Most football players have a lot of down time. If you are playing high school football, the season lasts only about four months. Even the pros, who play 18 games and exhibitions and perhaps a number of playoff games, have an off-season of about six months. The work that you put in during the off-season is crucial to your game performance. Off-season workouts can make you stronger, faster and less susceptible to injuries. If you work hard in the off-season, you will have an edge over players who treat their down time as a vacation.
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An off-season football workout routine developed by the Muscle and Strength website is geared toward younger players who have done some light weight training. If you plan to try out for your high school team, this is a four-day routine that will increase your strength and power. These workouts feature heavy weights, a low number of repetitions, excellent form and sufficient rest between workouts. On Monday and Thursday, you work the legs, back and biceps. Do sets of squats, leg presses, lat pull downs, bent over rows and preacher curls. You work your chest, triceps, calves and abs on Tuesday and Friday with barbell bench presses, dumbbell flys, lying triceps extensions, seated calf raises and sit-ups from a declining position.
If you are an experienced football player, you need a more rigorous off-season workout routine. The University of Florida's strength-training department recommends an advanced workout program. Begin with a warm-up that includes jumping rope and a variety of dynamic stretches for the muscles you'll work that day. Alternate pushing and pulling exercises in each workout, including squats, dumbbell incline presses, dumbbell shoulder presses, barbell incline presses and bench presses. Work out four days per week but don't work the same muscle group on consecutive days.
Speed and Endurance
For speed, power and explosiveness, an off-season workout routine devised by pro football player Bill Martens stresses you to the max. Martens recommends an extensive stretching routine and a slow run to warm up your muscles. The workout itself begins with 10 sets of sprints from 5 yards to 40 yards with very short rest breaks between sets. Then it's a series of shuttle runs, in which you run 10, 15 or 20 yards, touch the ground, then run back and touch the starting line. A grueling set of stair runs follows, then a series of sprints at three-quarter speed from 10 to 100 yards, then a fartlek run, also called in and outs, which requires you to all-out sprint the straight portions of a 1/4 mile track and slowly jog the curves, repeating five times. Then comes the Full Monty, sprinting 100 yards, turning around and sprinting back, repeating four more times if you can. Finish up with an easy one-mile jog to cool down and allow your muscles to recover.
If you haven't done an off-season power or speed workout before, you should see your doctor for a physical exam before starting one. Working out with a teammate or under the supervision of a coach is always a good idea. You and your teammate can push and encourage each other to keep going when fatigue sets in, and a coach can ensure that you are using proper form when weight training.