best off

football hit

Football season is coming to its final weeks of the post-season and it is time for athletes to start thinking about training for next season.  You see a lot of questions on this forum asking how to increase speed in 3 weeks or pack on 10 pounds before the season starts next week.  So for everyone who didn’t feel like they optimized their off-season last year I’ll outline what your focus should be throughout the off-season.

Athletes typically follow a program centered around building strength OR increasing your vertical OR packing on muscle OR increasing speed OR getting you in great condition.  The truth of the matter is that athletes need to develop all of these qualities and not just one.   It is problematic for an athlete to just follow a program that only focuses on one quality.

Conversely, it is also a major problem to take a speed program and combine it with a plyometric program and combine it with a strength program and combine it with a bodybuilder program and combine that with a conditioning program.  If you do that you won’t accomplish any of your goals.  The problem with combining programs is that one program is a stand-alone product and it cannot take into account everything else you are doing.  If the designer of the strength program knew you were doing a lot of conditioning, high rep finishers and sprints then I bet they would change some stuff around.  Everything needs to be taken into account when designing a program.

Good programs will focus on different objectives during different times of the season, with a primary focus on one or two qualities while the other qualities are put on the back burner but everything is taken into account of what is to come.  I’m going to outline how you would go about putting together a yearlong program leading up to football season.

 

This outline is in mind for a football player but the concepts can be informational for other sports as well.  There are many different positions within football but the base of training is exactly the same.  The main difference will be with the distances ran by position groups, conditioning requirements for position groups, special attention to the shoulder for the Qb, specific change of direction requirements and blocking sled/explosive work for linemen.  This program is in mind for a lifter who has experience and proficiency in all the lifts.

Position Groups
Offensive and defensive linemen are placed in the Line group.  Linebackers, TE’s, QB’s and FB’s are placed in the big skill group.  DB’s, WR’s and RB’s are placed in the skill group.  The majority of the sprints Line will do will be 20 yards, big skill with sprint at 30 yards and Skill will sprint at 40 yards.  Here are the distances for extensive tempo runs: Line=60yds, big skill=80yds, Skill=100 yds.

 

The program will adhere to this hierarchy:

1. Sprints

2. Jumps

3. Throws

4. Lifting
***Sprinting will always be done before lifting is done.

Rest Intervals
1. Sprints-Full rest periods between reps and sets. ~20-30 seconds for every 10 yards worked and 3-5 minutes between sets. If you want to run fast you have to give yourself proper rest periods. You can use fatigue and the stopwatch as your guide. If you are running slower and slower times during the set you might need longer rest periods or might need to shut it down for the day.
2. Jumps- Full rest periods. Will depend on the type of jump but roughly 10-30 seconds between jumps and 2-5 minutes between sets. Let fatigue be your guide.
3. MB Throws- Full rest periods. 3-5 mins between sets and let your fatigue be your guide between throws. The less skilled you are at sprints, jumps and throws the less rest you will need.
4. Core Lifts: 50%=30-40 sec, 60%=50 sec, 65%=60 sec, 70%= 70-80 sec, 75%=80-90 sec, 80%=90-120 sec, 85%=2-4 mins, 90%=2-5 mins, 95%+=3-5 mins. You don’t always need complete recovery times here.
5. Accessory, Supplementary lifting: 30-120 sec. Incomplete rest Periods

Abdominal Work

Ab work will be done in two different capacities: one day will be for abdominal strength and another day for abdominal endurance.  Abdominal endurance volume will climb from low to high throughout the off-season.  These days will just rotate throughout the program and be done everyday.

 

***This outline will not include any Olympic lifts or their variations for the following reasons.

1. Athletes do not know how to perform the movements to a degree that will actually carryover to athletic development.

2. Athletes do not have a qualified coach to monitor technique as they progress from week to week (qualified being the key).

3. If you are slow or weak getting strong or fast will help you get explosive without doing explosive movements.

4. Most athletes don’t have the basic strength needed to hold the correct positions to perform the Olympic lifts.

5. Most athletes cannot get into the correct starting position due to mobility and strength deficiencies.

6. Throws can elicit a similar outcome as cleans with the following benefits: A smaller learning curve, they teach true uninhibited triple extension and less strain on the joints especially the wrist shoulder and elbow.

