GHS strength and conditioning coach Zack Bohling with 2021 GHS-graduate Caitlin Gallagher, who will play field hockey at Bryant. Bohling called Gallagher one of the hardest working athletes that he's trained.
The secret weapon behind many professional and college championship teams is an elite strength and conditioning coach.
In recent years, strength and condition coaches have started working with high school teams to make high school athletes bigger, stronger, and faster.
Enter Zack Bohling, who has brought his championship conditioning principles to Glastonbury High School.
“Every single year it gets more popular. More and more kids are getting into it to get better at their sport,” said Bohling, who started at GHS in 2019, “Glastonbury has bought into what strength and conditioning can do, and in my opinion I am sold on it preventing injuries and keeping kids out of the training room during the season.”
Bohling, who has a Masters Degree from Central Connecticut State University, trains athletes in and out of the season, allowing them to perform at a peak level.
“Glastonbury has so many gifted and talented kids and one thing I really pride myself on is even though they are at a high level in their sports it doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be at a high level in the weight room,” said Bohling, who focuses on teaching proper form, “I have no problem with them just mastering the basic movement patterns first. We’re still going to learn how to squat or dead lift correctly. There is a progression, and we want to make sure that we don’t have an injury happen, which is the last thing I’d ever want to happen.”
Bohling’s road to Glastonbury started in Trumbull where he grew up playing soccer, basketball, and baseball. He went to Christian Heritage High School before heading to Gordon College to play college baseball for fours years, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Wenham, Massachusetts.
It was at Gordon where his passion for fitness blossomed, “I got more experience in the weight room. I didn’t get that experience in high school, so I started seeing some of the changes in my own body and I got better each year in college.”
Upon starting his program at CCSU, he became an assistant varsity baseball coach at GHS in the program’s first season under current head coach Dennis Accomando.
He finished his Masters Degree at Central in Physical Education with a Concentration in Exercise Science and became a certified Personal Trainer and Strength and Conditioning Coach before landing at GHS.
Since his arrival, he has helped countless GHS athletes improve both physically and mentally for their respective sports.
“Where we are now is way better than where it was when I first started. There’s a lot of teams involved now,” said Bohling, who credits the football boosters for bringing in better equipment, “It’s definitely come a long way.”
A little over a year into his tenure at the high school, the COVID-19 pandemic rocked the country, leaving athletes stranded at home. Bohling adapted by posting workout videos on social media, allowing the GHS athletes to continue training during quarantine.
“They let me know how much they enjoy it and I will do whatever it takes to keep them motivated throughout the year,” recalled Bohling, who has been impressed with the resilience of the athletes, “I know how hard this pandemic has been on these kids and for these kids to stay motivated throughout all of that and with one of the harder curriculums in the state, and still go to practice and still make time for the weight room, not many people are able to do that. They come in the weight room with a smile on their face and I really appreciate them doing that.”
Bohling believes that training proper technique, allowing the athletes to master the range of motions, and emphasizes recovery through diet and sleep. Over the past two and a half years he has trained some incredible athletes, including many 2021 graduates who will continue playing sports at the next level.
“The athletes at GHS are some of the hardest working athletes I’ve been around. I joke around if money wasn’t an option, I would totally do this job for free,” stated Bohling, “There is nothing more rewarding then to see these kids hit numbers in the weight room and to see how happy they are. When they go to college and they tell me that they are already putting up numbers that some of the juniors and seniors are doing in college is a really cool thing. I take pride in these kids going off to school and want them to be as strong as they can be.”
Along with training at the high school, Bohling started Bohl Strong Fitness, LLC and has his own training location at The Apex Fitness, which is run by Mark Blancato and located at 60 Village Place in Glastonbury. Bohling trains anyone looking to lose weight, build muscle, or improve health.
A high percentage of his training is devoted to GHS athletes, which doesn’t bother Bohling, who spends anywhere from 40-90+ hours a month at high school training any athlete that wants that competitive edge.
“Now that I’ve been there for two and a half years, the amount of kids that are coming in is way more than when we first started. It was really just football at first, but now I’m seeing 10-12 different varsity sports and we are getting 15-25 kids in each group. We’ve had some pretty big numbers,” added Bohling, “I truly care about their progress, and I take pride in their performance. I want them to win championships. It’d be really cool to see a ton of success throughout the programs.”
Check out Bohling’s training on his Instagram @zacharybohling or to contact him directly by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for more information
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin