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Strength Training For Football

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3 BIG Myths About Strength Training For Football

football strength training

Myth #1:
Athletes can get faster by improving sprint
mechanics and speed drills

Let's face it - athletes today are plain-old weak!

More often than not, parents walk into my gym and demand that I teach their son or daughter to get faster. This is all well and good, but when I simply ask Junior (who is 6'1 - 205lbs) to perform a bodyweight squat and he can't do it without rounding his low back and keeping his chest up - I have to tell mom that it cant be done!

The foundation for football training and all sports movements - including sprinting, is a solid, unshakeable foundation of STRENGTH (and flexibility). Not only must you be strong enough to move your own bodyweight, you've got to be able to do it with other athletes learching themselves at you... and you had better be able to do it quickly!

Also, Relative Body Strength is the single most important quality to develop for increased power and speed. In a nut shell, this means that the athlete that can move his own bodyweight with the greatest ease will generally be the faster athlete.

Teaching sprint technique drills speed drills to a weak athlete - is a waste of time!

As far as technique is concerned.. think about this. If you are a running back carrying the ball towards the end zone with 12, 200+ lb. behemoths trying to rip your head off, are you thinking:

A) Keep my elbows "tight" and hands loose.

B) Reach with my heel forwards and pull back against the turf.

C) Grunt!... Ugh, *pant* *pant*... arggg! CRASH!!!

"Get stronger, and the rest will follow!" - This doesn't mean that we don't speed train, it simply means that we begin with the foundations of speed and build from there.

Myth #2:
It is important to build an aerobic base of conditioning before intense weight training.

Aerobic training for an anaerobic sport makes as much sense as playing the piano to become a better singer. This is an "apples and oranges" situation. Unfortunately, regardless of all the literature suggesting that running a mile or even a 300 yard shuttle, for that matter - has very little impact on a football players ability to perform his sport, many coaches still include these events in their football training program and even test their athletes with them.

Football is an anaerobic sport and must be trained as such. If this weren't the case, then Lance Armstrong would be trying out for the Atlanta Falcons next season.

A more productive alternative to jogging or cycling a couple of miles would be to perform multiple anaerobic activities with short rest intervals over a prolonged period of time. For example, performing a Strongman Conditioning Circuit with light sandbags and sledge hammer swings, a GPP (general physical preparedness) workout that consists of bodyweight calisthenics (jumping jacks, bodyweight squats, squat thrusts, etc.) or a movement skills workout (power skipping, side shuffling, back pedaling, etc.) is far superior to linear, slow, long-distance running.

By performing exercises that challenge an athlete’s relative body strength , balance and coordination in a continuous fashion, we’re able to improve their endurance without the loss in muscle mass, and speed that’s associated with the slow distance method. In fact with my football training program it is not unusual to have athletes gain 20-30 lbs of mass and have improved endurance!!

Myth #3:
"Functional Training" with physio balls, rubber bands and wobble boards will make your athletes stronger.

I don't know about you, but I would like to coach a team of STRONG, Massive and Explosive athletes. The bottom line is that this is only achievable when they are lifting heavy weights, eating a ton of food and sprinting / jumping often.

Athletes can not get STRONG, Massive and Explosive using what has been termed as "Functional Training."

***Please don't make the same mistake that I did, and waste your time and money learning training systems that are suited for old ladies and circus performers. There are many savvy marketers out there disguised as "Strength Coaches" that are tricking coaches and athletes into believing that their techniques will prevent injuries and produce results - this is simply untrue. Also, several of them have fancy tools, toys and machines for sale... remember that I received a college scholarship by training with a few weight plates and 1 barbell in my parents basement.

So-called "functional training" has it's place - but is isn't your weight room.

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