Incorporate these five concepts into your strength and conditioning program to better prepare yourself for game day:
1. Maintain Strength & Power: Heavy, high-tension lifts such as squats, bench –presses, deadlifts and cleans performed in the 1-5 rep range at 90% or more of your 1-rep max are a great way to increase strength and power. These should’ve been the foundation for your off-season programming. Now is the time to take that strength you’ve developed through winter and spring and apply it to your on field performance. The focus of your summer programming should now be based on drills that build speed and explosiveness (i.e. jumps, throws & sprints).
However, don’t let the strength you’ve built diminish as the on field demands increase. Select 1-3 main lifts (squats, bench, deadlifts, presses, cleans) per workout and perform 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps at 65-85% of your 1-rep max. This is enough loading to maintain strength, improve force production, and not compromise recovery.
2. Maximize Bodyweight Training: Pushups, pull-ups, split-squats, glute-ham raises, lunges, planks etc., should make up the bulk of your accessory work in the weight room. Calisthenics are a great way to maintain and build muscle while decreasing joint stress. These can be performed frequently and best if done in the 5-25 rep range.
3. Incorporate Odd-Object Training: Develop functional, brute strength and stamina by performing events that require your whole body to work together. Implement ‘Strongman’ events such as the Farmer’s Walk (carry 1-2 heavy dumbbells as far as you can) or a loading event with a heavy sandbag.
4. Listen to Your Body: Those nagging aches and odd feelings in the shoulders, hips and knees will only become more pronounced as the summer goes on. Incorporate mobility and flexibility work into all strength training and conditioning sessions.
5. Maximize Practice: The best football conditioning work that you can perform is your actual practice. Perform drills with high intensity and effort. Not only will this make you stand out from other players, it will condition your body for the demands of playing.
Scott Doane Strength and Performance coach and owner of BeSTRONG Training Systems; a private training facility designed for enhancing your fitness and performance. He has trained a variety of athletes of all ages and levels ranging from middle-school to professional. Find him online at BeStrongTrainingSystems.com