Just like players of other positions, the members of the offensive line need to work out frequently all year long. In-season workouts are conducted mostly through official team practice. During the off-season, it is crucial for members of the offensive line to stay in shape, increase strength and improve agility.
Demands of the Position
The primary physical characteristic necessary for an offensive lineman is strength. The offensive line needs to be able to block the opponent’s defensive line to allow enough time for the play to develop successfully. On passing downs, the offensive line must form a strong pocket to protect the quarterback long enough to complete the play. On rushing downs, the offensive line must clear gaps between the members of the defensive line to allow the running back to gain yards. Offensive linemen also need lateral agility and balance.
In the Weight Room
To develop the necessary strength for the coming football season, the off-season program should focus on building muscle mass. The offensive linemen workouts during the season will revolve around maintaining existing strength. Set up a three-day workout schedule where you work all major muscle groups each session. Focus on compound explosive lifts like squats, deadlifts, power cleans, clean-and-presses, bench presses and leg presses. Use heavy weight with up to six sets of eight repetitions for each exercise.
On the Track
Football is characterized by bursts of activity. Offensive linemen need to have a specific level of endurance to handle them for the duration of an entire game. While an offensive lineman won’t need to take up distance running, he should incorporate interval running into his off-season routine. This will help maintain cardiovascular endurance leading into the season. Set aside up to three days each week for interval training. Walk for 90 seconds, then jog/run for 90 seconds, and alternate back and forth for up to 30 minutes. Add 5 minutes to the sessions each week.
Drills and Skills
When the off-season comes, muscle memory is often the first thing to fade. Since accurate footwork is crucial to success on the line, continue performing basic agility drills like ladders, shuttle runs, laterals and dot drills. Work on maintaining and ultimately improving your ability to move laterally, to maintain balance and to place each footfall with precision by reflex. At the beginning of the off-season, schedule two drill sessions a week; one month before the start of camp, add a third weekly session to your routine.