Your in-season football-training program is the most important aspect of your strength and conditioning regimen. Too often athletes view the season as a time to maintain their strength and size instead of trying to make improvements in the weight room. Unfortunately, this is a big mistake.
If you don’t use your muscles, you will lose strength. Research has shown that after 72 to 96 hours, muscles start to lose strength unless challenged with intense exercise.
Any loss of strength can put you at a serious disadvantage in a combative sport like football. The only way to prevent this is to progressively increase the challenge of your workouts throughout the season.
Same But Different
Your in-season program should mirror your off-season routine in terms of the exercises used, intensity, muscle groups trained and effort. However, to help you reach your full potential, a few practical variables need to be adjusted in consideration of the work you perform playing your sport.
You must be smart about training during the season. The combination of strength training, practice and games can quickly lead to symptoms of overtraining if you don’t find balance among the three.
As a general guideline, perform no more than 15 sets during a total-body workout. What produces strength gains is not the volume of exercise performed, but the intensity. Your goal is to perform the least amount of work necessary to challenge your muscles.
Football always comes first during the season. Perfecting your skills on the field, studying your playbook and watching films will take up most of your time. Make a schedule that allows you to strength train twice each week. I recommend performing a full-body workout the day after a game and an upper-body routine on either Wednesday or Thursday.
Your workouts must be progressively more challenging over time. Keep a workout log to make sure you are challenging your muscles each session and accurately tracking your progress.
Sets and Reps
Repeated physical contact during a long season can take a toll on even the strongest players. Thus, workouts should be as easy as possible on the joints and connective tissue. Increase your reps to a range of 12 to 15 for the upper body and 15 to 20 for the lower body. This reduces the weight lifted while still challenging muscles with a higher rep range. If progression is made and each set is challenging, you will get results regardless of the weight lifted.
In-Season Football Workouts
Workout # 1 (day after game)
Workout # 2 (Upper Body – Wednesday or Thursday)
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