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Training

In Season Football Training

Training

In Season Football Training

 

In Season training for football players is an often mismanaged situation by football and strength coaches alike. All to often, the case is that a football player/team will spend the whole offseason getting bigger, stronger and faster, only to totally neglect the weightroom during the season and thus be their weakest, slowest, smallest at the end of the season when the games are the most critical. Coaches are abandoning the weight room in season due to a fear of overworking the athletes or impeding their performance during games. While this fear does is rational on their part, it can be totally avoided by proper planning.

The key factors that must be considered when creating an in season training plan for football players, or for that matter, any athlete, are…

Don’t Hinder the Athlete’s Ability to Practice-Practice is the only thing the athlete must do, everything else can be replaced. There are great players who can’t bench or squat, but there isn’t anyone who is great without practicing their sport. If you have an athlete who is either limited by an injury or morphobiomechanical issue from performing certain exercises, either find a replacement for that movement that they can effectively perform or remove it from the program.

Consider the Physical Stimulus of Practice-Sprinting, blocking and tackling are all significant stresses to the body which will all contribute to the body being able to maintain/gain strength. Just because there isn’t a bar in your hands or on your back, doesn’t mean that you aren’t doing something that can make you stronger. Because of the significant stimulus presented by practice, particularly to the legs, volume of in season lifting must be reduced to avoid ‘overflowing your cup’ with high intensity CNS stressors.

Juggernaut Blake Rodgers is working hard during his freshman season at the University of Washington

Improving Durability-Throughout the course of a football season, athletes will undergo a great deal of punishment to their bodies, particularly their shoulders, knees, wrists/hands, and necks. With that being understood you need to take special care to avoid compounding that stress in the weightroom, while also using prehab exercises to improve their durability. An example of a way to relieve stress on the shoulders, wrists and hands while still providing the athlete with the necessary stimulus to continue getting stronger throughout the season is to utilize the Safety Squat Bar (or Belt Squat) for their primary lower body movement. Using partial range pressing movements, such as a floor press or 2 board press, is also a good idea to avoid compounding the stress on the shoulders. When looking to maintain lower body explosive strength in season, you want to avoid adding further stress to the athlete’s lower body joints. To do this, you want to either jump onto soft surfaces (like a high jump landing pit), jump up onto a box (to reduce the forces of gravity in the landing) or focus more on medicine ball throw variations (which will give the body stimulus to develop explosive strength, without impacting the knees/hips/ankles in violent landings).

Avoid Competing for Technical Resources-While SPP (special physical preparation) drills are great and an important part of improving an athlete’s special strength abilities for their sport, their place is not in-season training. Using SPP drills in-season will compete for the athlete’s energy to develop their technical skills. For example, a Prowler Explosion is a great drill to improve an offensive lineman’s get off, as it is very similar in velocity, duration and direction of movement as the actual sporting skill; but it is these similarities that when being used simultaneously with actual sport drills will interfere with their ability to develop proper footwork mechanics, etc. This concept becomes even more important with higher skilled movements like throwing a football. Overhead Forward and Snap Throws are great builders of special strength for a quarterback, but need to be relegated to the offseason periods, away from the times when throwing a real football is of greatest importance.

Maintain the Athlete’s Bodyweight-Significant losses of strength during the competitive season can often be attributed to significant losses in bodyweight due to the increased volume of running. Monitoring your athlete’s bodyweight with weekly weigh-ins and educating them about proper nutrition is critical to helping them maintain their bodyweight/muscle mass and thus maintain or improve their strength.  Check out these great articles from Nate Winkler to help your athletes maintain their lean mass and perform up to their potential during their season…

Gameday Nutrition, Nutrition for Two-a-Days and Explosive Nutrition.

Use Passive Recovery Means-There are numerous ways to help your athletes improve their recovery and restoration during the football season. Passive means such as ice baths, contrast showers, massage/soft tissue work and if you have access to it, a Compex unit, are all great ways to help your athletes feel fresher from day to day. Look for more information on how I use the Compex unit in an upcoming training log entry.

