CARY – Most high school football players in Kyle Norberg’s mold – at 6-foot-1, 215 pounds – would have no trouble outlifting their fathers at the gym.
Norberg, however, is not ashamed to admit he cannot keep up, at least in amount of weight.
“Not even close,” the Cary-Grove senior fullback-linebacker says.
Norberg is considered one of the Trojans’ strongest players, but his father, Bill, was the 1988 AAU Mr. America bodybuilding champion. Bill, 48, still has an impressive physique and usually works out six times a week.
The No. 1-seeded Trojans (12-0) meet No. 10 Lake Forest (9-3) at 4 p.m. today in a Class 6A playoff semifinal game. The winner advances to next Saturday’s Class 6A state championship game at 1 p.m. at the University of Illinois’ Memorial Stadium against the winner between Crete-Monee (12-0) and Lemont (11-1).
Kyle, who is being recruited by numerous NCAA Division I schools, has taken full advantage of having his own personal trainer. He follows C-G’s BFS (Bigger, Faster, Stronger) program at school, then often heads to Charter Fitness with Bill for another night-time session.
“I can ask him anything,” said Kyle, who leads the area in rushing with 1,933 yards. “He’s really taken me under his wing and he’s taught me pretty much everything he knows. It’s definitely helped me progress.”
Bill Norberg played football, baseball and wrestled at Hinsdale Central, but he caught the bodybuidling bug his senior year when a friend entered a teenage show. While at Illinois State, Bill became totally immersed in bodybuilding
and competed for seven years. After he won Mr. America, he guest posed for a year, then judged contests for a while. He has lifted hard for 30 years, a resource Kyle and his teammates gladly have utilized.
“I didn’t want [Kyle] going to the gym until he was at least 14 years old,” said Bill, who works as a risk manager at Volkswagen Credit in Libertyville. “At that point, I’d read enough where they were supposed to be using their body weight for pushups and situps. When he came to me in high school, I didn’t want to take away from the high school’s BFS and what the coaches were doing, but he wanted to supplement that with additional lifting.”
For the past two years, Bill and Kyle have been lifting partners, often going to the gym together, working the same routines and spotting each other. C-G football coach Brad Seaburg is thrilled when players take the initiative to do more lifting on their own.
“If you want to do anything else on the side and you’re not hurt, and you have the energy to do it, go ahead,” Seaburg said. “Kyle’s learned from his dad, and he’s a great role model for that. Our good players do the extras. If we all just did the basic, we’d be 5-4, 6-3 or 4-5, but we have so many go above and beyond what we offer.”
Bill also helped some of Kyle’s teammates, such as Mickey Duncan, Ryan Mahoney, Marcus Thimios and Jakub Ksiazek, with their lifting routines.
“Around eighth grade his dad started showing him stuff,” Mahoney said. “That’s when Kyle really started growing and getting big. We’ve lifted with Mr. Norberg multiple times. You can lift with him, but he does his own thing for sure.”
When Kyle suffered a back injury during his freshman season, Bill was able to offer tips on other exercises to strengthen his core and prevent the back from becoming worse.
“If you look at Kyle with his shirt off … he’s our Division I player,” Seaburg said.
Bill and Renee Norberg have a freshman son, Erik, who also plays football, and a daughter Lindsey, who is 10. Their oldest son is one of the best players on a team trying to win a state championship for the second time in four years, in part because Bill could help show him the way.
“He was a trooper for all the stuff we did for the two years,” Bill said. “He did everything I did, even if he didn’t want to. He would still do the BFS lifting [at school] and go with me at night-time. The last two years he really picked it up with me and was consistently going there.”