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How to Add Strength, Explosive Power, and Competition to Your Offseason Program


Picking the right exercises for your offseason football program can often be a difficult task. While time, facilities, and equipment will often dictate what you can and cannot do, there are a few lifts that every program can take advantage of.

Add these five exercises to your offseason football program to add strength, explosive power, and competition into your sessions:

1. The Lift/Front Squat

This is a quad dominant lift that should be used to complement any posterior exercises that you include in your program. The front squat is a lower body variation that has the barbell resting on the front part of the body as opposed to the typical back squat. Because of this change in bar position, weight percentages must be lowered.

Training Tip: Exhale and create force as you drive the chest up through the ceiling.

2. Band Rotational Work

This rotational exercise is an extremely effective and applicable movement for all football athletes. In a game where rotational instability is happening on every snap, developing this unique type of core strength will pay huge dividends. By creating an unbalanced resistance force, the athlete will need to create stabilization from the ground up. Have your athletes focus on anchoring their feet into the ground and stabilize from the lower body through the core, shoulders, and hands.

Training Tip: The exercise should be completed with a high rate force production on the pull and slow stability on the extension.

3. Single – Leg Step Ups

This is a great single leg exercise that helps correct muscular imbalances and improve power. Studies have shown that 80% of football is played with one foot off the ground. The step up allows the athlete to work both concentrically and eccentrically through the movement to develop strength and power. It is important to select box heights that keep the hip at no more than 90 degrees of flexion.

Training Tip: The exercise should be completed with a high rate force production on the way up and slow stability on the way down.

4. Tire Flips

This is a great exercise to develop total body strength, flexibility, endurance, and explosiveness. The position of the body in a tire flip closely mimics that of a football stance and translates extremely well to the playing field. Use the tire flips with a large group of athletes to create competition during the workout. Be sure to monitor your athletes during this particular lift to ensure proper technique and safety.

Training Tip: This is not a dead lift, legs should be bent and lift should be down with lower body initiating movement.

5. Chin Ups

The chin up could be the best body weight exercise that an athlete can incorporate into their workout. By utilizing different grips, you can constantly modify and challenge your athletes without expensive and complicated equipment. Whether completed with assistance or extra weight, the chin up will help build maximum strength and power for all of your athletes. Be sure to have your athletes focus on getting a full range of motion when performing this exercise.

Training Tip: You can use bands, partners, or a bench underneath to add assistance to athletes who cannot perform a pull up without help.

Robert Pomazak, MS, PES, SES, is an NASM-certified performance enhancement and speed specialist. He currently serves as strength and conditioning coordinator at Elk Grove High School (Elk Grove Village, Ill.), where he has taught physical education and coached varsity football and baseball for the past 10 years. Pomazak focuses on sport-specific program development and performance training for high school athletes.

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