This year has been unique with the short offseason, or some athletes have not taken a snap in over 18 months. So now more than ever, proper preparation is essential. This article will go over some exercises in every athlete’s program to prepare for the season and continue in-season training.
Every athlete should do a bodyweight squat, push-up, and pull-ups before lifting a barbell. Performing bodyweight movements can allow the athlete to explore movement and gain core strength without causing severe injury. In addition, performing bodyweight movements will allow the athlete to understand the barbell movements better once they progress.
The snatch, clean, and jerk should be in every athlete’s training program. When performed correctly, these lifts can have tremendous benefits to get the body ready for the season related to power and speed. In addition, time is minimal during summer camp since more football-related activities are needed; compound movements like these can give you the most bang for your buck. These exercises’ triple extension will help train the muscles and ligaments at most risk for injury. The better your hips, knees, and ankles are prepared, the longer you will be able to last during the season.
The squat, bench, and deadlift are three of the most basic barbell lifts. However, performed correctly, they can help the athlete build a strong base as they progress through a training program. Often these lifts are programmed early in the offseason so the athlete can gain strength before taking hits in summer and fall camp.
The abs and lower back are the foundation of our body. If the core is not adequately trained, the risk for injury can increase, and lifting will become more complex. Every lift helps develop the core because of their requirements to keep the abs tight during a lift. For example, you have to keep your abs tight in a back squat, so your back does not round and get hurt. Learning to brace can be taught to younger athletes by performing a plank. A plank is where the athlete is in a push-up position where their head, hips, knee, and ankles remain in a straight line while keeping their stomach tight.
Jumping is an example of plyometrics. These exercises simulate the way a muscle contacts during a game. Learning how to jump correctly, cut, and land can reduce the chance of injury. Many ACL injuries occur due to athletes landing or changing direction with improper body mechanics. Some examples include jumping down from a box, hops, squat jumps, and single-foot jumps, to name a few. Single foot jump can be beneficial to an athlete due to most of the athletes’ movements during a game occur with their weight on one leg or the other. Think about a drive block or a running back cutting. The athlete is pushing from one leg and then the other. Many injuries can occur the athlete’s knees are not adequately trained.
All running is not created equal. Football athletes should not be running miles at a time. The game of football is played with a short burst. Running for miles will not benefit them for the game. This running should be done very early in the offseason if desired. Football athletes should have their focus on short sprints. Performing repeated sprints with proper recovery will help the athlete be in better condition for gameplay. For example, an athlete would get more out of performing ten 40 yard sprints at max effort with 30 seconds rest rather than running one lap around the track, not a max effort. Running around the track can be beneficial early in the offseason to build a solid base. It is not helpful right before the season starts.