For a long time, Loren Landow had been a local legend providing strength training to hundreds of NFL players and other athletes hoping to take get the most out of themselves. Now, after joining the Broncos as the team's head strength and conditioning coach, Landow is focusing on just 90 players. We sat down with him to get a feel for what he'd like to accomplish in his first year in the role, how vital his work with the team in the offseason is and more.
Aric DiLalla: In your eyes, how do you help build a team, help them build chemistry in the weight room that then translates to the field?
Loren Landow: "I think when you're looking at when you're trying to build any team, you have to set a foundation, and that foundation has got to be on your message that you want to put forth to the team. It has to be the consistency then of my message and how I implement it each and every day to the guys, and then I have to have follow through and I have to be as consistent, if not more consistent, than I want them to be. I want to make sure that our coaching staff is consistent in how we communicate to our players, how we prepare them, how we warm them up. And also, what our ultimate goal is, is to become one, to become unity. We said it from the beginning that we want to become a family and we have to set the building blocks at the beginning of the offseason to make that happen. So, it comes down to consistency and our message, each and every day, and also letting the players know that we're here for them and we have their best interests in hand.
"For me, part of that, building a team in the weight room, I've got to show our players that myself and my staff are a team. If they can see that we are united, it helps us all have a good strong voice to each of our players that ultimately resonates. And then to me, what I think is important is anytime you're a leader, you have to hand off leadership at times to other people. And we did that in our offseason. We were able to create a program in here where we were the leaders and we then started highlighting some of our players to then lead other guys through workouts. To me it was something that became contagious in our offseason.
AD: Now that we're in training camp, how is what you're having them do in the gym different than what they do in the offseason program?
LL: "Right now, football is priority. We need to make sure that we prepare or maintain a lot of the qualities we developed in the offseason without getting in the way of what's going to happen in practice sessions. So, we want to try to find a way to maintain certain qualities and understand that the sport in itself in the practice is going to work on their speed, work on their power. So all those things we worked on in the offseason, I can kind of let football take care of that, and now I get into more of a strength maintenance, flexibility [and] recovery focus. We're still working on all of the things we did during the offseason; we're just working on bits and pieces and looking at what the gaps of practice and play don't fill, and we try to fill those gaps."
AD: So how do you view what the guys are doing during practice as part of the team's overall goal of keeping them healthy and getting them through the season?
LL: "A lot of things have to go right. It's multiple layers, when you look at something like that. You have to make the right decisions in the weight room, you have to make the right decisions nutritionally, your sleep hygiene habits, and ultimately you want to have good, safe practices that are of high tempo to prepare them for the nature of a violent game. For us, we survey our guys, we talk to them frequently about how they're feeling and what their readiness scores are, how well did they sleep — so we're trying to uncover as much as we can to in turn then make the best decisions for our players leading into our workouts."
AD: When Vance hired you at the beginning of the offseason, what was his message to you in terms of what he was hoping you would accomplish?
LL: "Vance's biggest message to me is he wants someone who really understood the physiology and understood the preparedness and readiness. My background in speed development and movement skills was a big bonus, but I think at the end of the day, to make our players more athletic and more robust was really the goal. But also any way I could serve him, whether it's communication physiologically, like, 'Here's where our practices are at. We can add a little bit of conditioning on this day. Or maybe this day we pull back.' To me, I'm an extension of Coach and however I can help serve him and best provide him information physiologically in our preparation is really what Coach wanted from me and my team."
AD: I know you've worked with a lot of guys who have played out here before, but this is the first time you're really on the inside. What's it been like these first few days of training camp, and what are you looking forward to game-wise when we get to the season?
LL: "Being on the inside is completely eye-opening. I'm even more impressed with what these guys do. Before, when I was on the outside, I was extremely impressed, but now being on the inside, I'm really impressed on the level of coaching they get, the level of professionalism, the A-class organization that we are as the Denver Broncos. But then ultimately watching these guys work day in and day out — and it gets hard and it gets tiring — but these guys keep coming back, and they're trusting us as coaches to help guide them in the right direction. To me, that speaks volumes on the coaching staff and the organization and ownership, and then the management side."
AD: What will you and your staff's role be on a typical game day?
LL: "On a game day, we're here to serve and prepare these guys however they best need. If it's a stretch, if it's speed drills, if it's anything that they need to make sure that they are the best version of themselves come game day, that's what we're here for. Myself and my team, we're here to serve our players and provide whatever role we can, whether that's great active warmups before a game, good sprint preparation, good stability work beforehand, that's ultimately our goal."