After ringing in the New Year, it’s likely that you are setting goals and making resolutions. This is a great time to refine your workouts to help you achieve superior gains and reach your maximum potential. Starting out the year with a plan in place will ensure that you are one step closer to reaching your ultimate goal, whether that’s on or off the field.
Train Smarter, Not Longer
You must evaluate your strength sessions the same way you evaluate your play on the field. Nobody wants to be in the gym longer than they have to be. The ability to train effectively and efficiently is the goal, but can be difficult if you are not organized. Heed these tips to help get the most out of your strength sessions.
- Determine your training goals in advance, and design your program around these desired outcomes
- Create your own program, setting up a routine that will ensure you achieve your goals
- Pick position- and skill-specific exercises that translate to the field
Then use the following guidelines to implement your plan:
Perform Compound Exercises
Multi-joint compound lifts, such as Olympic lifts, Bench Press and Squat, target multiple muscle groups at a time, increasing the bang for your buck. Because of the higher caloric demand from more active muscles, they also increase natural testosterone levels, increase lean body mass and burn fat. Learn more about the power of compound lifts.
Train to Be Explosive
Perform explosive movements, such as Olympic lifts or plyometrics, during each workout, immediately after your dynamic warm-up. These will increase your power, which translates to increased speed, jumping ability and improvement in virtually all sports skills.
Phase Your Workouts
Periodization and phasing is the process of controlling specific training variables to progress through a program safely and effectively. There are many schools of thought on which phasing is best. Do your own research and decide which one best fits your program goals. A properly phased program can have you making dramatic strength gains and peaking at the right time. Check out this sample off-season football workout.
Train Like an Athlete
Training the body to act like it will during your sport is essential to improving your performance on the field. Select exercises that train these essential planes of motion and joint complexes.
- Horizontal Push – Pushing a load horizontally from the shoulder joint through the extension of the elbow (DB Bench, Push-Ups, Med Ball Chest Press)
- Horizontal Pull – Pulling a load horizontally from the shoulder joint through the flexion of the elbow (DB Row, Face Pull, Inverted Rows)
- Vertical Push – Pushing a load vertically with shoulder flexion and elbow extension (DB Push Press, Jerk Press, Med Ball Squat to Press)
- Vertical Pull – Pulling a load vertically with shoulder extension and elbow flexion (DB Overhead Pull, Pull-Up, Chin-Up)
- Knee Dominant – Pushing into the ground to extend your knee and hip. Perform both single- and two-leg exercises (DB Box Step-Up, Bulgarian Split-Squat, Front Squat, Back Squat)
- Hip Dominant – Pulling a load off the ground with an extension of the hip (RDL, Deadlift, Goodmornings, Physioball Hamstring Curls)
- Core stability – resisting movement and stabilizing the spine (Planks, Knee-to-Elbow Plank, Supine Plank)
- Rotational Core – rotational movements that work both up and down and side-to-side (Windshield Wipers, Med Ball Rotation Throws, Cable Trunk Twists)
- Explosive – rapidly moving a weight load under control (Hang Clean, Squat Jump, Snatch)