With football season about to get into full swing, I am going to give you guys a typical needs analysis for the off-season strength training programs most of these guys went through. Remember this when you see Matt Forte or Adrian Peterson running over their defenders this year, the offseason is what prepared them to do that. Being a former division one athlete, I could be the first one to tell you that games are won and lost in the off-season. Teams need to gel in the offseason and create a bond and continue to build on that bond during the season. Football training related questions are never going to stop, how do I train to be a linebacker? or How do I workout for football? How do I get into football shape? The questions go on and on.
When preparing a strength training program for any sport, you first need to start with a simple assessment. You need a baseline on where to go and what needs to be accomplished in the time you have, For example in the assessment you can look at posture, range of motion, basic strength and endurance testing. Also, be sure to test dynamic movements that are sports specific. Once you have those assessments you can move forward to designing a productive program to benefit the athlete you are working with.
When performing a needs analysis you need to ask yourself four different questions:
1. What major muscle groups need to be trained?
2. What type of training should be used?
3. What energy system should be stressed?
4. What are the primary sites of concern for injury prevention?
To help you out, I decided to come up with a needs analysis for an off-season strength training program for a football player.
1. Strength- You need to be strong, plain and simple. Strong from the feet up, start with the basics. Your strength program should consist of Presses, Squats, Dead-lifts, Dips, Pull-ups, etc. Compound movements get you strong, stick to them; the results will come.
2. Neck, Traps, and Upper Back Strength- That feeling you get after your first couple padded practice. Your upper back and traps more sore than EVER. Any football player at any level could relate to this. Football is a total body sport, don’t neglect your pulling movements. Build up your neck, traps and upper back. Even on your days you’re not training those parts of your body, do band pull aparts, over and underhand grip. Don’t be that guy that only does chest and arms. Be an athlete. A great program to incorporate into this aspect of training is Jason Ferruggia’s “YOKED” e-book.
3. POWER- You need to be powerful. You need to be explosive with your movements. Whether your Julius Peppers firing off the ball and sacking Aaron Rodgers or a running back pass protecting a linebacker coming full speed at you. Train these dynamic effort movements with complete reps. Definitely recommend getting POWER! by Joe Defranco and Jim Smith to help you get more powerful. Great DVD.
4. Single Limb Strength - Sports are played unilaterally, so you should incorporate single leg and arm movements into your training program. Single leg squats, lunges, split squats, step ups, single arm dumbbell bench, single arm dumbbell overhead press. Use some of these exercises and incorporate them into your training.
5. Core Strength- With a strong core you will be strong all over. Focus on improving your core strength, whether you are throwing, dragging, carrying or pulling your core is activated. Use med balls, kettlebells, prowlers, sledgehammers, your own bodyweight, etc. Don’t neglect this part of your training, you will definitely be paying for it during the season.
6. Mobility- Stay Fresh! Foam roll, and use a tennis ball every day. Keep your shoulders and hips fresh by performing prehab exercises. Before every workout perform exercises such as standing YTW’s, band pull aparts, fire hydrants, hurdle up and overs, internal/external rotator, etc for your mobility work. Stay healthy, don’t neglect this part of your training!
Remember, this is just the strength training aspect of things, I havent even mentioned one thing about the Speed, Agility, and Quickness that is needed to be successful on the football field. That article will be out soon. If you have any questions, don’t hesistate to ask.