Most high school football players do too much in the weight room during the off-season, then don’t do enough during the season. Some of them don’t do anything. And many coaches don’t allow sufficient time in the weight room or encourage their athletes to hit the weights.
Yes, time is limited and priorities are on the field. But these are not excuses to skip out on in-season workouts. If you choose that path, you’ll lose the strength, speed and power you worked so hard to build during the off-season—and you’ll be more likely to sustain an injury.
That’s why I recommend that football players follow the 45-45 rule. All you need are two 45-minute workouts per week, each comprising no more than 45 reps per exercise. This routine will help you retain your explosive power and speed without affecting your recovery time or your practice schedule.
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To perform a 45-45 workout, choose four exercises—two barbell and two bodyweight movements. Then do four sets of each for a simple, yet highly effective routine. A lower-body day could look something like this:
- Squats – warm-up sets: 2×5-6 + 4×6-8
- Deadlifts – warm-up sets: 2×5-6 + 4×5-6
- Box Jumps – warm-up set: 1×15 to a 12″ box + 3×15 to a 20″ box
- Hamstring Bridges – warm-up set: 1×15 + 3×15
This is just a sample workout, but the concept can be applied to other exercises. Just stick to multi-joint lifts and work the backside of your body. Leg Curls, Leg Press and Calf Raises are a waste of time. Also, customize your workouts to match how you feel. Have knee pain? Do some band work instead of Barbell Squats. Have shoulder pain? Avoid overhead pressing movements and focus on strengthening your rotator cuff.
Only four exercises. Don’t be tempted to do more. The volume is sufficient to challenge your body. It will keep your batteries recharging, so to speak. You won’t experience the same results you did during the off-season, but you will prevent your strength and size from fading away.
You can integrate the two workouts into your schedule as you see fit. However, I recommend a Sunday lower-body workout and a Tuesday upper-body workout. This allows for some recovery after a Friday night game, and the Tuesday workout is far enough in advance that you won’t be sore or fatigued for your next game.
Read more about in-season weight training for football.
Editor’s Note: Check out Coach Scarpulla’s online training program to get the same advise he gives to his top athletes.