2 Killer Workouts for Running Backs

Become a quicker, more powerful running back with two challenging workouts from STACK Expert Jim Carpentier.

Running Back Workout

Getting thrown for a loss on a sweep play or getting pushed back on fourth and inches at the goal line are every offense's nightmare. As your team's running back, you can help, even if your number isn't called. Becoming a great blocker and opening holes for your teammates—or protecting your quarterback from being sacked—will not only offset a previous setback, it will keep you off the bench.

The following two workouts are designed to help build power and balance to propel you forward for a first down, help you balance on one foot to stay inbounds or make a powerful game-breaking block. These combo set workouts will also build endurance for long runs downfield. The 30-second rest periods to hydrate between sets simulate the time it takes to huddle between plays.


  • Moderately heavy medicine ball
  • Six 2-foot cones or cardboard boxes (about 2 feet high and 1 foot wide)
  • A 20-foot long, thick rope and a heavy truck tire
  • Timer

Running Back Workout No. 1

Power Lunge/Sprint Combo

  • Loop the rope through center of the tire and tie it around your waist.
  • Alternate 10-yard forward Lunges with 10-yard Sprints, dragging the tire for 40 yards (lunge 10 yards, sprint 10 yards, lunge 10 yards and end with a 10-yard sprint).
  • Rest 30 seconds and repeat. Lunging and sprinting with the heavy tire develops the leg and hip power necessary to escape the grasp of an opposing linebacker and gain those tough extra yards.

Explosive Push-Ups/Single Leg Med Ball Press-Outs Combo

This is a dynamic combo for boosting upper-body explosive power to stiff-arm a defender or block an opponent while also improving your balance so you can stay on your feet for extra yardage.

  • Perform as many Explosive Push-Ups (hands leaving ground between reps) as you can in 30 seconds.
  • Stand and rest for 10 seconds.
  • Hold a med ball at chest level with your right foot raised off the floor and your left knee slightly bent.
  • Rapidly press the ball away from your chest for as many reps as you can in 30 seconds.
  • Maintain balance while continuously keeping your right foot off the floor.
  • Without resting, repeat the Single Leg Med Ball Press-Outs with your left foot raised.
  • Rest 30 seconds, hydrate and repeat the whole combo sequence.

Running Back Workout No. 2

Both combo sets effectively improve multi-directional agility.

Cone or Box Hurdles/Carioca Combo

  • Arrange the six cones or boxes about 2 feet apart in a zig-zag formation.
  • Hurdle over each cone/box and perform lateral right Cariocas for 40 yards.
  • Perform lateral left Cariocas for 40 yards and hurdle over each box/cone.
  • Rest 30 seconds to hydrate.
  • For the second set, instead of hurdling over each box/cone, quickly run around each one and perform the 40-yard lateral right Cariocas and lateral left Cariocas.
  • End by running around the zig-zag box/cone pattern.

Squat Thrusts/40-Yard Sprint Combo

This combo enhances both lower-body leg/hip power and multi-directional speed and endurance.

  • Begin in a push-up position with both hands on the med ball.
  • Quickly thrust your legs forward toward your arms and return to the starting position 10 times.
  • Pick up the ball and sprint 20 yards diagonally right, then 20 yards diagonally left.
  • Rest 30 seconds, turn around and repeat 20-yard right diagonal sprints and 20-yard left diagonal sprints to the starting line.
  • Immediately do another set of 10 Squat Thrusts with your hands on top of the ball.

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