Football Exercises - Lifts To Increase Players
Power Speed & Strength
is a game of leverage, power, speed and strength. It would be tough
to pick all of the best exercises for a football player. It would
really depend what you place your greatest emphasis on. This article
will pick the five best strength and power exercises that could
have the greatest carry over effect to the field.
The hang clean would be a great choice. The hang clean involves
the whole body producing very high power outputs. It will give the
football player optimal neural recruitment, enabling him to develop
high power in minimal time. I prefer the hang clean as opposed to
the power clean because there is not as much skill and teaching
required for the hang clean, yet, the same benefits are received.
There is nothing like having a high power output that requires the
whole body to work in unison.
Pull-ups should be a staple in the program as well. These will
allow the player to develop optimal upper body strength. A modified
version may need to be used for the bigger linemen or for those
players that lack experience in performing a pull-up. This is one
exercise that will show relative strength in the players compared
to their body weight.
Single leg squats or pause squats. It is not uncommon to find players
that have huge back squat numbers, yet they cannot perform one single
leg squat. I would rather have a player be able to perform a set
of single leg squats as opposed to back squatting 500 pounds. Most
of football, or all sports for that matter, are played predominantly
with a unilateral component. This means that running and jumping
are done one leg at a time. This is a much more realistic movement
and if you are following the principle of specific adaptations to
imposed demands, then single leg squats are great. I would perform
a progression from Bulgarian split squats, to elevated single leg
squats which will allow you to control the depth to pistol squats,
to weighted single leg touch and go squats and finally to single
leg body weight squats. The last two can be used interchangeably.
This requires a high degree of strength and will require that all
the stabilizer muscles of the lower body are firing optimally.
The Jammer extension machine would be another great exercise to
include in the program. Weights can be moved at high speeds. Because
of the range of the machine, it will decelerate by itself, almost
resulting in a plyometric type of upper body exercise. This makes
it superior in my opinion to the bench press because of the low
velocity typically seen with the bench press and the fact that it
has to be decelerated at the end of the movement. The Jammer also
calls for high force output through the ankles, knees and hip, making
it a triple extension exercise, similar to the Olympic lifts.
The final exercise that can be done in a gym or out on the turf
is the weighted sled push. By using a ground based sled and pushing
with the handles, this becomes a very athletic fitness specific
exercise. The athlete will be low, they will be using their legs
unilaterally and because of this, they will be getting core stabilization.
These are all awesome for a football player and very specific to
what will be happening on the field. The upper body muscles will
also be at work, isometrically contracting and stabilizing. Looks
like blocking an opposing player with all of the proper mechanics
of running built in. If you don't have sleds, just use your imagination
to alter the exercise. Partner pushes or partner sitting on towel
pulls with a forward lean would be a good replacement.
These exercises are compound and complex. This article did not
address any isolated or assistance work, which would be put into
any exercise program. These exercises can be the foundation of your
football training program. Use these to build an unstoppable football