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We’ve all heard that football games are won in the trenches, but how do you dominate the line? Big guys (as we call our offensive and defensive linemen) must develop total body power to win the battle of the line.
A lineman’s first area of focus should be building power through strength training. Big guys should choose movements that work the greatest amount of muscle possible, like compound exercises—those that requires movement of multiple joints. Below is a list of compound exercises that linemen should perform toward the beginning of a workout:
- Back Squat
- Front Squat
- Push Press
- High Pull
- Hang Clean
- Power Clean
- Barbell or Dumbbell Bench Press
- Barbell or Dumbbell Incline Bench
- Chin-Ups or Pull-Ups
- Inverted Row
These high-intensity exercises should be followed by less demanding, but still beneficial isolation exercises—those that focus on the movement of a single joint—such as Biceps Curls and Side Deltoid Raises. Although these exercises target specific muscle groups, they should be used to supplement a workout featuring compound exercises.
Below is a list of commonly performed isolation exercises for linemen:
- Seated Calf Raise
- Hamstring Curl
- Leg Extension
- Hip Adduction (Groin)
- Hip Abduction (Outer Hip)
- Biceps Curl
- Triceps Extension
- Dumbbell Reverse Fly
- Dumbbell Lateral Raise
- Dumbbell Front Raise
Head over to the STACK Summer Training Guide for an example of how to implement these key exercises in your training program. And as a preview, check out the first day of the workout below.
Now entering his third season as assistant strength and conditioning coach for the Detroit Lions, Ted Rath spent the previous two years at his alma mater, the University of Toledo, where he directed strength regimens for all 15 of their Olympic sports. He also assisted with all phases of football training, working with several NFL Draft picks.