Herbert expects players to blossom

By: Tom Murphy
Published: Thursday, December 20, 2012
Ben Herbert was named Arkansas' strength and conditioning coach on Tuesday.
Ben Herbert was named Arkansas' strength and conditioning coach on Tuesday.

— When the Big Ten Network approached Ben Herbert to do a segment on his strength training approach at Wisconsin, they made the decision to keep it simple.

The idea was to portray Herbert and the Badgers football players in their most natural setting without fancy angles, props or weight room shenanigans.

Herbert gave them a pair of big lily plants named Governor and Deacon.

They also shot footage of Badgers football players lifting weights and documented some of Herbert’s training philosophy, but his object lesson with the lilies - and his introduction of the term “transformance” - was the big takeaway.

“Visual stimulus is a very powerful tool,” said Herbert, who will take over as Arkansas’ head strength andconditioning coach for Bret Bielema.

Herbert used the two plants to illustrate how proper dietary techniques can either help or hurt growth. Governor was properly watered and given plant food, and its leaves were green and looked lovely. Deacon had alcohol and other “not ideal fluids” put into its soil and quickly became ill.

“I was going through aHome Depot one day and ... I just saw five of the plants sitting on a table and two of the five didn’t look very good and three of them looked really good,” Herbert said. “Plants and the human body, they’re very similar.

“If you feed a plant well and you keep it hydrated, it will flourish. Well, the human body is exactly the same. If you feed it well and you hydrate it properly, combinedwith ... training, it’s going to respond very, very well.

“With the plant scenario I used Miracle-Gro and water. The human body, it’s going to be whole food and water.”

The Meet Ben Herbert video, which includes a brief segment on how Herbert tries to transform the performance of athletes - leading to the term transformance - has more than 15,400 hits on You-Tube.

Herbert’s methods have been integral to Wisconsin’s ability to close out games. The Badgers have outscored opponents 435-309 in the fourth quarter since he took the reins of the strength and conditioning department. He also has helped develop 41 NFL draft picks, including sixfirst-rounders

Herbert has agreed to stay on at Wisconsin, his alma mater, through the Rose Bowl. His off-season conditioning program is scheduled to begin Jan. 14.

Sports, Pages 23 on 12/20/2012