Gym Rats: Hertsch Trained to be Hofstra's Ironwoman
|Hofstra assistant coach and Team
USA defender Katie Hertsch played in 60 straight games during her
four-year career with the Pride.
© Lee Weissman
Don’t let Katie Hertsch’s braided ponytail deceive you.
As her former Hofstra teammates witnessed, Hertsch seemingly could run forever, without tiring or slowing. She always finished at the front of running drills and proved to be the Pride’s most durable player. Hertsch never missed a game, playing in 60 consecutive contests over her four-year career.
“My teammates were mind-boggled. They thought I was unstoppable,” Hertsch said. “Like some kind of machine.”
It earned her the nickname RoboCop. Hertsch, a self-avowed gym rat, embraced the persona.
“That mentality started when I was little,” Hertsch said. “I always liked to be active. I dipped my hand in all kinds of sports — karate, swimming and gymnastics. That has carried over. I’ve always identified myself as an athlete, somebody who likes to stay in shape and stay active.”
Hertsch was a three-sport star at Winters Mill (Md.) High, and she advocates multi-sport participation. Playing soccer and running indoor track diversified her muscle development, she said, and her overall athleticism translated onto the lacrosse field.
After starting her college career at Ohio and transferring when the school dropped its program, Hertsch became one of the nation’s finest defenders at Hofstra. She graduated in 2011 with 138 ground balls, 70 caused turnovers and 110 draw controls, ranking third, fifth and sixth in program history, respectively.
In July, Hertsch was named to the 2012-14 U.S. women's national senior training team, and in August returned to her alma mater as an assistant on new coach and U.S. teammate Shannon Smith’s staff.
Returning to Hofstra, where she majored in physical education, has allowed Hertsch to rediscover the joy of running 100-yard sprints and 300-yard shuttles, or climbing the steps at Shuart Stadium. Hertsch also reunited with former teammates — she played with the Pride’s current juniors and seniors — who know her reputation.
“We played together, so they saw the leadership and captainship when we were teammates,” Hertsch said. “They looked up to me in that sense. They knew me as someone who kept my body fit. It translated to the field as a player, and it will as a coach.”
Works on: triceps
Helps with: shooting speed, passing strength
- Great exercise that can be performed almost anywhere. Best on a bench or box, but also works on a sofa, kitchen counter or curb.
- Arms shoulder-width apart and straightened, shoulders over your hands.
- Straighten your legs so only your heels support your body weight.
- Lower your body until your triceps are parallel to the ground.
- Push yourself back up into starting position.
- Hertsch recommends three sets of 12-15 reps.
- Increase difficulty by wearing a weighted vest.
- Decrease difficulty by bending your legs instead of keeping them straight.
Works on: glutes, quads, hamstrings and thighs
Helps with: running speed, explosive lower body strength
- Stand with dumbbells at your side. Hertsch uses 15-pound dumbbells. Substitute a medicine ball, if necessary.
- Step forward with your right leg. Lower your left knee until it’s about two inches from the ground. Your right leg makes a right angle, and your right knee should not surpass your toes while in this position.
- Explode off your right foot and step back into the starting position.
- Bring dumbbells in front of you and step to the side with your right leg. Push your hips back and bend your right knee until your thigh is almost parallel to the ground. Push back up to standing position.
- Bring the dumbbells to your side again. Step backward with your right foot. Lower your right knee until it almost touches the ground. Push back to starting position.
- Complete the same steps with your left leg.
- Hertsch performs three sets of 10-12 reps for each leg.
- Increase difficulty by using heavier dumbbells.
Works on: abdomen, core
Helps with: rotational movement, shooting speed
- Lying on your back and holding a medicine ball, extend one leg six inches off the ground straight ahead while extending the other leg straight up in the air.
- Reach the medicine ball toward your toe, lifting your shoulders off the ground.
- Bring your shoulders down to the floor, still holding the medicine ball straight up.
- Alternate legs, keeping both legs off the ground and holding the medicine ball. Repeat.
- Hertsch does three sets of 10-12 reps with each leg.
- Increase difficulty by using a heavier medicine ball.
A version of this article appears in the November issue of Lacrosse Magazine, the flagship publication of US Lacrosse. Don't get the mag? Join US Lacrosse and its 400,000-plus members today to start your subscription.