College Football Strength Training

The following post is written by Nick Cipkus. Nick works as the Social Media and Marketing Representative for Liberty Performance Training. Please take a moment to visit his website at for insights on small business and sports performance!


Each and every strength coach has their own training philosophy. At Liberty Performance, we love to hear different perspectives. We feels this makes us a better all around company.

We recently caught up with Benjamin Iannacchione who is the Director of Sports Performance for football at the University of Wyoming.

Coach Iannacchione share his thoughts on squats, the off-season training goals for the Wyoming Football team, recommendations for parents and his favorite motivational music/quotes.


Liberty Performance Training: Do you prefer the front squat or back squat? Why?

Benjamin Iannacchione: This is a very good question as they are both core exercises in our program here at Wyoming. I think the main thing to consider when answering this question is what are the training goals? If you are looking for pure lower body strength development, I view the back squat as the king of all exercises. This is not to say that the front squat is not extremely important as it loads the body differently and challenges mobility/flexibility as well. As a program that utilizes a lot of ground based Olympic lifting we feel it is very important to incorporate the front squat as a way to strengthen our athletes in the catch position of a clean and reinforce that posture under a heavier load. 


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Liberty Performance Training: What should parents keep in mind when looking for a trainer for their child?

Benjamin Iannacchione: This may rub some people the wrong way, but I think that at times parents are too quick to send their kids to personal trainers. There are many VERY good strength coaches at the High School level. Prior to the high school age most kids just need to learn the basics of movement and motor patterning; so if a personal trainer is marketing anything other than that I cannot say that I would recommend it.


Liberty Performance Training: What are the goals of your program this off-season?

Benjamin Iannacchione: The main goal in the weight room this offseason was to add quality lean mass to our kids and get them strong. We focused on the back squat, front squat, deadlift and bench press while doing higher volume on our auxiliary exercises. We did introduce some of our Olympic movement to coincide with some of our speed and change of direction work that we did on the field.

Coach Donoval does all of our speed programming and he aimed to teach a foundation of change of direction and acceleration work. His goal was to build starting strength out of our stance this spring so we can progress to more aggressive speed and multi-directional speed work in the summer.


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Liberty Performance Training: Favorite motivational quote and/or song to play in the weight room?

Benjamin Iannacchione: When it comes to music, I grew up a metal head. Anything by Metallica up until …And Justice For All, Slayer, Pantera all the way to Slipknot and Lamb of God I’ll try to blow the doors off the room. When our kids are lifting, I like to play anything that will get them hyped – you would have to ask them the name of the artists they like because I am not even close to hip when it comes to music.

I am not a big quote guy but I do have a few that struck a chord with me that I keep in mind:

“If someone shoved your head under water, and you believed you were going to die you’d fight like hell. Clawing, scratching for air. Well the fear isn’t as imposing, but you are going to die, so why the f*ck aren’t you fighting every single day to really live? Why don’t you chase your dreams with the same authority as you would if life was mere seconds from ending? You may not feel it, but the clocks ticking, and living ain’t always being alive. Define yourself, chase your happiness, be a beast in this body, and you will live far longer than your flesh.”          – Brandon Lilly


“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”         – Helen Keller


“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”                      – Theodore Roosevelt

We are definitely going to add a couple of the quotes mentioned above into our toolbox. While motivation is temporary, it can help young athletes dig deep during a workout.  Liberty Performance Training was founded in Phoenix, Arizona in May of 2015 with the primary goals of increasing individual athletic performance, motivation, and quality of life for athletes at any level. We are more than just a fitness gym, above all else, our coaches truly care about each and every athlete they work with.  We espouse integrity, work ethic, and performance outcomes above anything. Whether you are looking to compete in your first lifting competition, you are a high school or college athlete trying to make a team or improve your positional skills, or you are a Masters level competitor in any activity recreational or otherwise, Liberty Performance Training will improve your performance as well as your lifestyle.