Football workout programs are broken into four parts: off-season, spring season, summer and in-season. Throughout the year the frequency and intensity of your workouts will change, but the exercises you complete will remain fairly consistent. Most strength coaches believe in adjusting sets, reps and weights but focusing on the same lifts throughout the year in order to improve technique constantly. The amount of running you will do in the program may vary significantly as there are several well-respected philosophies regarding when to begin speed training.
Your strength coach will provide you with the exercises that your program emphasizes. In most cases these will include the bench press, squat, incline and power or hang clean. The off-season program begins as soon as your season ends and concludes at spring break. The first week or two will consist of strength and speed testing and introduction of the lifts and drills that you will be completing. After technique is discussed and all of the athletes have recorded their max lifts, regular workouts will begin. All strength coaches vary the sets and reps as the off-season progresses. In addition, the off-season program will include some form of running and flexibility drills, likely focusing on proper running technique as a base for future workouts. Retesting of the four major lifts and any running exercises that have been emphasized occurs the week before spring break.
When you return from spring break, depending on the size of your school, you may participate in spring football practices. These are full-pad practices that occur over a six-week period between spring break and the last few weeks of school. If your team does not do padded practices, spring season incorporates non-contact football drills. Once again, your sets and reps will begin at 50 percent of your new max for 10 to 12 reps. After two weeks the weight will increast to approximately 70 percent while the reps decrease to 6 to 8. Finally, in the last two weeks, you will lift 85 percent or more of your max for no more than five reps. By this time your max recorded before spring break should be easy to lift. Less time will be spent on speed training because you will be going through padded or unpadded football workouts when outside. After the spring season ends, you will spend the last two weeks of school retesting again and handling administrative issues.
The difference between a successful season and a disappointing one is summer workouts. Coaches may not be present, and even if coaches direct the workouts, athletes are not in school, so it is easier to skip workouts. The best teams never miss a day of summer workouts. Most summer workout programs are nine weeks long, with a break for the 4th of July and a week off before practices begin. The sets, reps and weight percentages follow the same pattern as all previous periods, with each of the three phases lasting three weeks. Running workouts are intense during the summer and focus on short bursts of speed and acceleration as well as change-of-direction drills.
The first week of practices will include strength and speed testing, used by coaches to judge which players worked out throughout the summer. Before you begin playing games you likely will continue to lift three or even four days each week. Once games begin you will lift on Mondays, Wednesdays and likely Saturdays. Each workout is a full-body workout designed not necessarily to increase your strength but rather to maintain that strength throughout the season. In addition, the Saturday workout will include flexibility and running in order to work the soreness from the game out of the system.
- Complete Conditioning for Football; Michael Arthur, Bryan Bailey, Tom Osborne
- 52-Week Football Training; Ben Cook