There is a huge need for strength training for all football players. The ability to put together a strength program takes planning to get the most out of your athletes and to structure it properly. It is both an art and science to plan a strength training program.
Here is a quick list of facts that you need to keep in mind concerning your strength training for football. It isn’t just about how big and bulky you can get – quite the contrary actually.
o Bigger muscles are not necessarily stronger muscles o You need to not only develop the size of a given muscle; you need to actually be considering the muscle’s strength. That’s what it’s all about.
o A strong muscle is more than big; -.
o Many a big muscle is torn loose from the joint that it is meant to move. A torn muscle can literally take months, even years to heal fully. Some never do.
You develop tendon and ligament strength by taking your training seriously. Don’t attack your weight training like a crazy fool. Take your time. Pay attention to strict form in every rep. Perform your reps slowly and with full control. Haphazardly jerking or throwing the weight up and calling that a successful rep is not only careless; it is a false achievement. Weight training is about far more than just moving the weight from point A to point B. Remember that!
o Bulky muscles too often yield decreased speed, agility and finesse. o Especially for wide receivers, defensive backs and tailbacks, muscles need to be specifically trained for bursting power and speed. They have to be able to start right now, stop right now and absorb some seriously unexpected impacts. Football is no game for wimps. It is also not an event for big, slow, overly bulky pigs just because they might be able to bench 400 lbs in a quirky, jerky, off-balance fashion. Be real!
Do yourself and your team a serious favor and ensure that you will be around season after strenuous season to help out. Take your strength training for football very seriously. Slow down while at the gym. Develop your tendon and ligament strength along with your bulk. The end result will be superior, lightening fast, impossible to rip, explosive muscles that have the true strength of a beast! Now that is what you are after.
There are several types of strength training for football to consider. Football is versatile and needs versatility in strength training programs. Here are the types that we will address:
o Functional strength training for football Ø Hypertrophy strength training for football Ø Maximal strength training for football Ø Power strength training for football
First, we will define each one and then address how to combine them all into the total athletic package for football.
Functional strength training for football:
Football can really put a hurtin’ on your body in a lot of different ways. Your body is twisted, bent, bounced and forced into uncountable positions of unnatural strain. You need to ensure bilaterally symmetrical development while engaging your strength training. That means that you give equal, animalistic (but controlled) effort to both sides of your body. You want symmetrical development, not lopsided malformation.
You also need to ensure that you never get so wrapped up in the development of your prime movers (quads, biceps, pecs, etc.) that you neglect your supporting muscle (hamstrings, triceps, calves, posterior delts, lower trapezius, etc.). The message here is that you must maintain balance. If you fail to develop your body in a symmetrical, holistic fashion, you are begging for injury.
Hypertrophy Strength Training for Football
Don’t let the hard-to-pronounce name fool you; an increase in muscle fiber size makes up for the improvement and increase in the muscle mass. This is the type of strength training for football that everyone thinks of. You get to concentrate on muscular growth and sheer bulk. Remember that even linemen should only dedicate roughly half of their strength training to hypertrophy strength. More than that and you are entering into the slow zone – the zone of painful injury because you lack agility and speed.
Maximal Strength Training for Football
In a nutshell, this refers to the development of cross sectional areas of each muscle. It is responsible for explosive power. You have to lift maximal loads in order to promote the development of these “fast twitch” motor units. Strength and power are close cousins. When you are performing maximal strength training, you explode into the lift. You fire a burst of energy into the weight propelling them to the desired destination. You must remember the first lesson about strict and proper form. Do not ruin your workout by flopping like a fish under the weight. If you have to do that, then take some of the weight off of the bar. Remember: you didn’t really lift it at all if you flopped your way through it. More importantly, flopping and squirming invites bench-sitting injury. Believe it!
Power Strength Training for Football
You have to possess the ability to instantly convert all of your strength into booming power to prevail on the football field. The stronger and more powerful athlete is the one who will best survive a collision. You have to accentuate your functional, hypertrophy and maximal training sessions with power strength training. You want your CNS to recruit fast twitch muscle fibers as quickly as possible. Now that you understand that more than just going in and fish-flopping through your workouts is needed in order to develop the total package for football, you need to understand something else: Cycle training. If you wish to optimize your strength training for football, then you have to incorporate all of the above training methods.
Develop a timeline. Construct a program to cycle through each of the training types in succession. Functional training is followed by hypertrophy work. Follow that with 4 weeks each of maximal and power training and then repeat. Vary your training. You do not want your body to plateau so training cannot be the same consistently. Think of your body as a multifaceted machine that needs different care at different times. Always take your time with each individual rep to ensure proper form. Develop symmetrically. Develop tendon and ligament strength. You must develop size and power!
Release your inner beast through diverse and intelligent training and rule the field!