T Jared Veldheer and his workout partners pose for a photo at their gym. Photo by Mark Ehnis
You may have seen the photo above on Twitter where offensive lineman Jared Veldheer looks a bit like the Hulk. Well, the tackle out of Hillsdale College in Michigan has been working incredibly hard this off-season to be stronger, faster, more agile, and just plain buff, so that, come September, he will be Hulk-like on the field.
The photo was not intended to show off, but when Veldheer's coach Mark Ehnis tweeted the photo March 25, it went viral. "It's pretty crazy. It went viral so fast," said Veldheer. "We actually just took a picture to put on the gym wall of the office and Mark just tweeted it out there and it kind of caught fire."
Veldheer believes some of his improvement in strength and workout results to his new focus on nutrition. "I've been back in Grand Rapids, Michigan," said Veldheer. "I've been pretty disciplined in my workouts. I've always kind of stayed disciplined in my workouts, but I really started watching my nutrition and really making sure I was eating well and eating well when I was supposed to like in relation to before the workout, after the workout, all that stuff. I think I've seen some good strength gains by doing that. I've always heard it's real important and I really started being disciplined in doing that."
The fourth-year tackle has been doing more than just strength training. "Contrary probably to what a lot of people think, I've been able to keep working on flexibility and my range of motion," said Veldheer. "I've been working on offensive linemen stuff as well. We try to incorporate line skill work into the end or beginning of the workouts. That might be working on explosive pass sets with resistance bands or after an upper body day, working on your punch against the bag for time – really trying to get as many punches in as you can, good punches, working on your hands that way, all the kinds of stuff that translates directly to what I do as an offensive lineman. It's not all just straight weightlifting and it's all stuff that transfers over to the field. I'm very excited to start using some of the stuff even come April."
Veldheer credits his ability to stay healthy and strong throughout the last two seasons to his work in the off-season with Coach Ehnis. "Mark has done an awesome job," said Veldheer. "He continues to learn how to lift right and be able to lift these heavy weights so you're not breaking your joints down, you're doing it correctly and you're building yourself up without harming yourself in the future. This is my third year that I've been able to really work with him and I think this is the longest continuous stretch I've been able to work with him. I'm really excited for this upcoming season to be able to transfer it onto the field."
Not only has Veldheer been working out hard and staying focused, he has started to interact more with Raider Nation on Twitter. "I've had the account for awhile and I've never really interacted with the fans and I thought I'd start doing that this off-season," said Veldheer. "It's been awesome. I always thought it would be kind of tough and I don't want to say something I shouldn't. I finally just got on it and started interacting with the fans and it's really not that tough. It's easier than I thought it would be and the fans seem to like it and I like interacting with them."