When doing a needs analysis for a football team, it is easy to see how different each position really is. In the past, football teams would have an off season program where every athlete was following the same routine. I believe that football has the most varied needs of any team sport, so when designing the program, I have to take many things into consideration.
Physical Evaluation – Looking for strength imbalances, flexibility issues, what their current strength levels are in the major lifts, lower body power (vertical jump – dynamic & static), movement skills (agility drills), and 40 yard breakdown (10, 20 & 40yd results)
Positional Needs – Each position has varied strength, power and movement needs. Would I have a receiver backpedal and cut?
Injuries – The early off-season is a time for recovering from injuries and also beginning a pre-hab protocol. That includes all of the small stabilizing muscles in the shoulder, hip and ankles.
Age/Training Experience – Young players 13-15yrs compared to those 16-18 are going to be different. Younger athletes will spend more time on single leg exercises such as split squats, step ups, single leg squats etc. Also more time will be given to teach movement skills such as running drills etc. After a few years in the program advanced methods such as resisted/overspeed training and complex training with prowler push and sprints can be implemented.
Here are some needs for each position:
SST’s off–season program is based on a player that plays rep and high school football. If their season is finished in November and they start up the rep season in May, this will be a progression used to recover from the previous year and then prepare for the next.
- Two seasons back to back take a toll on your body. It is important to take some time to recover after and take care of the bumps and bruises. Usually 2-3 weeks is a good time frame. Some players may have played well over 20 games with Rep and High School
- Each player should Start with a Fitness Assessment to determine your strengths & weaknesses.
- Have your body fat and lean mass calculated and set a goal for the upcoming season.
- Have someone design nutrition program planned to help meet your goals. 80% of your goals will be achieved with proper Nutrition
- 3-4 workouts per week
- Workouts – focus on smaller muscles such as the VMO, Rhomboids, Hip Rotators, Rotator Cuffs. SST calls this phase the prehab month
- Higher reps – to strengthen your tendons and ligaments and prepare you for the heavier lifting later.
- Weights 50-70% 1RM – this is the time to build the foundation
- Start in increasing the weights and lowering the reps
- Begin adding lower intensity plyometrics (except Linemen)
- Reps are now in the 4-8 range
- Weights 70-85% of 1RM
- Focus on core lifts – accessory ones are individualized based on weaknesses
- Implement Speed & Agility work – 2 sessions per week
- Medium Intensity Plyometrics- make sure you document the amount of total jumps per week to avoid overtraining
- Advanced lifters can be working in the 3-5 rep range for their main lifts
- Intermediate 5-10
- Beginners 6-12
- One day – functional training – using tires, sleds, farmer’s walks, sandbags, sledgehammers
- Speed Training
- Add in 1-2 days of positional drills (or some teams will start indoor practices)
- More explosive training – Higher intensity plyos and Olympic Lifts (advanced)
- Med Intensity plyos & med ball training (beginner/intermediate)
- One day include heavier Core lifts (example squats)
- Focus on positional energy system training 2 x per week – conditioning for the season
- Positional Drills 2 x per week
- Weight room – now there are only 3 lift days
- Lower Body – Explosive & Strength focus
- Upper Body – Explosive & Strength focus
- Full Body – Functional Day
- This phase should maintain your lean mass, continue to improve strength & power while getting your legs conditioned for the season.
Steve Bodanis is the Owner of SST Hamilton and has trained NFL, NCAA, CFL and CIS players. In addition Steve has produced the 2nd fastest time recorded at the NFL Combine in 2013!
To get more information about SST please visit www.sstcanada.com
To check out how these programs can be done in complete safety, visit us at www.xperformm.com