*** Please note that I am not saying that MB throws are better than cleans but these are the reasons why they are not included into this program.  I do think the Olympic lifts should be avoided for athletes who do not have access to a highly qualified coach.
Before the program gets started the athlete needs to test and record the following:
Vertical
Broad Jump
Overhead Backwards MB Throw for distance
5-10-5 Shuttle

40 yd. dash
3-5 RM squat
3-5 RM Bench
3-5 RM Deadlift

So let’s kick off with the program.  Here is a table of contents of sorts with the outline:

 

Post-season (~3 weeks)

Goals: Rest body after long season. Restore proper movement patterns and address any weak areas that have been neglected.  Fix asymmetries.

Offseason starts January 6th
GPP Hypertrophy/work capacity Block -3 weeks
Goals: Develop technique and work capacity in the weight room.  Ready the body for upright running with hill sprints. Maximal hypertrophy

GPP Hypertrophy/work capacity Block – 3 weeks
Goals: Develop technique and work capacity in the weight room.  Ready the body for upright running with hill sprints. Maximal hypertrophy.

GPP Strength Block 3 – 3 Weeks
Goals: Start to focus more on strength with the work done in previous blocks.  Start acceleration work and jumps.  Start to build up aerobic capacity

GPP Power Block 4 – 3 Weeks
Goals:  Increase sprinting speed and maximize strength. Improve agility.  Increase jump volume Testing.  Build up aerobic capacity

Deload Week- 1 Week
Goals: Recover and regenerate

Pre-season (spring ball) 3 weeks
Goals: Increase strength while increasing alactic capacity. Increase aerobic capacity

In-season (spring ball) 2 weeks
Goals: Continue to increase alactic and aerobic capacity.  Keep athlete fresh for spring ball.  Maintenance phase for lifting.

SPP Strength Block- 3 Weeks

Goals: Increase maximal strength and improve acceleration.

SPP Maximal Speed Block- 3 Weeks
Goals: Increase top speed while incorporating more lateral movements for tempo work. Maintain aerobic capacity.

SPP Maximal Power Block- 3 Weeks

Goals: Develop maximal strength and power. Improve agility and be prepared for the next alactic block.

Pre-Season Alactic Capacity Block 3 Weeks
Goals: Be able to repeat high power outputs with incomplete recoveries.  Maintain as much strength and power as possible.

Deload for Start of Football Season

Methods
This is just an example of some methods of obtaining these goals.  The number of days can be adjusted with some thinking (I wouldn’t go below 3 days per week and no more than 6 days).  I’m not going to outline every set and rep for the core lifts but they can be easily made up with some thinking.  Within the week some days can be high volume, medium volume and lower volume.   Example weekly adjustments might look like this:

Monday: High
Tuesday: Medium
Wednesday: Low
Thursday: High
Friday: Medium

Full body Blocks
Monday: High
Tuesday: Low
Wednesday: Low or Medium
Thursday: Low
Friday: High

Potential Lower Body Cores Lifts

Squat
Front Squat
Pause Squats
Deadlifts (straight bar or trap bars)

Potential Upper Body Core Lifts

Bench Press
Incline Press (varying grips)
Floor Press or board press

Accessory/Supplementary Lower Body Lifts

Reverse Hyperextensions
RDL’s
Back Extensions
Uni-lateral work (I normally stick with lunges or Bulgarian split squats)

Accessory/Supplementary Upper Body Lifts
Rows (bent over rows, chain rows, db rows, cable rows, inverted rows)
Pull-ups/Chin-ups (add weight if possible)
Floor Press
Push-ups
DB pressing
Neck (manual neck, 4 way neck)
BPA’s
Reverse Flies
Curls

GPP 1 Hypertrophy/ Work Capacity Block
Lower body lifting will be done on Mon, Weds and Friday.  Upper body lifting and sprinting will be done Tuesday and Thursday Week 1=60%, Week 2=67.5% and a rep max done week 3 at 75%.  Sprinting will be done week 1,2 and 3.  Week 1 will be 1×10@10yds, 1×10@20yds and 1×10@30yds, Week 2 will be 5×5@25yds & week 3 will be 4×4@30yds.  Overall volume (reps X sets) will be kept high during this block.  No tempo runs.

 

GPP 2 Hypertrophy/Work Capacity Block

Lower body lifting will be done on Mon, Weds and Friday.  Upper body lifting and sprints will be done Tuesday and Thursday Week 1=65%, Week 2=72.5% and a rep max done week 3 at 80%.  Hill sprinting will be done week 1,2 and 3.  Week 1 will be 5×5@30yds, Week 2 will be3x6 s & week 3 will be 4×4@30yds.  Overall volume (reps X sets) will be kept high but lower than block #1. Hill jumps will be included during this block and will be done one Tuesdays and Thursdays after sprints.

