Photo: Univ. of South Florida/GoUSFBulls.com
Football players aren’t just getting bigger and faster—they’re getting bigger, faster, stronger and more explosive. Perhaps nobody knows this better than the guys behind the defensive line, or the fullbacks and tight ends who have to try and block them. These “big skill” players have to be tough enough to knock a linebacker or a running back sideways and deft enough to make leaping catches (whether for receptions or interceptions). In short: they’re the guys who have to do it all.
Well, backs, ends and linebackers, today is your lucky day. Why? Because today you meet Hans Straub, the new head strength and conditioning coach for the University of South Florida. Straub joined USF this year after serving on the strength staff of the Stanford Cardinal football program, where he trained All-American Zach Ertz. Ertz led all Football Bowl Subdivision tight ends in receptions and receiving yards in 2012 before being selected by the Philadelphia Eagles in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Straub’s off-season strength training program is designed to make you a stronger, more powerful athlete—exactly the type of well-rounded player who can meet the diverse demands of your position. Click the link below to download Straub’s training plan, and remember the mission statement for USF’s offseason strength program: “To be a champion, you cannot do things right once in a while; you have to do it right all the time.”
Summer Training Guidelines
For every lift, your priorities should be (in order):
- Speed of movement (with full control of the weight)
- Resistance level
If the reps of an exercise decrease on the next set, challenge yourself to increase your training weight.
If the reps of an exercise increase on the week, challenge yourself to keep the same training weight but improve your technique.
If the reps of an exercise decrease on the next week, challenge yourself to increase your training weight.
Decelerate resistance (barbell, dumbbell, body weight) with control on the way down. Accelerate with control on the way up to finish the rep.
Record your reps for max reps exercises, and record your weight for exercises that use a weight other than your body weight.
Work down the card, pairing lower body movements with upper body movements, working to improve your overall tempo each week.
Perform a dynamic warm-up before and cool-down stretching routine after every workout.
DB Standing T.Y.I Raise w/ Thumbs Up
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent, holding lightweight dumbbells at your sides with your arms straight. Raise your arms to your sides until they are parallel to the ground with your thumbs pointing up. Lower your arms to the start position. Perform a second raise with your arms at a 45-degree angle with your body, and a third raise with your arms directly in front of your shoulders. Repeat this pattern for the specified number of reps
Power Clean+ Deadlift
DB Bench Press
Barbell Bentover Row
DB L.W.I Press w/ Thumbs Up
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent, holding dumbbells at shoulder level with your elbows in line with your body and your forearms perpendicular to the floor. Press the dumbbells straight overhead, and then lower them in control to the start position. Perform a second press with your arms at a 45-degree angle with your body, and a third press with your arms directly in front of your shoulders. Repeat this pattern for the specified number of reps.
Dead Bug Series (R/R, L/L, R/L, L/R, All 4)
Dumbbell Goblet Squat
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent, and cradle a dumbbell at your chest, keeping your elbows close to your body. Bend your hips and knees to lower into a Squat until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Forcefully extend your hips and knees to stand up and return to the start position. Repeat for the specified number of reps.
Neutral Grip Pull-Ups
Lie on your back with your legs straight and perpendicular to the ground, and your arms out to your sides. Slowly lower your right leg until it’s six inches above the ground. Raise your right leg to return to the start position. Perform a second rep with your leg at a 45-degree angle with your body, and a third rep with your leg at a 90-degree angle with your body. Repeat for the specified number of reps, and perform with your left leg.
DB Incline Bench Press
Double-Leg Glute Bridge
DB Prone Row
Assume a push-up position holding lightweight dumbbells with your palms facing each other. Row the right dumbbell to your chest, and then lower to the start position. Repeat for the specified number of reps, and repeat with your opposition arm.
DB Bench Press (Alternating)
Barbell Front Squat
Power Clean + High Pull
Single-Leg Glute Bridge
Single-Arm DB Row
You can also download USF’s summer training guide for linemen and skill players for free.