Purdue Football Conditioning Program | STACK

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Purdue Football Conditioning Program

June 4, 2013 | Featured in the Summer 2013 Issue

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STACK's 2013 Football Summer Training Guide was developed by Duane Carlisle, director of sports performance at Purdue University, former strength coach for the San Francisco 49ers. The focus this year is on conditioning for the gridiron.

Football Workout

Training Tips

I started coaching sprints and hurdles at Penn State. Back then I also trained guys for the Combine—before anyone did it for money.

After Penn State, I started my own performance center, Lightning Fast Training Systems. I then had the opportunity to work with the Eagles, Devil Rays, LaSalle University and 49ers before taking my current job at Purdue.

I’d have to say Vernon Davis and Patrick Willis are the best-conditioned athletes I’ve worked with. Those guys are machines.

In high school football, many athletes play both ways and even on special teams. The volume of running and energy required is very high. So conditioning is critical.

This program will improve your speed, conditioning and ability to change direction. You will fly after this sucker.

Don’t just go through the motions. If it’s a speed day, run fast. If it’s a change of direction day, change direction fast. If it’s a tempo day, finish the way you start.

On the work capacity days (Wednesday and Friday), you need to grind and get after it. Make sure that you are making the target times and working hard at it.

Adequate recovery is critical, so follow the prescribed recovery time. Let your ATP system replenish so that you have the proper energy stores to execute each movement at a high intensity. The general rule of thumb is to recover for three to fives times longer than you work.

Do upper-body strength training with your workout on Mondays and Thursdays since you’re sprinting hard and changing direction frequently on those days. Focus on your lower body on Tuesdays and Fridays since these are work capacity days. Friday should be your heavy leg day.

If movement is your goal, then do your speed, agility and conditioning work first. If strength is your priority, then hit the weights first.

Take Wednesday off to focus on active recovery.

The biggest mistake athletes make is overtraining. They get sucked into the mindset that more is always better. But really it’s a three-part process: training, recovery and adaptation.

At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself, “Am I really improving?” This is what it all comes down to.

Establish consistency during the off-season with your work ethic and good habits in your eating and sleeping patterns. Good lifestyle habits are critical—they will impact your training.

Getting stronger and faster doesn’t mean you’ll automatically be a better football player. These attributes are important, but ultimately you need to work on position-specific skills to get better at what you do on the field.

You can’t train just to train. You need to train for performance.

Reserve 15 minutes during each workout for position-specific drills, which should focus on game technique. Do a dynamic warm-up, then do your position work before starting your workout.

Understand why you’re doing what you do. Do you love the game? If you don’t, it’s going to be hard to excel. Set expectations for how you want to improve and become better, and never train below that expectation level.

The First Week


  • Sprints - 4x10 yards (2 min. / 5 min. rest before next set)
  • Sprints - 4x20 (2 min. / 7 min. rest before next set)
  • Sprints - 4x30 (3-5 min. rest)


  • In-and-Out Sprint - 2x800 yards (30 sec. every 100 yards/3 min.)


  • Pro Agility Shuttle - 2x800 yards (30 sec. rest every 100 yards/3 min. before next drill)
  • L-Drill - 2 each direction (2 min. rest/3 min. before next drill)
  • Sprint-to-Shuffle - 2 each direction (2 min. rest/3 min. before next drill)
  • Sprints - 2x40 yards (4-5 min. rest/7 min. before next drill)
  • Sprints - 2x50 yards (5 min. rest/7 min. before next drill)
  • Sprints - 60 yards (5 min. rest)

Exercise Instructions

In-and-Out Sprint

Line up at the goal line, then sprint along the numbers down to the opposite goal line. Walk across the field along the goal line to the other numbers (about 30 seconds of rest total), then sprint back down the field to the goal line where you started. Repeat until you’ve sprinted the total distance prescribed for the set.

Pro Agility Shuffle



Sprint 20 yards forward, then transition to a lateral shuffle for 10 yards.

Hill Squat Jump

Find an upward incline. Lower into a squat, then jump 3 to 4 feet up the hill. Stick the landing and immediately repeat.

Hill Lunge Walk

Hill High Knees

Hill High Knees With Arms Behind Head

Same as above, but with your arms behind your head.

Hill Backpedal

Run up the hill backwards, taking small steps, keeping your hips back and upper body stable.

Resisted Sprints 

Resisted Snapioca

Perform with a resistance band.

Resisted 3-Cone Reaction Drill

Plant-and-Cut Drill

Sprint for 10 yards to a cone. Plant on your left leg at the cone, change direction and sprint at a 45-degree angle to your right for 10 yards. Repeat in the opposite direction.  

Hill Lateral Lunge

Hill Crossover Step

Hill 360 Turn and Sprint

Perform 360-degree jump turn at the bottom of the hill, and then sprint forwards up the hill. 

Hill Sprint to Shuffle

Sprint 10 yards forward up a hill, then transition to a lateral shuffle for 10 yards. 

Hill Zigzag Drill

Sprint up the hill at a 45-degree angle for five yards. Change direction and sprint in a 45-degree angle in the opposite direction. Continue this pattern up the hill.

Football Workout

ExPhoto: AP

Andy Haley
- Andy Haley is an Associate Content Director at STACK Media. A certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), he received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science...
Andy Haley
- Andy Haley is an Associate Content Director at STACK Media. A certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), he received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science...
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