 

GPP 3 Strength

Upper body lifting, sprinting and jumping will be done Mon, Weds and Friday.  Lower body lifting, tempos and medicine ball throws will be done Tuesday and Thursday.  Sprinting will be on flat ground now or with a lightly weighted sled.  Week 1 4×5 Week 2 4×4 Week 3 5×3 @30 yds.  Lifting will be Week 1=70%, Week 2=77.5% and rep max at 85% week 3.  As intensity increases the volume will continue to drop.

 

GPP 4 Power

Upper body lifting, sprinting and jumping will be done Mon, Weds and Friday.  Lower body will be done Tuesday and Thursday.  Sprinting will be on flat ground now or with a lightly weighted sled.  Week 1 4×5 Week 2 4×4 Week 3 5×3 @40 yds.  Lifting will be Week 1=75%, Week 2=82.5% and rep max at 90% week 3.  As intensity increases the volume will continue to drop.  The last week the athlete will test in the 40, shuttle, vertical, broad jump and OHB MB throw for distance.

 

Deload Week

2 Tempo runs.  Beach type lifting if desired.  Rest and regenerate.

 

Pre-season Alactic Capacity (Spring Ball)

The program will switch to all the core exercises being performed Monday, Wednesday and Friday’s along with throws, jumps and sprints. Monday will focus on the back squat and bench, Weds  F. squat and incline and Friday deadlift and bench.  Core lifts will be week 1 70%, week 2 75%, week 3 80% Tuesday and Thursday will be devoted towards Tempos, accessory lifting and abdominal exercises.  Weds. Volume will be low.  Alactic capacity drills will be done on Mon, Weds and Friday and will be the primary focus of the block.

In-Season (Spring Ball)
No sprint work or MB throws.  Jumps will be supersetted with squats.  Squats will be two days per week and bench two days per week.  Volumes are decreased by ½ and intensity in the 65-80% range.

SPP 1 Strength
All core exercises will be done on Monday, Wednesday and Friday’s along with throws, Jumps and sprints.  Tuesday and Thursday will be devoted towards Tempos, accessory lifting and abdominal exercises.  Week 1 75%, Week 2 up 85%, Week 3 up to 93%.  Testing of a 1-3Rm at this time.  I prefer a 3RM but most athletes want to see what their true 1RM is at this point.  Sprints will be done on Monday, Weds and Fridays with Weds being optional based on how the athlete is feeling.  Sled sprints will be done for the following sets reps and distances: Week 1 4×4, Week 2 5×3 and Week 3 4×3 @20yds.  Jumps can be more reactive in nature but still follow Prilepin’s  Chart.

SPP 2 Speed
The program will switch to all the core exercises being performed Monday, Wednesday and Friday’s along with throws, Jumps and sprints. Monday will focus on the back squat and bench, Weds  F. squat and incline and Friday deadlift and bench.  Core lifts will be week 1 70%, week 2 75%, week 3 80%. Tuesday and Thursday will be devoted towards Tempos, accessory lifting and abdominal exercises.  Monday and Wednesday will be maximal speed development and flying sprints will be done.  Week 1 3×6@10yds, Week 2 4×4@15yds and week 3 5×3@20yds.  Wednesday’s will be devoted towards change of direction drills for ~30 minutes and 10-15 reps of acceleration work or starts. Save depth jumps for the next block.

SPP 3 Power
Core Lifting will only be done on Monday and Friday with Tues, Weds and Thurs being devoted towards accessory lifts.  Tempos will continue on Tuesday and Thursday.  Sprint work will be done on Mon and Friday with more emphasis on COD work and accelerations.  No hill or sled work during this time.  Weds will be dedicated towards positional drills for an hour. MB work and Jumps will be performed on Monday, Weds and Friday.  More plyometrics and depth jumps will be included into the program.  Lifting % will be varied from 70-90%.

SPP 4 Alactic Capacity (football conditioning) http://endlinetraining.com/2013/05/1…-for-football/

The primary focus on this block is to maximize Alactic Capacity.  The previous blocks were working on Alactic power and now we want to take all that power and be able to repeat those high level efforts time and time again without a performance drop off.  It does no good to be fast just one time in football.  The athlete needs to get so they can repeat those efforts time and time again. The reason for the late addition for the conditioning is that we need to develop maximal strength and power first and foremost.  Conditioning a slow and weak athlete only gets them good at being slow and weak.  Alactic capacity work will be done on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  Core lifting will be done on Monday and Friday.  Tuesday and Thursday will be Tempo work with regeneration modalities saved for Wednesday.  Lifting will be in the 70-85% range.

