Almost every college football program has a slogan to motivate its players. At Oregon, it’s “Win the Day.” At Auburn, it’s “War Eagle!” And of course, at Notre Dame, the players slap that infamous sign that reads “Play like a champion today” before running onto the field.
At Ohio State, the new slogan might be “The Land of Wolves” after what its players went through early this morning. That phrase is now associated with what the Buckeyes’ training staff refers to as the “St. Valentine’s Day Massacre Workout,” a winter conditioning program held at 6 a.m. some time after Valentine’s Day—although the workout is nowhere near as sweet and carefree as the holiday itself.
According to cleveland.com, the Massacre workout gets its name from head strength coach Mickey Marotti’s implementation of “finishers”—exercises designed to completely fatigue players at the end of a session—throughout the entirety of the workout, not just as a finale. A player might finish a set of Deadlifts or Squats, then hop on a treadmill and sprint for a minute at the highest resistance and incline possible; but instead of being done for the day, he then returns to his regular workout.
“They put you in these uncomfortable situations to see how you respond,” said senior guard Pat Elflein. “The whole off-season is a mental game. They’re trying to mess with your mind, and it’s tough.”
It isn’t all doom and gloom, though. The players and coaches dress up in masks and costumes while a DJ blasts the latest jams at high volume. Still, the workout has become so notorious around the OSU campus that players have taken to tweeting their dread of it the night before it happens.
Judging by some of the tweets and videos that have come out about the insanity in the weight room during a Massacre workout, we get why the dread starts settling in so early.
No matter which way you spin it, the whole thing sounds awful. But we’re happy to see that so many Buckeyes make it out of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre Workout alive.