Think your football off-season conditioning program is getting you in game shape for the season opener? A Division I cornerback recently got a rude awakening after mentioning he had focused mainly on gaining size and strength with conventional weightlifting exercises more suitable for building "beach" muscles. After a few fast-paced bodyweight exercises (e.g., Push-Ups immediately followed by Mountain Climbers, with short [15-second] rests between sets), he was exhausted—not even 10 minutes into the workout.
Bottom Line: It may only be spring, but it's never too early to work on endurance, balance, speed and flexibility—in addition to strength, power and muscle-building. Tailoring your off-season program in that direction will optimally ensure you're in game shape by opening day in the fall.
The following routine will also get you in peak beach shape for the summer. You will get the best of both worlds in one challenging 60-minute workout.
- The workout is divided into four quarters, each devoted to a specific component of football conditioning.
- You spend the first half of the workout in the weight room and the second half on the football field.
- Do a dynamic upper- and lower-body warm-up, consisting of Arm Circles and Lunges.
- Finish with a cool-down consisting of upper- and lower-body static stretches for improving range of motion and flexibility.
- Hydrate before, during and after the workout.
- Water Bottle
- Heavy Med Ball (90% RM)
- Moderately Heavy Dumbbell (80% RM)
- Heavy Barbell (90% RM)
Strength and Endurance Football Workout
First Quarter: Strength and Size-Building
- Barbell Deadlifts. Sets/Reps: 3x5. Following the dynamic warm-up, perform Deadlifts, resting 30 to 60 seconds between sets. This is a great upper- and lower-body exercise for gaining strength and size and an excellent pulling exercise, which comes into play when tackling opponents. After the last set, quickly hydrate and proceed to the next exercise.
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- Bar Dips. Sets/Reps: 3x10. Rest 30 seconds between sets. Builds the upper body and engages the chest, shoulders and triceps for blocking opponents. Hydrate and go to next exercise.
- Goblet Squats. Sets/Reps: 3x10. Rest 30 seconds between sets. Hold dumbbell vertically close to chest (hands grasping upper plate of dumbbell). This is an ideal exercise for powerful leg development as well as engaging the arm and core muscles.
Second Quarter: Power-Building
Sets/Reps: 3x5. Rest 30 seconds between sets.
- Med Ball Press-Outs. Assume squat position holding med ball close to chest and explosively press out in one second. Slowly return to start in two seconds. Simulates blocking and pushing away an opponent.
- Power Cleans. Popular power and size-building upper- and lower-body exercise.
- Burpees. Another power-builder, especially for enhancing lower-body explosiveness in hips and thighs, needed for running downfield and jumping to block a kick or punt. After last set, hydrate and head outdoors for the second half.
Third Quarter: Balance, Speed and Agility
Sets: 2. Rest 15-30 seconds
- Cariocas/Single-Leg Squat Combo. Do Cariocas 40 yards laterally right, then 40 yards laterally left back to start position. Immediately perform a 60-second Single-Leg Squat on right leg, then on left leg for 60 seconds. Cariocas aid speed and agility while the Single-Leg Squats improve balance.
- 40-Yard Multi-Directional Sprints. Sprint 10 yards diagonally right, 10 yards diagonally left, 10 yards laterally right, and 10 yards forward. Excellent exercise for rapidly changing direction on the field to evade a tackler.
- Single-Leg Hops. Another balance-booster. Perform with right leg forward for 10 yards, then with left leg laterally for 10 yards. On second set, hop laterally 10 yards with right leg, then 10 yards forward with left leg.
Fourth Quarter: Muscular Endurance and Flexibility
Sets: 1 x as many reps as possible in 30 seconds. Rest 15-30 seconds between exercises.
- Squat Thrusts
- Mountain Climbers
- Jump Squats
- Cool-Down: upper/lower-body static stretches (lasting 5-8 minutes and holding each stretch 10 seconds).
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