 

In-season

The goal is to maintain qualities built during the off-season.  Every program is different so stresses will be really different.  Each position within each program will have different stresses so lifting should be individualized.  Lifting 2-3 times per week with full body or upper/lower body split being used.  Tempo runs should be done on the day after the game to help with regeneration and recovery.  After a tempo run some accessory work can be done with ab work and stretching.  Front Squats, Incline Bench and Floor press are staple core lifts during this phase.

At the end of one off-season here are the average results for my Varisty athletes who followed this program:
Squat: +90 pounds
Bench: +45 pounds
40yd dash: -.28
20 yd Shuttle: -.25
Broad Jump: +8”
Vertical 3.5”
Body weight: +20 pounds

Here is an example of the first 3 weeks of training.
Week 1
Monday
1. 100 abs.
2. Dynamic Warm-up.
3. Build-ups to 40.
4. Hill sprints 3×10@20 yards -40 sec rest btwn reps- 2:30 btwn sets
5. Triple jumps uphill x7
6. Double Pause Bench 6×5@60% 50 sec rest btwn sets.
7A. Blast Strap Rows 5×15
7B. Band Pull-aparts 4×15
8A. upper back jack 3×8-10-15
8B. Neck 3×6
8C. Chin-ups 3×12-15
8D. Biceps 3×12-15
9. 200 abs

Tuesday:
1. Foam Roll
2. Weight room/prehab warm-up
3. Squat 10×5@60% 50 sec rest btwn sets.
4. Back extensions 5×15
5. Bulgarian split squats 2×10
6. Weighted planks 3×20 sec
7. Db side bends 3×15

Wednesday
1. 100 abs.
2. Dynamic Warm-up.
3. Build-ups to 40.
4. Hill sprints 3×10@20 yards 40 sec rest btwn reps- 2:30 btwn sets
5. Triple jumps uphill x7
6. Floor Press 8×5@60% 50 sec rest btwn sets.
7A. Pull-ups 5×15
7B. Band Pull-aparts 4×15
8A. upper back jack 3×8-10-15
8B. Neck 3×6
8C. Cable Rows 3×12-15
8D. Biceps 3×12-15
9. 200 abs

Thursday
1. Foam Roll
2. Weight room/prehab warm-up
3. Front Squats 6×5@60% of their estimated Front squat max. 50 sec rest btwn sets.
4. Reverse Hyperextensions 5×15
5. Bulgarian split squats 2×10
6. Weighted planks 3×20 sec
7. Db side bends 3×15

Friday
1. 100 abs.
2. Dynamic Warm-up.
3. Build-ups to 40.
4. Hill sprints 3×10@20 yards- 40 sec rest btwn reps- 2:30 btwn sets
5. Triple jumps uphill x7
6. Bench press 10×5@60% 50 sec rest btwn sets.
7A. Pull-ups 5×15
7B. Band Pull-aparts 4×15
8A. upper back jack 3×8-10-15
8B. Neck 3×6
8C. Cable Rows 3×12-15
8D. Biceps 3×12-15
9. 200 abs

Saturday
1. Lacrosse ball mobility work
2. Weight room/prehab warm-up
3. Box squat 8×5@60% 50 sec rest btwn sets.
4. Reverse Hyperextensions 5×15
5. Bulgarian split squats 2×10
6. Weighted planks 3×20 sec
7. Db side bends 3×15

Week 2

Monday
1. 100 abs.
2. Dynamic Warm-up.
3. Build-ups to 40.
4. Hill sprints 5×5@20yd for line, @30 for big skill @35 for skill (40-90 sec rest btwn reps-2:30 min btwn sets)
5. Triple jumps uphill x6
6. Double Pause Bench 6×3@67.5% 60 sec rest btwn sets.
7A. Blast Strap Rows 5×12
7B. Band Pull-aparts 4×15
8A. upper back jack 3×8-10-15
8B. Neck 3×6
8C. Chin-ups 3×10-12
8D. Biceps 3×10-12
9. 250 abs

Tuesday:
1. Foam Roll
2. Weight room/prehab warm-up
3. Squat 10×3@67.5% 55 sec rest btwn sets.
4. Back extensions 5×12
5. Bulgarian split squats 2×10
6. Weighted planks 3×20 sec(increase #)
7. Db side bends 3×12

