


January 24th, 2012 at 7:50 AM ^

I agree howeva - seems like strength and conditioning coaches are a LOT different from like a position coach or coordinator. Plus, Barwis wanted to stay and its clear he wasnt selling wolf tickets because after he was fired by Michigan he started a business here, right ? I just feel like theres more there - maybe Im just digging

Section 1

January 24th, 2012 at 11:23 AM ^

If you have not clicked on Magnus' (sig) link, you should.   It might be the best few paragraphs on the Dantonio-Hecklinski incident that anyone has written.  And you'll see his blog, which is a very good adjunct to MGoBlog.  Lots of Smart Football (both the web site and the notion) and, well, check it out.


January 24th, 2012 at 10:50 AM ^

and it appears that Barwis has found another career option (personal training for elite athletes) that he was not in a year ago.

It's reasonable for anyone to assume that Barwis would have left to follow RR to his next gig. That didn't happen, but that maybe because Barwis is happy (and making good money) in AA personal training.


January 24th, 2012 at 10:59 AM ^

Who Arizona DID hire (from Michigan and WV)-

I'm glad Barwis is still around.  I don't think he was a problem, I don't think he was an end all answer. If Hoke didn't have someone who had been with him, it'd been fine for Barwis to stay. Now with him around, we have a lot of options for our players. And that's good.


January 24th, 2012 at 7:40 AM ^


  • • 3 Month - $300.00 (includes 4 areas of training) - any additional areas will be $20.00
  • • 6 Month - $480.00 (includes 4 areas of training) -any additional areas will be $15.00
  • • 12 Month - $840.00 (includes 4 areas of training) -any additional areas will be $10.00
  • • You may purchase cycles separately for $30.00/month per area of training.

I can't figure out if this is on-site?  Like, there's no way traning in Barwis' facility could amount to only 70 bucks a month. 


January 24th, 2012 at 8:24 AM ^

It's not about Barwis, it's about Aaron Wellman, Brady Hoke's right hand man and his longtime S&C coach going back to Ball State.  When you listen to Coach Hoke speak about Wellman, it's clear that he has empowered Wellman to not only do S&C, but also leadership training.

From Jason Whitlock's column on Brady Hoke's "Summer of Hoke" right before the Western game:

Hoke’s own little twists include a leadership program he developed along with his coaching soulmate, Aaron Wellman, Michigan’s head strength coach, and Hoke’s right-hand man since Ball State.

The Friday night march to the Big House, while stolen from Carr and Moeller, was incorporated into Hoke and Wellman’s leadership program. They teach leadership and responsibility. Not organically. Not when convenient on the field. Not just by the selection of team captains.

Hoke and Wellman developed a booklet. They teach leadership in a classroom setting. They have regular discussions with the players about the principles and characteristics of a great leader. Hoke and Wellman work primarily with the seniors. Assistant coaches work with the underclassmen.

I’m not doing a good job of describing the uniqueness of Hoke and Wellman’s leadership program. But the overwhelming majority of coaches never fully explain leadership. They recognize it when a player demonstrates it, and they’ll occasionally make an effort to point out strong leadership when they see it. What they don’t do is take the time to teach it.


So there was no way that Hoke was coming to Michigan and not bringing Wellman. Pure and simple.


January 24th, 2012 at 9:59 AM ^

NCAA rules in the offseason make it so your S&C coach is the guy when the football staff can't have much contact with the players.  so the choice of a S&C coach has much more to do with someoen you trust to watch your kids and making sure they are doing what they need to do to get where they need to be for fall camp than it does about being the best S&C coach out there, and I'm sure both Wellman and Barwis are top of there game, just Hoke didn't have a relationship with Barwis, so of course he would go to the guy heknows, has a relationship ship already and knows he can trust.


January 24th, 2012 at 8:29 AM ^

We got pushed around a lot these last couple of years.  If we could do this I would love to have Barwis train all of our skill players and Wellman train the trenches.  We need size in the trenches and I really think that was almost forgotten in Barwis' training methods.  I cannot disagree with what he did on the outside though.  I just felt like some guys were a step slower this year, namely Denard and Courtney Avery. There just seemed to be something missing,  We didn't see the huge runs of Denard of old all year, and Avery seemed just too slow this year. Granted I might be biased because I loved Avery last year and thought he was going to be an absolute stud and I don't like seeing my predictions falling flat on their faces.

