Speed and strength are two athletic abilities that help a football player significantly improve his performance on the field. How fast and strong you are will partly depend on your body type and genetic makeup, but you can make notable strides by incorporating weight training, plyometrics and speed work into your regimen.
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Workout Components and Schedule
To see significant strides in both speed and strength, begin your training during the offseason and schedule four workouts into your regimen per week. You’ll focus on weight training on two days, allowing two days off in between, such as in a Monday and Thursday routine. The other two days, which could fall on Tuesday and Friday, you’ll focus on plyometrics and speed work. Before each workout, use 15 minutes to properly warm up so that your body is ready when it’s time to work out. Begin with five minutes of cardio, such as jumping rope, and then do 10 minutes of dynamic stretches, which could include high knees, butt kicks, body-weight squats, skipping, arm circles and leg swings.
In the Weight Room
Although bodybuilders focus on particular muscle groups during each session, as a football player all of your muscles have to work together when you’re performing movements on the field. Therefore, your weight-training workout should consist of mostly compound exercises, which means they require movement at multiple joints. Incorporate back squats, lunges, deadlifts and step-ups to simultaneously develop your glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps and calves. Use pullups and rows for your back and dumbbell bench presses, military presses to work your chest and shoulders. Perform four sets of five to eight reps of every exercise, using a weight that makes reaching eight reps difficult. Give your muscles three minutes of rest between sets.
Building Power with Plyometrics
Plyometric exercises will develop explosive power in your hips and legs, which in turn will help you sprint faster. Do your plyometric work before you move onto speed activities. After your warm-up, incorporate hurdle hops, box jumps and bounds. For hurdle hops, set a collection of small hurdles or cones in a line and hop with two feet over them as quickly as you can. For box jumps, stand in front of a plyo box. Lower into a squat and then explode up into a maximum-height jump, landing with both feet atop the box. Step down and repeat. To perform bounds, lower into a quarter squat and then jump as far forward as possible. As soon as you land, lower down into the next rep. Complete each exercise for three sets of eight reps, resting two to three minutes in between each set.
Improving Speed on the Field
Although you may be motivated to do many speed drills in an attempt to see notable results quickly, it’s important that you begin at a low volume and then gradually increase your workload as you progress. Incorporate sprints done at 20 and 40 yards, which are distances common in football competition. Perform five sets of each, resting two minutes in between each set so that you’re fully recovered. Sprinting up stairs or stadium steps develops hip explosion and can improve speed. Perform six to eight sets, resting two minutes in between each one.