Before I get into the specifics about football player training in the weight room, I need to take a time out and say this: Training football players is a lot like cooking eggs. The way you handle them depends on what you want to end up with. Want them boiled? Don’t crack, put in boiling water. Scrambled? Crack, beat and pour in a skillet. By the way, if you’re looking for football training in Charlotte, NC – come in for a free trial at ULTIMATE ATHLETE.
Working with an offensive lineman is different from training a cornerback. (I’ll let you figure out which position is which in the egg analogy.) Age comes into play as well. I’m going to train a novice freshman in high school differently from a college or professional athlete.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about programming for the typical high school football athlete. Every guy, no matter what position he plays or what string he’s on, wants to be powerful. And when we talk power, we’re talking about power or force production on impact—either an offensive player delivering a blow when he’s running with the ball or a defensive player striking on impact.
In both circumstances it’s important to remember that power starts by producing force into the ground. Think explosive. Also, the sport of football is played on your feet, so training on your feet should be a primary goal at all times.
What strength training exercises require the athlete to be in a standing position and apply a large amount of force into the ground? Three main lifts come to mind: Squat, Dead Lift and my favorite, the Power Clean.
What makes the Power Clean so great?
- It’s performed on your feet in an athletic position similar to a defensive position
- It requires the quick application of force into the ground
- It requires quick extension of the hip, knee and ankle joints
But an efficient, effective Power Clean is based on the correct performance of these next two movements.
How about the Squat?
- It uses the biggest muscles in the body (glutes, quads, hamstrings and trunk stabilizers)
- They’re the biggest because they’re used for running and jumping
- It requires force into the ground by pushing off
And the Dead Lift?
- It requires force into the ground by pulling off
- It’s more hip dominant than the knee-dominant squat
- It’s great for developing power as long as the erector muscles of the back are prepared for the movement; perfect the hip hinge movement by using a kettlebell first
The Squat does require more mobility than the Dead Lift, especially at the hip and ankle joints. If an athlete is tight through the hips or does not have a good range of motion around the ankle (usually because of tight calves), then the Squat will be difficult to perform with adequate range of motion.
There you have it—three moves that will add up to incredible power for any position on the football field. Oh, and one more bit about eggs—they’re a great food for athletes. Any way you cook them.
Interested in learning more about how to perform these movements correctly? Come check out our program at ULTIMATE ATHLETE in Charlotte, NC.