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Defensive Back Workout Plan

author image Henry Halse
Henry Halse is a Philadelphia-based personal trainer, speaker, and writer. He's trained a wide variety of people, from couch potatoes to professional athletes, and helped them realize their own strength, determination and self-confidence. Henry has also written for various fitness and lifestyle publications, including Women’s Health, AskMen and Prevention.
Defensive Back Workout Plan
A barbell on a lift machine at the gym. Photo Credit: Zheka-Boss/iStock/Getty Images

Defensive back is one of the most demanding positions in the game of football. To be good requires athleticism at the highest level. Not only do you have to be good physically but you also need to be cerebral in reading the offense, anticipate movements and react quickly. There are other positions that have have higher demands for specific physical requirements but defensive backs are the decathletes of football in that they have to be good at everything. If this is your position, training for it can be overwhelming, but a properly designed program with structure can optimize your performance on the field.

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Prioritizing Training Goals

Defensive backs need a little bit of everything. Prioritizing training goals is a must to optimize performance. The top priority is power, which is the speed at which you generate force. Defensive backs also need agility, or the ability to change direction. Another priority is bi-directional coordination, which involves back pedaling and lateral running to disrupt pass attempts and read the offense. Finally, strength should always be a priority because it improves all other parts of conditioning and performance. Set your training week up for a five day cycle and rest on the weekends. Three days of agility and conditioning drills and two days of power and strength training will be performed. Start the week with agility and conditioning drills and then alternate days with power and strength training.

Power and Strength Day: Push

Your workout will be broken up into to push routine and a pull routine. This will cover all your bases and prevent overlap. You'll start with two power exercises and then move into strength training. Choose weights that only allow you to meet the repetitions goals.

Push Program Push Press- 4-5 sets, 3-5 repetitions Split Jerk- 4-5 sets, 3-5 repetitions Barbell Lunges- 4 sets 10-12 repetitions Single Arm Cable Push- 4 sets 8-10 repetitions each arm

Leg Extension - 4 sets 12-15 repetitions Barbell Step ups- 4 sets 8-10 repetitions each leg (Superset)

Weighted Dips- 4 sets 10 -12 repetitions Russian Twist- 4 sets 10-12 repetitions each side (Superset)

Power and Strength Day: Pull

Pull Program Power Clean -4-5 sets, 3-5 repetitions Jump Shrug- 4-5 sets, 3-5 repetitions

Single Arm Cable Row-4 sets, 10-12 repetitions Hanging leg Raise- 4 sets, 10-12 repetitions (Superset)

Barbell Romanian Deadlift- 4-5 sets, 10-12 repetitions Chinups- 4 sets, 8-10 repetitions (Superset)

Lying Leg Curl- 4-5 sets, 10-12 repetitions

Dumbbell Hammer Curls-4 sets, 10-12 repetitions

For both of these programs the rest periods are between 60-90 seconds, except for the two power exercises in the beginning. For the power exercises the rest periods should be 2-3 minutes between sets.

A five day outlook starting on a Monday would have these workouts being performed on Tuesday and Thursday.

Drill Day

Agility ladder (30 feet): In/out pattern, sprint 20 yards perform 5 rounds Agility ladder (30 feet): In/out pattern, back pedal 20 yards perform 5 rounds Agility ladder (30 feet): In/out pattern, lateral run 20 yards perform 3 rounds (3 each side)

Off balance cone drill: Back pedal 15 yards, then lateral run in a zig-zag pattern for 3 cone points. Perform 4 rounds.

Clock Pattern direction change drill: Back pedal 10 yards then immediately sprint in the 12 o'clock direction (straight ahead) go around once clockwise, then counter clockwise.

Lateral run stop-jump drill: Layout 4 cones across the field in a catty-corner position, lateral run to a cone, stop then jump to mimic pass interruption. Perform 3 rounds.

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