Juggernaut athletes Miles Burris (left, Raiders), Devon Wylie (facing away, Chiefs) and Shea McClellin (right, Bears) know that the ice bath is a great way to regenerate between tough training sessions and practices.

Understand Who Needs to Do What-Not everyone on the team does the same amount of work, this is particularly true in high school settings, where it isn’t uncommon to have 2 way starters, some of whom will also play on special teams. It is only common sense, that your starting Running Back/Safety/Kick Returner, who never comes off the field on Friday nights, shouldn’t be doing the same volume of training as your sophomore 3rd string tackle does. If you are properly educating your athletes, your star players should be smart enough and have the autonomy to let you know if they are feeling run down and need to back off in the weightroom some. I understand that this may be a scary concept and when I was coaching I certainly wouldn’t have trusted some kids to do this, but you know who you can give some leeway to and who you can’t. Your backup/scout team kids can increase their intensities and volumes a bit, because they won’t be receiving the same stimulus from practice/games as the starters and can’t afford to lose months of training too far submaximally.

Now that we know what factors must be accounted for during in-season training, now let me show you how I set up the training for our in-season football players…

12 Week In Season Training Program

In this scenario, games are played on Friday, so Day 1 is Monday, Day 2 is Wednesday and Day 3 is Saturday, if games are being played on Saturdays then everything would be moved back one day, ie. Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.

 

Week

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

1

1-OHB, Scoop, Rotational MB Throws x10 each2a-SSB Box Squat-2×6 at 60%2b-Jumps onto Foam-2×43-DB Incline Bench (Palms In)-3×124-Rows/Pullups-3×12-155a-Neck Harness-2x155b-Curls-2x155c-90/90s-2×156-Ab Circuit x300 total reps 1-OHB, Scoop, Rot MB Throws x10 each2a-Floor Press-4×6 at 65-75%2b-Face Pulls-4×253-Back Extensions or RDLs or Reverse Hypers-3×124-Rows/Pullups-4×12-155a-Manual Resisted Neck-2x155b-Closegrip Pushups-2x155c-Reverse Flies-2×156-Ab Circuit x300 Total Reps All exercises today done at moderate intensity/pace with 30 seconds between exercises1a-Back Extensions-2×20 seconds1b-DB Floor Press-2×20 seconds1c-DB Reverse Lunges-2×20 seconds1d-Blast Strap Rows-2×20 seconds2-Extensive MB Throws x500 Total3-Ab Circuit 30 seconds on/30 seconds off x8 rounds

2

1-OHB, Scoop, Rotational MB Throws x8 each2a-SSB Box Squat-2×5 at 65%2b-Jumps onto Foam-2×33-DB Incline Bench (Palms In)-3×104-Rows/Pullups-3×10-125a-Neck Harness-2x125b-Curls-2x125c-90/90s-2×126-Ab Circuit x400 total reps 1-OHB, Scoop, Rot MB Throws x8 each2a-Floor Press-4×5 at 70-80%2b-Face Pulls-4×253-Back Extensions or RDLs or Reverse Hypers-3×104-Rows/Pullups-4×10-125a-Manual Resisted Neck-2x125b-Closegrip Pushups-2x125c-Reverse Flies-2×126-Ab Circuit x400 Total Reps All exercises today done at moderate intensity/pace with 30 seconds between exercises1a-Back Extensions-2×25 seconds1b-DB Floor Press-2×25 seconds1c-DB Reverse Lunges-2×25 seconds1d-Blast Strap Rows-2x25seconds2-Extensive MB Throws x600 Total3-Ab Circuit 30 seconds on/30 seconds off x10 rounds

