By Dave Hollinger
Forget about running 300 yard shuttles or 110 yard sprints for football. Training for these common football conditioning tests are counterproductive to the development of strength, speed and power. Basically all the qualities that are important to football players.
The average football play lasts approximately 4-6 seconds with 30 seconds of rest between plays. Because of this, alactic power and alactic capacity should be the focus. Not running mid and long distances that take away from your speed and power. To develop your alactic power and capacity and get you in true football shape, perform repeated bouts of explosive activities. A great way to train like this is to perform Strongman training. Strongman training transfers all the strength you’ve developed in the weight room throughout the off-season into raw functional football strength. It will develop speed, power, size, strength, and conditioning, all the while making you physically and mentally tougher. Just what a football player needs!
Below I list several of my favorite Strongman activities along with a sample program for a football lineman.
Backward Sled Drag – strengthens the VMO
Lateral Sled Drag – improves rapid lateral movements and change of direction on the field
Log Press (in a rack) – develops explosive upper body strength; trains ability to overcome inertia
Tire Flip – develops the posterior chain; develops explosive drive through hips
Prowler – improves acceleration, mental toughness, and energy system specific to football
Farmer Walks – total body; ankle/knee stability; grip; core; addresses muscular imbalances
Yolk Walk – improves kinesthetic awareness and torso strength
Keg (Caber) Toss – develops explosive hip extension
Blast Starts – only done by linemen; develops rapid acceleration in an upright position
Tire Battle – competition; improves understanding of leverage points
Strongman training for a Lineman
Perform a Prowler Sprint (~3 seconds) immediately followed by 2 (600+ pound) Tire Flips.
The total time for the sequence should not last any longer than 10 seconds (1 football play). Following this sequence you will rest for 30 seconds (play clock) and then repeat for a total of 8 repetitions. This is one set. Repeat the set 4-5 more times.
This is just one example of a Strongman sequence. The options are limitless when designing a Strongman training program. Get creative. Don’t waste your time running 300 yard shuttles. Strongman will have you more than ready come 2-a-days.