Flexible, strong hips and hamstrings are crucial for football players when they sprint, jump, tackle and fire off the line of scrimmage. Training these areas will not only make you a better player, it will also reduce your risk of injury.
Follow this program for a more explosive and injury-free football season.
Exercises like the Frankenstein Walk, Walking Lunges, Pogo Hops and Side Lunges loosen the hips and hamstrings, stimulate the central nervous system, elevate your heart rate and increase blood circulation. Explosive work (plyometrics) can be considered a part of the warm-up but is best saved for the warm-up's end. Check out the 12 Dynamic Stretches Football Players Must Do.
After the dynamic warm-up and plyometrics, go into your main exercise for the day: Squats, Deadlifts or Olympic lifting variation such as Hang Cleans, Power Cleans or Power Snatches. Because the purpose of this lift is to build hip and hamstring strength, you should use weight about 80 to 90 percent of your max. Do 3-5 sets of 1-5 reps, with a three-minute rest between sets. Check out a full 0ff-season football workout.
Complexes or Circuits
Working in a complex or circuit shortens your workout time, keeps you moving and forces you to keep going with an elevated heart rate and slight fatigue. These are the same conditions you will experience on the field.
Here's a good sample hip and hamstring complex:
- Romanian Deadlifts (RDL)
- Glute-Ham Raises
- Mini-Band Monster Walks
Perform all of these exercises without rest in a continuous circuit for 3-4 sets of 6-12 reps of each exercise. Follow these with some ab work and thorough stretching, and you're done for the day.
Note that Hamstring Curls are not a part of this sample circuit. That's because the glutes and hamstrings work together to extend the hips and therefore should be trained together. RDL's, Glute-Ham Raises, Reverse Hyperextensions, Monster Walks, Kettlebell Swings and Good Mornings are excellent exercises to work the hips and hamstrings in tandem.
Stretching sessions are not done often enough. You should dedicate a day or two each week to stretching and mobilizing your hips and hamstrings. No weights, just stretching and mobilizing. It's amazing what this will do for your performance and how much it will reduce your risk of injury.
The sessions don't have to be long—30 minutes max—to get noticeable results. A mix of foam rolling, dynamic and ballistic stretching, static stretching and PNF will have you feeling loose, healthy and ready to perform.
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