3

1-OHB, Scoop, Rotational MB Throws x6 each2a-SSB Box Squat-2×4 at 70%2b-Jumps onto Foam-2×23-DB Incline Bench (Palms In)-3×84-Rows/Pullups-3×8-105a-Neck Harness-2x105b-Curls-2x105c-90/90s-2×106-Ab Circuit x500 total reps 1-OHB, Scoop, Rot MB Throws x6 each2a-Floor Press-4×4 at 75-85%2b-Face Pulls-4×253-Back Extensions or RDLs or Reverse Hypers-3×84-Rows/Pullups-4×8-105a-Manual Resisted Neck-2x105b-Closegrip Pushups-2x105c-Reverse Flies-2×106-Ab Circuit x500 Total Reps All exercises today done at moderate intensity/pace with 30 seconds between exercises1a-Back Extensions-2×30 seconds1b-DB Floor Press-2×30 seconds1c-DB Reverse Lunges-2×30 seconds1d-Blast Strap Rows-2x30seconds2-Extensive MB Throws x700 Total3-Ab Circuit 30 seconds on/30 seconds off x12 rounds

4

1-OHB and Rotational MB Throws x10 each2a-SSB Box Squat-2×6 at 60%2b-Jumps onto Foam-2×43-DB Incline Bench (Palms In)-3×124-Rows/Pullups-3×12-155a-Neck Harness-2x155b-Curls-2x155c-90/90s-2×156-Ab Circuit x300 total reps 1-OHB and Rot MB Throws x10 each2a-Floor Press-4×6 at 65-75%2b-Face Pulls-4×253-Back Extensions or RDLs or Reverse Hypers-3×124-Rows/Pullups-4×12-155a-Manual Resisted Neck-2x155b-Closegrip Pushups-2x155c-Reverse Flies-2×156-Ab Circuit x300 Total Reps All exercises today done at moderate intensity/pace with 30 seconds between exercises1a-Back Extensions-2×20 seconds1b-DB Floor Press-2×20 seconds1c-DB Reverse Lunges-2×20 seconds1d-Blast Strap Rows-2×20 seconds2-Extensive MB Throws x500 Total3-Ab Circuit 30 seconds on/30 seconds off x8 rounds

5

1-OHB and Rotational MB Throws x8 each2a-SSB Box Squat-2×5 at 65%2b-Jumps onto Foam-2×33-DB Incline Bench (Palms In)-3×104-Rows/Pullups-3×10-125a-Neck Harness-2x125b-Curls-2x125c-90/90s-2×126-Ab Circuit x400 total reps 1-OHB, Scoop, Rot MB Throws x8 each2a-Floor Press-4×5 at 70-80%2b-Face Pulls-4×253-Back Extensions or RDLs or Reverse Hypers-3×104-Rows/Pullups-4×10-125a-Manual Resisted Neck-2x125b-Closegrip Pushups-2x125c-Reverse Flies-2×126-Ab Circuit x400 Total Reps All exercises today done at moderate intensity/pace with 30 seconds between exercises1a-Back Extensions-2×25 seconds1b-DB Floor Press-2×25 seconds1c-DB Reverse Lunges-2×25 seconds1d-Blast Strap Rows-2x25seconds2-Extensive MB Throws x600 Total3-Ab Circuit 30 seconds on/30 seconds off x10 rounds

6

1-OHB and Rotational MB Throws x6 each2a-SSB Box Squat-2×4 at 70%2b-Jumps onto Foam-2×23-DB Incline Bench (Palms In)-3×84-Rows/Pullups-3×8-105a-Neck Harness-2x105b-Curls-2x105c-90/90s-2×106-Ab Circuit x500 total reps 1-OHB and Rot MB Throws x6 each2a-Floor Press-4×4 at 75-85%2b-Face Pulls-4×253-Back Extensions or RDLs or Reverse Hypers-3×84-Rows/Pullups-4×8-105a-Manual Resisted Neck-2x105b-Closegrip Pushups-2x105c-Reverse Flies-2×106-Ab Circuit x500 Total Reps All exercises today done at moderate intensity/pace with 30 seconds between exercises1a-Back Extensions-2×30 seconds1b-DB Floor Press-2×30 seconds1c-DB Reverse Lunges-2×30 seconds1d-Blast Strap Rows-2x30seconds2-Extensive MB Throws x700 Total3-Ab Circuit 30 seconds on/30 seconds off x12 rounds