Nick Sparks

January 24th, 2012 at 8:55 AM ^

The major reasons we were getting pushed around in the trenches were Gerg's tendancy to trot out a 3 man line on the one-yard-line and we were typically sending out underclassmen to compete against upperclassmen, and no matter how good Barwis' program is, 19 year olds with 2 years in an S & C program will usually beat 21 year olds with 4 years in most college-level S & C programs.

That being said, as someone who used to have a poster of Barwis on his wall, I'm coming around to the idea that a bit of fat in the trenches isn't a bad thing. Plus I agree with you that our skill positions seemed to miss a little extra speed.

I'll trade that for what we've gained with this new staff in return, but it would be kind of nice to have both.


January 24th, 2012 at 9:41 AM ^

It seems like Michigan came out with the best of both worlds.  Barwis remained in Ann Arbor and consults for teams (which includes Michigan sports team).  Hoke was able to bring in Wellman.  We have access to both of them.

Personally I always figured that the U of M is doing its best to steer business in the direction of Barwis Methods.  That's why he didn't bolt for Arizona.  We've been helping him build his own brand.  Note how all his photos on his site are him wearing Michigan gear and half his customer quotes are from Michigan players.  

So basically we managed to use it so we have access to two S&C guys.


January 24th, 2012 at 4:34 PM ^

FWIW, I'm acquaintences with one of Barwis' neighbors, and they told me that Michigan paid him 2 years severance after the coaching transition.  Assuming this is true, it seems like a smart move by the University to keep him in the area and also keep him with postive feelings towards the program

Feat of Clay

January 24th, 2012 at 9:43 AM ^

A friend of mine is doing some kind of brutal "cross-fit" training program but had to leave off when he came for a visit to Ann Arbor.  When we passed a gym, he wistfully said he'd love to go squeeze in a workout, but they probably would freak out if he tried the lifts his gym in Chicago advocates.

Me:  It's too bad we're not in Plymouth; you could go to Mike Barwis, the guy who used to do Michigan's program.  He's supposed to be amazing.

Him:  Well, most gyms don't let you do the lifts I'm doing.

Me:  Supposedly he raises wolves as a hobby.

Him:  Hm, I'll bet he WOULD be cool with it.


January 24th, 2012 at 10:21 AM ^

I think the main point is what each HC wants in their players. The S&C guys shape the players into what fits in the scheme of the HC.

While Barwis maybe a better overall S&C guy, Wellman develops players the way Hoke wants and understands what Hoke needs.

Personally I think Barwis and Wellman are great and an improvement over Gittleson.


January 24th, 2012 at 11:22 AM ^

"(Coach) Brady Hoke did a fantastic job with the guys, keeping them on track," Barwis said. "And he especially did a great job managing them and making sure they were focused on each other and were team players. I was grateful for that because those kids were like my family."

Love this quote. Barwis goes out of his way to praise the current Michigan staff (which could admittedly be construed as self-serving, but one doesn't get the impression Barwis is the type to say things for the sake of image), and still shows his love for his guys. Admittedly, he doesn't mention Wellman specifically - I wonder if those two would see each other as friends or rivals?


January 24th, 2012 at 11:43 AM ^

Sorry, if answered earlier, why couldnt these Michigan players train at Michigan.  I am so happy that we can give some business over to Barwis.  Is it a rule that they cant train when they graduate?


January 24th, 2012 at 1:01 PM ^

I'm guessing that they can get a bit more one on one time, over a greater time, with private attention than they can get by a guy getting paid not just to get guys ready for the combine, but overseeing a whole team's off-season work outs. You can always do that at the school, but they don't have the time to give two a day individual attention to just a couple of guys. In the past, grads had little choice (unless they were for sure high picks and could go anywhere in the Country to do it).  Now they have a tremendous alternative just down the road.


January 24th, 2012 at 4:43 PM ^

It was explained upthread but to reiterate, training for the combine is a totally different type of training. They are going for more explosion and quickness (track strength) rather than just sheer strength. Barwis is the master at the first but doesn't put as much emphasis on the latter. After the combine and pro days the players will switch back over to a more traditional type of training to gain mass and strength (football strength) This alone should show you the huge flaws in the way the NFL combine works.


January 24th, 2012 at 1:21 PM ^


10:57 a.m. CT -- Morning practice is over. Without a doubt the two most impressive players this morning came from the defensive line. Mike Martin of Michigan and Kendall Reyes of UConn were both impossible to stop and set up shop behind the line of scrimmage.

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