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What Exercises Get You to Hit Harder in Football?

by
author image Patrick Dale
Patrick Dale is an experienced writer who has written for a plethora of international publications. A lecturer and trainer of trainers, he is a contributor to "Ultra-FIT" magazine and has been involved in fitness for more than 22 years. He authored the books "Military Fitness", "Live Long, Live Strong" and "No Gym? No Problem!" and served in the Royal Marines for five years.
What Exercises Get You to Hit Harder in Football?
Football is a tough sport of big hits. Photo Credit BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images

Like the vertical jump in basketball, a big tackle in football is essential. A big hit can win both the ball and also the respect of the opposing team. If you deliver enough big hits, your opponents may hesitate for a split second during play and give you a vital, and even game-winning, advantage. There are numerous exercises that you can preform to help develop your hitting power.

Thrusters

Thrusters develop all of the muscles used when delivering a big hit in football. This exercise requires you to use your arms and legs in synergy to generate a large amount of power. Stand with a barbell held at shoulder level and your feet shoulder-width apart. Push your hips back, bend your knees and descend into a deep squat position. Explosively extend your legs and drive up and out of the squat. Maintain the momentum of the bar and drive it overhead to arm's length using your arms. Bend your arms, lower the bar back to your shoulders and repeat. This exercise is most effective when performed with heavy weights for low repetitions.

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Barbell Squat Jumps

Barbell squat jumps target your thighs and hips. These muscles are responsible for developing the majority of your power when making a tackle in football. Place and hold a heavy barbell across your shoulders. Make sure you hold the bar down tightly. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Push your hips back, bend your knees and squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. From this position drive up and leap into the air as high as your can. Land on the balls of your feet with your knees slightly bent and then descend into another repetition. Perform this exercise using a moderate to heavy weight for maximum benefit.

Sled Bear Crawls

The sled bear crawl mimics the scrimmage starting position and develops the muscles responsible for driving you forward and into the opposition when blocking or tackling. Load up a weighted sled with a heavy weight and fix the tow straps around your waist. Alternatively you can use a chest harness. Bend your knees, lean forward and place your hands on the ground. Move one foot slightly in front of the other so you are ready to drive forward. Keeping your hips low, move your hands and feet to pull the sled forward for a predetermined length of time or distance.

High Pulls

The high pull exercise develops hip extension strength and power. The hips are essential for generating a big hit. Place a barbell on the floor and stand with your feet hip-width apart with your toes just under the bar. Bend your knees and lean forward. Grasp the bar with a shoulder-width overhand grip. Straighten your arms and lower your hips below your shoulders. With your chest up and lower back tightly arched, explosively pull the bar off the ground and stand up. Pull the bar up the front of your body to lower chest-height while keeping your elbows high and your wrists straight. Lower the bar back to the floor and repeat. This exercise should be performed as dynamically as possible.

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References

  • "Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning"; National Strength and Conditioning Association; 2008
  • "Complete Conditioning For Rugby"; Dan Luger, Paul Pook; 2004
  • "Designing Resistance Training Programs"; Steven Fleck, William Kraemer; 2003
  • "Dinosaur Training: Lost Secrets of Strength and Development"; Brooks D Kubik; 2006
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