7

1-OHB MB Throws x10 each2a-SSB Box Squat-1×6 at 60%2b-Jumps onto Foam-1×43-DB Incline Bench (Palms In)-2×124-Rows/Pullups-2×12-155a-Neck Harness-1x155b-Curls-1x155c-90/90s-1×156-Ab Circuit x300 total reps 1-OHB MB Throws x10 each2a-Floor Press-3×6 at 65-75%2b-Face Pulls-3×253-Back Extensions or RDLs or Reverse Hypers-2×124-Rows/Pullups-3×12-155a-Manual Resisted Neck-1x155b-Closegrip Pushups-1x155c-Reverse Flies-1×156-Ab Circuit x300 Total Reps All exercises today done at moderate intensity/pace with 30 seconds between exercises1a-Back Extensions-2×20 seconds1b-DB Floor Press-2×20 seconds1c-DB Reverse Lunges-2×20 seconds1d-Blast Strap Rows-2×20 seconds2-Extensive MB Throws x500 Total3-Ab Circuit 30 seconds on/30 seconds off x8 rounds

8

1-OHB and Rotational MB Throws x8 each2a-SSB Box Squat-1×5 at 65%2b-Jumps onto Foam-1×33-DB Incline Bench (Palms In)-2×104-Rows/Pullups-2×10-125a-Neck Harness-1x125b-Curls-1x125c-90/90s-1×126-Ab Circuit x400 total reps 1-OHB, Scoop, Rot MB Throws x8 each2a-Floor Press-3×5 at 70-80%2b-Face Pulls-3×253-Back Extensions or RDLs or Reverse Hypers-2×104-Rows/Pullups-3×10-125a-Manual Resisted Neck-1x125b-Closegrip Pushups-1x125c-Reverse Flies-1×126-Ab Circuit x400 Total Reps All exercises today done at moderate intensity/pace with 30 seconds between exercises1a-Back Extensions-2×25 seconds1b-DB Floor Press-2×25 seconds1c-DB Reverse Lunges-2×25 seconds1d-Blast Strap Rows-2x25seconds2-Extensive MB Throws x600 Total3-Ab Circuit 30 seconds on/30 seconds off x10 rounds

9

1-OHB and Rotational MB Throws x6 each2a-SSB Box Squat-1×4 at 70%2b-Jumps onto Foam-1×23-DB Incline Bench (Palms In)-2×84-Rows/Pullups-2×8-105a-Neck Harness-1x105b-Curls-1x105c-90/90s-1×106-Ab Circuit x500 total reps 1-OHB and Rot MB Throws x6 each2a-Floor Press-3×4 at 75-85%2b-Face Pulls-3×253-Back Extensions or RDLs or Reverse Hypers-2×84-Rows/Pullups-4×8-105a-Manual Resisted Neck-1x105b-Closegrip Pushups-1x105c-Reverse Flies-1×106-Ab Circuit x500 Total Reps All exercises today done at moderate intensity/pace with 30 seconds between exercises1a-Back Extensions-2×30 seconds1b-DB Floor Press-2×30 seconds1c-DB Reverse Lunges-2×30 seconds1d-Blast Strap Rows-2x30seconds2-Extensive MB Throws x700 Total3-Ab Circuit 30 seconds on/30 seconds off x12 rounds

10

1-OHB MB Throws x10 each2a-SSB Box Squat-1×6 at 60%2b-Jumps onto Foam-1×43-DB Incline Bench (Palms In)-2×124-Rows/Pullups-2×12-155a-Neck Harness-1x155b-Curls-1x155c-90/90s-1×156-Ab Circuit x300 total reps 1-OHB MB Throws x10 each2a-Floor Press-3×6 at 65-75%2b-Face Pulls-3×253-Back Extensions or RDLs or Reverse Hypers-2×124-Rows/Pullups-3×12-155a-Manual Resisted Neck-1x155b-Closegrip Pushups-1x155c-Reverse Flies-1×156-Ab Circuit x300 Total Reps All exercises today done at moderate intensity/pace with 30 seconds between exercises1a-Back Extensions-2×20 seconds1b-DB Floor Press-2×20 seconds1c-DB Reverse Lunges-2×20 seconds1d-Blast Strap Rows-2×20 seconds2-Extensive MB Throws x500 Total3-Ab Circuit 30 seconds on/30 seconds off x8 rounds

