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Jojo Crump works out his arms and upper body with dumbbells.

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Staying Fit and Safe at Home

High School Quarterback Sharpens His Skills While Waiting for Football to Return

In a typical year, the month of August is when summer breaks begin to end, and young people go back to school. It is a busy time, filled with eagerness and anticipation for what the new school year will bring.

Along with a return to the classroom, the start of the school year usually means the return of extracurricular activities, including fall sports. Typically, area athletes would have spent all spring and most of the summer in long workouts and practice sessions getting prepared for their fall seasons.

However, 2020 is not a normal year.

It is the year of the coronavirus; the year of uncertainty.

In March, all area schools closed down in response to governmental proclamations and social distancing requirements. The closures brought an immediate cessation of classroom and athletic activities, which, for the most part, continue to this day. Spring sports seasons and championship tournaments were cancelled, along with an abrupt halt to organized practice and conditioning sessions for fall sports athletes.

Given the patchwork quilt of state, county and local pandemic restrictions, no one can be sure exactly how and when the return to school will happen. Most school administrators, teachers, coaches, students and parents are caught up in a web of uncertainty as to how to proceed during these times.

However, some area athletes are not content with waiting around for a return to normalcy. Instead, they are moving forward with their own, personalized at-home workouts to keep themselves “game day” ready for when school sports resume.

One such athlete is Joseph “JoJo” Crump, a rising freshman football quarterback at Father Ryan High School in Nashville. Jojo is the son of Raymond Crump, managing member of Hendersonville-based Olympian Construction Company, and his wife, Nicole. Jojo and his family relocated from Hendersonville to Nashville in February, shortly before the outbreak of the coronavirus.

“From our move to the shutdown, everything happened so quickly that it was almost overwhelming,” recalls Jojo.

Faced with an unacceptable prospect of a spring and summer without practice and conditioning sessions, Jojo decided to work out on his own at home. After securing the approval and support of his parents, Jojo transformed part of his family garage into a home gym, complete with weights, resistance bands and medicine balls.

In conjunction with his coaches at Father Ryan and his personal trainer, Jojo developed a series of complete, one-hour total body workout programs. Each day, he varies his routine to emphasize different parts of his body, including arms, legs and abs. He also works on his footwork skills by going through various drills with a portable agility ladder.

“It really doesn’t take a lot of space or equipment to get in a good workout,” says Jojo. “The key is having a good workout plan, guided by my coaches and my trainer.”

Although he missed spring group conditioning sessions with his friends at school, Jojo has found exercising on his own to be enjoyable.

“The best thing about working on my own is that I have time to focus on what I need to work on, without any distractions,” says Jojo. “I have time to think, to review my progress and to adapt as needed.”

Despite the unusual conditions, Jojo’s personalized workout strategy has proven successful so far.

“When I started my home workouts, I weighed 155 lbs., and I was having trouble getting to the playing weight recommended by my coaches,” says Jojo. “However, since the quarantine began, I have reached my goal weight of 170 lbs. by adding 15 lbs. of healthy muscle mass. I also improved my overall strength and conditioning.”

Over the past few weeks, an easing in the pandemic restrictions has permitted schools to resume limited group practices. Despite his relief at being to work out with his friends once more, Jojo is in no hurry to give up his home gym.

“While we are having some light conditioning practices at school now, we still aren’t allowed to go into the weight room,” says Jojo. “Thank goodness I have my home gym to keep me on track.”

As fall approaches, there continues to be an air of uncertainty over when schools will reopen, including when or if there will be a fall football season. However, despite the lack of a clear direction, Jojo remains focused.

“I don’t know when we will have football again” says Jojo. “However, one thing is for sure. When football is back, I will be ready.”

  • Jojo Crump works out with a resistance loop band.
  • Jojo Crump works out his legs with a resistance loop band.
  • Jojo Crump works out his arms and upper body with dumbbells.
  • Jojo Crump works out his thigh muscles with a resistance loop band.
  • Jojo Crump works on his core strength with an exercise roller.
  • Jojo Crump strengthens his upper body with exercise stirrups.
  • Jojo Crump works on his core strength with a medicine ball.
  • Jojo Crump practices his footwork skills with an agility ladder.