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Aug 14

Wrentham’s Liljeberg helps national champ Gamecocks, Delaware athletes with strength, conditioning – The Sun Chronicle


If the University of South Carolina womens basketball team repeats as NCAA Division I national champions in 2018, Jenna Liljeberg would like to think that she will have had a helping hand.

The former King Philip Regional High and Sacred Heart University lacrosse standout is completing a two-year Masters of Exercise Science degree at the University of Delaware. Along the way, she spent two months with the Gamecocks, both before and after their summer sojourn exhibition game series in Japan.

Its a little bit different, the level of talent and the facilities, said Liljeberg, upon returning to the University of Delaware campus in preparation for the fall sports preseason training sessions. The girls on the (South Carolina) team were all pretty amazing, the talent level was a bit more advanced (than Delaware).

The Wrentham native sought out a summer internship program to coincide with her graduate studies and contacted South Carolina strength and conditioning director Katie Fowler.

I got lucky, she took me on, said Liljeberg of the five days per week sessions she spent monitoring the Gamecocks workouts in the weight room.

They have a very structured and disciplined program, added Liljeberg.

South Carolina has a refurbished $4.6 million five-room training facility, of varying sizes to meet the needs of various sports.

Like the room that we were in was used for mens and womens basketball and volleyball, which is perfect for a team of 15 people, she explained. At Delaware, we have two rooms and all the teams share the space, said Liljeberg, who was on hand for many of those 6 a.m. practices as well at the mid- and late-afternoon workouts.

At Delaware, Liljebergs graduate studies have a concentration in Exercise Physiology. She is fulfilling a graduate assistant position that is split into several responsibilities. One is to design the strength and conditioning program for Delawares NCAA Division I mens and womens golf teams, the mens and womens swimming teams, the mens and womens tennis teams, the womens crew team, and now the womens soccer team.

Liljeberg teaches and oversees the athletes lifting techniques and running mechanics, while she is also enrolled in two academic courses.

In addition, she serves as a teachers assistant and lab instructor for the undergraduate strength and conditioning class. Liljeberg teaches students the proper technique of exercising, helpful coaching strategies and how to design proper exercise programs.

Prior to enrolling at Delaware, Liljeberg was a four-year member and a two-year captain of the Pioneer womens lacrosse program at Sacred Heart. Liljeberg scored 56 goals during her career, posting double digit goal-scoring figures in three seasons as a midfielder, and concluding her senior season with 21 goals in the spring of 2016.

It was there in Fairfield, Conn., that Liljebergs career interests were perked by Pioneer trainer Chris Fee.

We didnt get an actual strength and conditioning program until my junior year and I fell in love with working out and weight training, she said.

Having spent the summer at South Carolina, also observing the womens volleyball and soccer teams workouts and meeting a lot of people exposed me to different styles of training, which is not much different than what we do at Delaware. The difference was just the set-up, the practice court, the locker rooms, not having to schedule time around other teams.

At Delaware, the Blue Hens have had consistent success in womens basketball and on the football field. This past academic year, the teams that Liljeberg prepared training sessions for met with some success the Delaware womens golf team qualified for the NCAA Tournament; the mens golf team finished sixth in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament; the womens swimming team finished fifth at the CAA Championship Meet; the womens and mens tennis teams both advanced to the CAA Tournament quarterfinals. Only the womens soccer team (4-13-1) didnt meet much fanfare.

A $14.3 million renovation and construction of an addition to the Carpenter Sports Building was completed in 2013, The 167,000 square-foot building includes the 15,000 square foot Rawstrom Natatorium, two gymnasiums, a volleyball court, student and employee fitness centers, a, personal training studio, multiple workout studios as well as for Liljeberg and the staff of the Department of Health and Exercise Sciences.

The training for each of those teams is just a little bit different, said Liljeberg who prepares training sessions and observes their workouts twice a week with the golf teams. Those kids train at the recreation center with the student body, but they have access to a lot of the machines there.

We do a lot of circuit training, a lot of core exercises things to strengthen their backs and shoulders, she added. The golfers need a strong core. I dont make their routines different, male or female, I give everyone the same workout.

The Blue Hens tennis teams use the varsity facilities, but their training is a little different, said Liljeberg of incorporating more plyometrics known as jump training, exercises in which muscles exert maximum force in short intervals of time, with the goal of increasing power, speed and strength.

They need that explosiveness on the tennis court and we do a lot of running, she explained.

The Blue Hen swimmers follow a similar regimen, minus the running in consideration of their pool time.

But we do a lot of weight training with them, squats, bench presses, push jerks, its much more power-based, said Liljeberg. Those swimmers train all day, with double sessions. I have them at 5 a.m., so theyre a tough group, they have to be.

At Sacred Heart, she served an internship at Boston University, at the Athletic Republic, a training facility in Norwood and with the MIAA, the states governing body for high school sports.

For some of my classes at Sacred Heart, I did clinical research and picked up on it, she said.

Its such an up and coming field, said Liljeberg of her graduate studies and work with honing the bodies of athletics. I have two classes, teach a lab, work on my thesis project, Im on the go a lot. Im out by 4:30-5:30 most morning and dont get home until eight or nine. At Delaware, we are getting more competitive.

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Wrentham's Liljeberg helps national champ Gamecocks, Delaware athletes with strength, conditioning - The Sun Chronicle

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