Wednesday
1. 100 abs.
2. Dynamic Warm-up.
3. Build-ups to 40.
4. Hill sprints 5×5@20yd for line, @30 for big skill @35 for skill (40-90 sec rest btwn reps-2:30 min btwn sets)
5. Triple jumps uphill x6
6. Floor Press 8×3@67.5% 50 sec rest btwn sets.
7A. Pull-ups 5×12
7B. Band Pull-aparts 4×15
8A. upper back jack 3×8-10-15
8B. Neck 3×6
8C. Cable Rows 3×10-12
8D. Biceps 3×10-12
9. 250 abs

Thursday
1. Foam Roll
2. Weight room/prehab warm-up
3. Front Squats 6×3@67.5% of their estimated Front squat max. 50 sec rest btwn sets.
4. Reverse Hyperextensions 5×12
5. Bulgarian split squats 2×10
6. Weighted planks 3×20 sec
7. Db side bends 3×15

Friday
1. 100 abs.
2. Dynamic Warm-up.
3. Build-ups to 40yds
4. Hill sprints 5×5@20yd for line, @30 for big skill @35 for skill (40-90 sec rest btwn reps-2:30 min btwn sets)
5. Triple jumps uphill x6
6. Bench press 10×3@67.5% 60 sec rest btwn sets.
7A. Pull-ups 5×12
7B. Band Pull-aparts 4×15
8A. upper back jack 3×8-10-15
8B. Neck 3×6
8C. Cable Rows 3×10-12
8D. Biceps 3×10-12
9. 250 abs

Saturday
1. Lacrosse ball mobility work
2. Weight room/prehab warm-up
3. Box squat 8×3@67.5% 60 sec rest btwn sets.
4. Reverse Hypers 5×12
5. Bulgarian split squats 2×10
6. Weighted planks 3×20 sec (increase Weight)
7. Db side bends 3×15

Monday
1. 100 abs.
2. Dynamic Warm-up.
3. Build-ups to 40.
4. Hill sprints 7×3@20yd for line, @30 for big skill @35 for skill (40-90 sec rest btwn reps-2:30 min btwn sets)
5. Triple jumps uphill x5
6. Double Pause Bench 3×5@50% 40 sec rest btwn sets.
7A. Blast Strap Rows 4×10
7B. Band Pull-aparts 3×15
8A. upper back jack 3×8-10-15
8B. Neck 3×6
8C. Chin-ups 3×8-10
8D. Biceps 3×8-10
9. 300 abs

Tuesday:
1. Foam Roll
2. Weight room/prehab warm-up
3. Squat REP MAX 75% (as many reps as possible without failing)
4. Back extensions 3×10
5. Bulgarian split squats 2×10
6. Weighted planks 3×20 sec(increase #)
7. Db side bends 3×10

Wednesday
1. 100 abs.
2. Dynamic Warm-up.
3. Build-ups to 40.
4. Hill sprints 5×3@20yd for line, @30 for big skill @35 for skill (40-90 sec rest btwn reps-2:30 min btwn sets)
5. Triple jumps uphill x6
6. Floor Press 3×5@50% 40 sec rest btwn sets.
7A. Pull-ups 5×12
7B. Band Pull-aparts 4×15
8A. upper back jack 3×8-10-15
8B. Neck 3×6
8C. Cable Rows 3×10-12
8D. Biceps 3×10-12
9. 300 abs

Thursday
1. Foam Roll
2. Weight room/prehab warm-up
3. Front Squats 3×5@50% of their estimated Front squat max. 40 sec rest btwn sets.
4. Reverse Hyperextensions 5×10
5. Bulgarian split squats 2×10
6. Weighted planks 3×20 sec
7. Db side bends 3×15

Friday
1. 100 abs.
2. Dynamic Warm-up.
3. Build-ups to 40yds
4. Hill sprints 7×3@20yd for line, @30 for big skill @35 for skill (40-90 sec rest btwn reps-2:30 min btwn sets)
5. Triple jumps uphill x6
6. Bench press REP MAX AT 75%( as many reps as possible without failing.
7A. Pull-ups 3×10
7B. Band Pull-aparts 4×15
8A. Cable Rows 3×10
8B. Neck 3×10
9. 300 abs

Saturday
1. Lacrosse ball mobility work
2. Weight room/prehab warm-up
3. Box squat 3×5@67.5% 60 sec rest btwn sets.
4. Reverse Hypers 5×12
5. Bulgarian split squats 2×10
6. Weighted planks 3×20 sec (increase Weight)
7. Db side bends 3×15

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