The off-season is a crucial time for players to train and prepare their bodies for competition. The better you prepare, the better you will perform, and the better you’ll feel mentally and physically during the season. There are many aspects to properly preparing for the football season. Below you will find some of them.
A strength program is a vital part of any preseason prep routine. Your football workouts should have 3-4 big lifts and then supporting lifts to fill in the rest of the routine. The big lifts usually include back squat, deadlift, power clean, and bench press. Before this program begins, you should determine the max amount of weight you are able to do in all of these lifts. Some programs will have an athlete perform a 1 rep max, while others will have athletes perform multiple reps. Once your maximum weight is determined for each lift, it can then be broken down into percentages. These percentages will be used to select the amount of weight and reps used each week for the big lifts. At the end of the strength program, just before the season begins, you should retest all of the big lifts to see how much you have improved.
Power is another major component when training for football. Every position needs power at some point in the game, whether it’s a lineman firing off the line or a receiver needing to create space during press coverage. Power is different than strength. Strength is how much weight you can move in a single movement, whereas power is how fast you can move the weight. Power training should be mixed in with your strength program. Examples would be lifts that have lighter weights and that work on bar speed. Power training is also covered by plyometric exercises. Plyometric exercises should be a major component of your football training routine. Plyometrics will usually have their own place in the daily workout, commonly right after a dynamic warm-up, and before the strength training begins. Box jumps and medicine ball wall slams are two examples.
Speed is important whether you’re a defensive back trying to cover a wide receiver or if you’re an offensive lineman pulling down the line to make a lead block. Speed is trained by running sprints. Sprints should vary in length and resistance. Resistance can mean many things. You can be dragging a tire behind you, have a person hold a band that’s wrapped around your waist as you run, running in sand, or running up an incline. The strength and power program will also help increase speed.
Agility is the ability to change direction as quickly and easily as possible. The ability to change direction quickly is vital for any position in football. Agility is trained by cone or dot drills, ladder drills, plyometric drills, and often during sport-specific drills.
Endurance should not be forgotten when preparing for the football season. Although running for mileage might help your overall endurance, it’s not the most beneficial way for a football athlete. Football is a stop-and-go sport, meaning you exert quick amounts of energy, followed by a short break, and then another quick burst of energy. Endurance should be trained when sprint training and during sport-specific training. To do this, you need to change the rest periods between sprints/drills as well as the distance or length of the sprints/drills.
Sports Specific Training
You should incorporate drills that resemble or mimic actions you would perform at your position. By adding this type of training into your regiment, your body will be more familiarized with situational game movements. An example of this would be a quarterback performing a dropback and side shuffle cone drill. This drill would work on the quarterback’s agility. If he held a football in the throwing position throughout the entire drill, and then threw to a target at the end, it becomes sport specific. Performing sport-specific drills will also help with muscle memory.
Mobility and Flexibility
These two components are often neglected or under-prioritized. Having mobile joints will allow your body to move into positions more smoothly during sport. Better mobility and flexibility will help optimize training and athletic performance. Mobility and stretching drills should continue to be utilized throughout the season to keep your body moving properly. Seeing a sports chiropractor can help find your limitations, and provide tools to help improve those limitations.
A few other components that should be incorporated into the preparation for the season is proper diet, sleep and recovery, and sports IQ. You can read more about sleep and recovery on our blog which is linked above. Sports IQ can consist of learning plays or studying formations and patterns in different offense and defensive sets.
Why you should see a Sports Chiropractor
We recommend having a check-up before the sports season starts to make sure you can perform to the best of your ability and remain healthy throughout the season. Reaching out to a sports chiropractor should be on your list to make sure that you have all your questions answered. Seeing a sports chiropractor can be helpful to have your strength and range of motion evaluated. A sports chiropractor can also overview your training plan and discuss what options would be best to meet your goals. Check out our other blog post “8 Ways to Prepare For This Upcoming Season” for more tips. We also provide other modalities specifically for recovery, such as Normatec and Cupping, that would be beneficial after practice or games.