11

1-OHB and Rotational MB Throws x8 each2a-SSB Box Squat-1×5 at 65%2b-Jumps onto Foam-1×33-DB Incline Bench (Palms In)-2×104-Rows/Pullups-2×10-125a-Neck Harness-1x125b-Curls-1x125c-90/90s-1×126-Ab Circuit x400 total reps 1-OHB, Scoop, Rot MB Throws x8 each2a-Floor Press-3×5 at 70-80%2b-Face Pulls-3×253-Back Extensions or RDLs or Reverse Hypers-2×104-Rows/Pullups-3×10-125a-Manual Resisted Neck-1x125b-Closegrip Pushups-1x125c-Reverse Flies-1×126-Ab Circuit x400 Total Reps All exercises today done at moderate intensity/pace with 30 seconds between exercises1a-Back Extensions-2×25 seconds1b-DB Floor Press-2×25 seconds1c-DB Reverse Lunges-2×25 seconds1d-Blast Strap Rows-2x25seconds2-Extensive MB Throws x600 Total3-Ab Circuit 30 seconds on/30 seconds off x10 rounds

12

1-OHB and Rotational MB Throws x6 each2a-SSB Box Squat-1×4 at 70%2b-Jumps onto Foam-1×23-DB Incline Bench (Palms In)-2×84-Rows/Pullups-2×8-105a-Neck Harness-1x105b-Curls-1x105c-90/90s-1×106-Ab Circuit x500 total reps 1-OHB and Rot MB Throws x6 each2a-Floor Press-3×4 at 75-85%2b-Face Pulls-3×253-Back Extensions or RDLs or Reverse Hypers-2×84-Rows/Pullups-4×8-105a-Manual Resisted Neck-1x105b-Closegrip Pushups-1x105c-Reverse Flies-1×106-Ab Circuit x500 Total Reps All exercises today done at moderate intensity/pace with 30 seconds between exercises1a-Back Extensions-2×30 seconds1b-DB Floor Press-2×30 seconds1c-DB Reverse Lunges-2×30 seconds1d-Blast Strap Rows-2x30seconds2-Extensive MB Throws x700 Total3-Ab Circuit 30 seconds on/30 seconds off x12 rounds

 

You’ll notice a few things about this program, 1-The pool of exercises being used are very small and they don’t rotate. This is by design, as introducing too many exercises or rotating them frequently, is more likely to induce DOMS and hinder the athlete’s ability to practice effectively. 2-The periodization scheme is very simple-There isn’t any fancy things that need to be done from a periodization scheme in-season (or off-season for that matter), as intensity increses, volume must decrease. You should also notice that in the 2nd 6 weeks, the volume of everything is reduced by one set and one type of medball throw is removed, this is just to allow the athlete to better recover during the more critical times of the season. 3-The percentages for the primary work are the same throughout the program. At the end of every 3 weeks, just add 5-10 pounds to the athlete’s working maxes, so they are using slightly heavier weights. These incremental increases will be plenty to keep the athlete progressing throughout the year.

Most importantly, listen to your athletes, observe how they are practicing, account for the stressors of practice (especially if some sort of punishment running or up-downs are performed) and adjust the training accordingly. With a simple but well thought out plan like this, it is definitely possible to not just maintain strength throughout the season but actually improve it. Be your strongest, when it counts the most!!

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Juggernaut Training Systems is a group of athletes and coaches dedicated to leading from the front and providing people with the highest quality information from true experts to help them achieve their goals.

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2 Responses to “In Season Football Training”

August 09, 2013 at 9:12 pm, Theodore Carotenuto said:

What weight medicine ball would you suggest for High School football players that are not hard core weight lifters?

Reply

August 10, 2013 at 3:08 pm, Chad Smith said:

Something they can throw at least 12 yards on the overhead backwards variation. 4-7kg is what most of my guys use.

Reply

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