Football training camps have opened across the country, and you can train like the pros, use their exercises, train and build skills, without needing to suit up.
Football season is nearly here, which means football training is well underway. If you’re playing, you’ve already been training for weeks. In fact, if you’re a pro, you’ve been training almost every day for the last few months. Now, with the end of summer upon us, one-a-days turn into two-a-days, because it’s time to really start pumping sweat, amassing muscle and increasing stamina.
Here are five football exercises and drills that the pros do and you should too.
Speed Resistance Training with a Parachute
If you want to build fast twitch muscles, running with a speed-resistant parachute is your best bet. Once considered a workout oddity, running parachutes are now everyday accessories at football training camps. Additionally, they are increasingly being used by ordinary guys who want to get fit. They add 15 to 30 pounds of wind resistance to a runner, making him generate more force against the ground. This builds leg and core muscles, and increases endurance all in one awesome training drill. Speed-resistant parachutes are one of the few ways an athlete can drastically improve lower-body strength while also improving overall stamina. When you finally unclip from the chute, you’ll explode with a burst of speed when the whistle blows.
Speed Agility Training with a Quick Ladder
Peak physical fitness doesn’t mean much without the proper footwork. Football coaches have known this for years, pulling the old steel ladder from the garage during two-a-days to teach young athletes how to move. Now, sporting goods manufacturers sell ladders specifically made for this purpose, with various footwork training drills established to provide skill position players improved agility. Check out the ickey shuffle, carioca and centipede exercises for a few ideas. Go until you’re tired and then DO:MORE. The tough reps are the reps that count.
Anaerobic Alactic Intervals
Unlike soccer or basketball, football plays last just a few seconds. This constant stop-and-go dynamic requires athletes to explode, sustain, cool down and then do it all over again. As such, football training should replicate these conditions, focusing on the alactic energy system – the oxygen-free, metabolic pathway firing off in your cells during quick bursts of intense activity. Wind sprints are one of the best and easiest ways to replicate football conditions. Sprint between 30-80 yards, 10 times, resting about 30 seconds between each sprint. Then do it all over again, 5 times, resting (walking or jogging lightly to remove lactate) 5-10 minutes between sets. Do this a couple times every week leading up to the season and you’ll be a monster on game day.
There’s a reason why football prospects bench press at the combine: it’s a classic test of upper-body strength and endurance. It lets scouts know whether or not a player has the raw strength required for the sport. If they do, it will pay off on the field. That’s because, like alactic interval training, bench pressing replicates game-day activity. Namely, shedding blocks and putting opponents on the ground.
For a well-rounded bench workout, make sure you bench with flat, incline and decline variations. Diversify your workout by using free weights, and don’t neglect training your supporting muscles, such as the back and triceps that support the press. Be sure to mix up your sets. Try four sets of 8-12 reps each, then go for a lower range of 3-5 reps with heavier weight to build mass. Make sure you don’t bench any more frequently than 3 times a week, as your muscles need rest to grow. Over-exertion may hamper your football training more than it helps.
Quads, calves, chest, forearms, glutes, hamstrings, lower back, shoulders, traps and triceps – few exercises work out as many muscle groups as the tire flip. Flip once and you’ve put in a substantial full-body rep. Keep flipping and you’ve turned the tire flip into an endurance workout, too. Watch the video and you’ll understand why this football training drill is a staple of the pros. That’s a 600-pound 18-wheeler tire. If you can get your hands on something similar, try to mimic the technique in the video. The effort will pay off.