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How to Put on Weight for Football

author image Kim Nunley
Kim Nunley has been screenwriting and working as an online health and fitness writer since 2005. She’s had multiple short screenplays produced and her feature scripts have placed at the Austin Film Festival. Prior to writing full-time, she worked as a strength coach, athletic coach and college instructor. She holds a master's degree in kinesiology from California State University, Fullerton.
How to Put on Weight for Football
Size as well as strength are key attributes for football players. Photo Credit AlbertoChagas/iStock/Getty Images

Being bigger and heavier is an advantage for most football players, due to the physical demands of the sport. While you likely want to put on weight to play, you don’t want to lose any athleticism or speed by gaining fat instead of muscle. To effectively put on the pounds and become a football force to reckon with, participate in a high-volume weight training program and adhere to a diet that supports muscle growth.

Hit the Weights

A high-volume weight training workout is designed to increase muscle mass. It will also help ensure that the extra calories you consume puts on muscle rather than fat. Lift weights four days per week, targeting your muscle groups with separate workouts. For example, hit your lower body on Mondays and Thursdays, and your upper body on Tuesdays and Fridays. Do not work the same muscle group two days in a row; the muscles need at least a day to recover from the workout. Physiologist Joseph A. Chromiak, Ph.D., writing for the National Strength and Conditioning Association, recommends doing two to three sets of five to 12 reps of each exercise during each workout. Give your muscles just 60 to 12 seconds of rest between sets.

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Don't Isolate

Forget the isolation exercises and instead focus on compound, multi-joint exercises. They’re more effective for building muscle mass, according to the American Council on Exercise, and they’re also better for training for football. Back squats, for example, more closely mimic the movements that your lower body has to handle during football than straightening your legs on the leg extension machine. Quality compound exercises that will help you put on mass include squats, deadlifts, hang cleans, push jerks, snatches, bench press, military press and pullups.

Shovel It In

To put on weight and fuel the muscle-building process, you’ve got to consume adequate calories. You can gain a single pound of muscle mass by creating a caloric surplus of 3,500; if you're not adhering to your workout program as outlined, however, these excess calories will translate into a pound of fat rather than muscle. This caloric surplus needs to be created gradually, however. Shoot for an excess of 250 to 500 calories everyday, said Chromiak. This allows you to put on 1/2 to 1 pound of muscle every week. Make sure your meals feature a high amount of protein, which is required to put on muscle; take in 0.65 to 0.8 grams of protein daily for every pound you weigh, Chromiak advised.

Timely Meals

Instead of shooting for three large meals, consume smaller meals throughout the day. This will help ensure that the excess calories are used for the muscle-building process and not stored as fat. Eat a meal consisting of both protein and carbohydrates within 30-minutes after completing each of your weight training workouts. You can significantly increase protein synthesis by getting in fuel during this short period after your workouts, said Chromiak.

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