PAUL HARTLEY has banned his Dundee players from lifting weights as he bids to have his squad in optimum physical condition for the Championship title run-in.
The Dens Park side went clear at the top of the table when they beat Hamilton Academical 1-0 in the new manager's first game in charge last weekend.
Hartley has lost no time in importing the conditioning methods he used at his former club Alloa Athletic, which also include the use of ice baths after games and training sessions, as he draws on his experiences as player at Celtic and Hearts following his move into the dug-out.
"I want to cut out the gym sessions," he said. "I don't want the boys doing any more weights. Instead of power and strength I would prefer to have power and speed. I think you can overdo the weight training. Some players want to get too bulked up. That comes from the individual because they want to see themselves big and strong. The problem is, though, that you lose sharpness and pace. There is no point being big and strong if you can't run, So we have put a stop to that."
Hartley's tried-and-trusted approach helped him secure back-to-back promotions with the Recreation Park side in his first job in management.
The 37-year-old hopes they will ensure his new players are all the better equipped for the remaining 13 games of the league season as they attempt to take Dundee back to the top flight. He said: "We have the players going into ice baths after every training session and games now, although we need to get more bins for the ice.
"It is all about recovery - cool-downs after training, measuring body-fat levels, hydration and testing urine samples. We are looking at what the players are eating for pre-match meals. The intensity of our training is going to pick up. On Mondays and Tuesdays we will have tough, tough sessions, then there will be recovery on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and Friday will be more game-related," added Hartley who said he would bringing other particular practices from his time at top-flight clubs.
"We will be organising the players and naming the team on a Thursday. That gives the players time to soak up the information. Every player will get their own copy of the report on the opposition, covering formation and the opposing players. I have done all that at Celtic and Hearts and took it into management at Alloa and now I'm bringing it here to Dens."