How Cabrini builds championship caliber athletes

By John Rader
April 25, 2022

Dustin Malandra, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach
Photo by Cabrini Athletics
Dustin Malandra, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Photo by Cabrini Athletics

In the world of athletics, bigger, stronger and faster is the name of the game, as athletes will do just about anything to get ahead of their competition.

In today’s day and age, we know more about how to properly train athletes and how to get into peak physical condition than ever before. Tactics that were previously viewed as an afterthought, such as proper supplementation, a balanced diet, cardiovascular training and rehabbing an injury, are deemed just as valuable as the training itself.

Cabrini athletes know these techniques all too well, as head strength and conditioning coach, Dustin Malandra, regularly implements these training methods into Cabrini athletes workout programs.

“We train power, strength, hypertrophy and work capacity for all of our sports,” Malandra said, as he structures each team’s training regime based on if they are in season or not.

In addition, he employs a large assortment of injury prevention techniques on all of Cabrini’s sports teams. This is done to ensure that student athletes use the right methods to prevent injuries, and that injured athletes properly heal and get back onto the field as soon as possible.

In terms of cardiovascular training, Malandra recognizes that each sport is different. A sport like basketball requires a vastly different cardiovascular skill set as opposed to swimming. 

However, when a sport is in season, him and his team focus solely on strength training with their athletes as their cardiovascular training comes exclusively from performance in their respective sports.

When it comes to strength training, Cabrini athletes utilize a variety of different exercises. These training techniques range from squatting, deadlifting and upper body pulling/pressing.

Malandra tailors the needs of each specific athlete in his training programs, as he recognizes that some athletes may need to focus on gaining strength, while others may need to gain more power.

Furthermore, he believes that certain supplements have benefits in terms of improving athletic performance, but there are three simple things he recommends.

“What I recommend first and foremost for our athletes is a solid diet, proper hydration and adequate sleep,” Malandra said.

He feels that if Cabrini athletes can be hyper focused on these methods, they will have a significant leg up on their competition. While he is not a dietician or nutritionist, he does acknowledge that certain supplements have helped his athletes in the past.

Malandra views whey protein as an efficient supplement for anyone who struggles to get an adequate amount of protein throughout the day from real food.

In addition, he also believes that taking Creatine is an effective way for athletes to gain more strength and put on more muscle. Creatine has also been shown to aid in concussion prevention and recovery.

Malandra’s tactics are used by all of Cabrini’s athletic programs, including the women’s rowing team.

“Rowing is a unique sport, as it is an intense combination of physical/cardiovascular strength,” Tim Hagan, head rowing coach and fitness center coordinator, said.

Hagan explains that the human body wants to be really strong or really cardiovascularly fit as both of these facets are key to becoming a good rower.

This is why Malandra’s training regimen has helped the women’s rowing team immensely as his techniques in the weight room blend these two elements together and create an athlete perfectly suited for their sport.

Cabrini Women's Rowing on the water

This plan also includes using the erg machine, as this machine is specifically designed for rowing and it focuses on both physical and cardiovascular strength.

Women’s rowing is one of the various examples of continued success from Cabrini’s sports teams this year. In the fall sports season alone, Cabrini achieved an impressive four Atlantic East Conference titles in mens and women’s soccer, field hockey and volleyball.

Malandra is a firm believer that athletic success is not possible without athletic training and working out specifically to each athlete’s individual needs.

“There are many ways to skin a cat, but it all comes back to how you manipulate the muscles by training with volume and specific load management for every athlete.”

John Rader

My name is John “Jake” Rader and I am a senior here at Cabrini University. This is my second year being a part of the Loquitur, as I am the News Editor for this year's team. In addition to that, I am also in charge of managing the corrections page for the Loquitur. I have an avid passion for being on camera, and showing off my personality. My ultimate goal is to be a news or sports anchor, or doing sports broadcast work. I hope to continue to build my highlight reel this year with the Loquitur, and I have formally interned/blogged for Branded Sports.

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