In every football game, whether college or the NFL, you see many players who are muscle-bound juggernauts. Even smaller players have physiques that 99 percent of the population would envy. That’s because, just like any other professional athlete, football players devote hard work and dedication to their training.
In the world of professional football, players train for strength, speed, and agility. From dashing in multiple directions to jumping and tackling, they need to train all aspects of the body. This is where weight training comes into play, as it helps players build muscle to increase their performance on the field.
Yes, technique and skill are required for football, but when you think about it, strength is also a very important part of the game. Without a foundation of strength, they would be rolled over like a rag doll by their opponents.
Here are five exercises football players peform to stay in peak physical condition:
Squats primarily build your quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings. By performing squat variations such as back squats, front squats, pause squats, and box squats, football players can develop more muscular legs which are advantageous on the field.
As football requires you to be explosive from the feet up, these exercises will help you gain the strength to do so. This can enhance your ability to burst off the line, change direction quickly and increase your agility. It also improves your ability to take a hit, as your stronger core and legs can better withstand a collision.
If you’re a beginner, just be sure to get proper coaching to get your form down. Squats are a fairly technical exercise and learning bad habits early will make it harder to fix later on. Make sure to find a trainer with quality certifications. Whether you need a personal trainer in Melbourne, the U.S., London or anywhere else, make sure to find someone with quality certifications.
Hang Power Clean/Snatch
The hang power clean, according to studies, are correlated to sprinting and jumping. While it’s known to increase strength and explosive power, its emphasis on technique makes it a great exercise for football players.
It’s a dynamic movement that requires you to go from the floor to an overhead position in one explosive motion, making it ideal for sports like football. In football, players regularly must quickly reach their top speed and push against other players, which the hang power clean helps you do. It also strengthens your posterior chain muscles, and lower body muscles which help with your explosiveness and agility.
The NFL Combine Bench Press
This exercise requires players to perform as many reps as possible in a 225-pound weight press. This is done to test the player’s strength, and it also gives NFL scouts an understanding of who really excels when it comes to muscular endurance.
The 225-pound bench press is usually performed by offensive linemen, defensive line players and linebackers. These positions are the most physically demanding as they’re required to push, pull and move blockers. Therefore, being able to press this much weight for reps can help players push and resist blockers on the field.
The deadlift is a great exercise for football players, as it strengthens the hamstrings, lower back, upper back and even the core muscles. It also increases your explosiveness as you’re able to rapidly extend your hips at the top of movement.
When you’re on the field, hip explosiveness is necessary to tackle, block and even change direction quickly. Incorporating deadlift variations such as conventional, sumo and rack pulls into your regimen will help you gain a significant advantage over peers who don’t.
The good news is that you can perform the deadlift in any gym worldwide. Just be sure to have proper coaching as the deadlift is a fairly technical exercise.
The Push Press requires players to perform a barbell shoulder press, except with the addition of a jump at the start to push the weight up. Naturally, the stronger the push, the higher and faster the barbell travels. As you’re using your lower and upper body to push the weight, it’s considered an athletic exercise.
In football, strong power can push other players off the line of scrimmage or catch a ball over their shoulder. Therefore, this exercise will help you gain the strength to perform well on the field. According to research, the push press has even higher maximum mean power than the jump squat. Loads of 65%-75% repetition maxes are recommended to increase the most power.
Barbell rows, one arm rows and other back exercises help football players stay strong in their core and back. It trains the traps, rhomboids, and latissimus dorsi which help with shoulder mobility and stability. This is especially important for players on the NFL gridiron who routinely hold off against 300-pound defenders.
In terms of performance, rows help you stay on your feet and hold your ground when blocking or tackling. As the barbell row requires you to stay on your feet as you row, it allows you to build the strength and stability necessary for this purpose. Other than that, rows help develop strong postural muscles and prevent injuries.
Weight training is an important part of any football player’s regimen. It develops strength, muscular endurance, power, and agility across their entire body, all of which is necessary when you’re competing in the NFL. Combining basic exercises such as squats, bench presses, deadlifts and rows with more specific lifts like push press and arm curls will help you stay at the top of your game.
However, these are just the exercises and it will be your programming and form that will help you unlock your peak performance. If you are looking to improve your game, make sure to get advice from an experienced trainer and/or coach who can give you the best guidance on how to take your training up a notch. Good luck!
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