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The Best Leg Workouts for Football

author image Michael Holst
Michael Holst has been a sports writer since 2002, with many of his articles appearing in the "Lodi News-Sentinel." He is a certified strength-and-conditioning specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Holst holds a Bachelor of Arts in athletic training from Kansas Wesleyan University.
The Best Leg Workouts for Football
Football player running with ball Photo Credit Mike Watson Images/moodboard/Getty Images


Your lower body is the key to effective training for football. Every initial movement in football is started by the lower body applying force to the ground to move. Your legs must be able to produce maximum speed and quickness at any given moment. Focus on exercises that are ground-based and movement-oriented to ensure you are training specifically for football.


Early in your strength and conditioning program for football, dedicate a short amount of time to building endurance in your legs. This will help lay a solid foundation to build on in ensuing workouts. Advanced lifters can use metabolic conditioning, an intense circuit involving resistance-training lifts and cardiovascular exercises to help build endurance. Start with a circuit of three lower-body exercises and do each each for 60 seconds. Use minimal rest when you transition from one exercise to the next. When you finish the last exercise in the circuit, take a 60-second rest before repeating the circuit for a total of three sets per exercise.


Training for maximum strength involves using a repetition range under six reps per set and two-to-six total sets per exercise. Use a weight that is above 85 percent of your one-repetition maximum and give yourself two to five minutes of rest between each set. Compound, multiple-joint exercises such as the back squat, front squat and overhead squat recruit several muscle groups at the same time. These lifts should be performed early in your strength workout so you don't pre-exhaust any muscles involved. Single-leg variations of the squat, lunge and step-ups are effective at producing functional strength for football.


Football is an explosive sport, and you must train power to increase the speed of different movements. Olympic lifts, such as the clean and the snatch, train power and should be done first in any workout that involves other strength or endurance movements. Multiple-effort power lifts should involve no more than three to five reps or sets while using 75 to 95 percent of your one-rep max. Single-effort power lifts use 80 to 90 percent of your one-rep max for one to two reps and three to five sets. All power movements should employ a two- to five-minute rest period to ensure that your body is completely recovered from the previous set.

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