Harvard's Lateral Speed Drill for Linemen

Get better at the sports you play and the life you lead at STACK. Improve your training, nutrition and lifestyle with daily

 

As hard as they work in the classroom, Harvard football players get after it just as aggressively in the weight room and on the gridiron. Over the last three years, the Crimson have compiled a 22-8 record on their way to winning the 2007 Ivy League Championship.

According to Craig Fitzgerald, Harvard's head strength and conditioning coach, working on their linemen's lateral speed has enabled the team to move the ball up and down the field at will. He says, "For offensive linemen, the first through third steps are the most important, because that's where the battle takes place. And those steps are usually lateral, because they are pulling, or because the defensive lineman is often shaded to the side."

To improve their lateral speed, the Crimson go through a Single-Leg Squat Progression throughout the off season. Perform each exercise for three weeks before advancing to the next progression.

Single-Leg Step-Down
· Balance on right leg on top of 18-inch box
· Squat until left heel touches ground
· Pause for one second
· Explode out of squat position; repeat for specified reps
· Perform on left leg

Single-Leg Box Squat
· Balance on right leg
· Keeping weight on heel, initiate movement by driving hips back
· Squat until butt touches box behind you and thigh is parallel to floor
· Explode out of squat position; repeat for specified reps
· Perform on left leg

Single-Leg Squat
· Balance on right leg
· Keeping weight on heel, initiate movement by driving hips back
· Squat until thigh is near parallel
· Explode out of squat position; repeat for specified reps
· Perform on left leg

Sets, reps and rest time for all progressions:

First week 3x3 on each leg; 90-second rest
Second week 3x5 on each leg; 90-second rest
Third week 3x8 on each leg; 90-second rest

Coaching Points: Keep chest and head up throughout exercises // Keep front knee behind toes // Lower in a controlled fashion // Explode out of bottom position // After you can perform 3 sets of 8 with perfect technique, start adding resistance


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock