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5/3/1 for Football: The Physical Development of a Hostile Team

By Jim Wendler and Bob Fitzgerald

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Before you embark on any physical fitness program, please consult a doctor. This book may not be reproduced or recorded in any form without permission from the authors.

Copyright 2010 by Jim Wendler and Bob Fitzgerald. All rights reserved.

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Table of Contents
Introduction – 5 Weight Room – 8 Annual Plan – 18 Workout Structure – 27 Warm Up – 33 Football Specific work – 46 Linear Speed – 53 Jumps and Throws – 63 Conditioning – 76 Jumps, Throws, Speed – First 8 Weeks (Skill) – 84 Jumps, Throws, Speed – First 8 Weeks (Linemen) – 92 Summer, 9 Weeks (Skill) – 99 Summer, 9 Weeks (Linemen) – 108 Summer Pre-Camp, 6 Weeks (Skill) – 117 Summer Pre-Camp, 6 Weeks (Linemen) – 124 Winter Strength and Conditioning: 8 Week Training Cycle – 132 Going into Summer: 9 Week Training Cycle – 147 Summer Pre-Camp: 6 Week Training Cycle – 156 In Season Training – 163 In Season Conditioning – 165 About the Authors - 167

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Introduction
Most high school strength coaches are football coaches first, teachers second, and strength coaches third. This is understandable, but it also makes it difficult to decipher and understand all the training information that’s out there – on the internet, at clinics and through word of mouth in the weight room – today. As a coach, you don’t have time to sift through it all. Don’t feel bad about this, though – full time “professional” coaches can’t do this either, let alone the part timer who’s not getting paid anything extra to be his school’s strength coach. Our goal with this book is to give you and your team the best training program out there – free of the fluff, BS and crap that does nothing but waste your time. There are no gimmicks in this program. As players and coaches, we understand what it takes to play this game, and we’ve watched as training for football has suffered greatly at the hands of both tradition and “science.” Unfortunately, fault can be found with both approaches. All the sophisticated speed training in the world won’t help you if your athletes are fat and can’t perform a chin-up. All the gassers in the world won’t help you if your athletes are too weak to press their way off the ground. This book was written to give you the best of practical experience and science. Both of us were average athletes who performed at higher levels simply because we worked

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harder at our physical preparation. That’s what made us better football players. There’s tremendous wisdom in failure and grit, and good coaches and teachers are the ones that had to struggle to be good. Both of us, at one point or another, were players that everyone gave up on, and it’s that “failure and grit” that we both had to endure in order to get better. This is why we believe we’re qualified to write this book. We’ve done it. We’re among the scrappy few – or many – who had to run more, lift more and learn the game better in order to earn an extra minute or two of precious field time. As lifters and former players, we highly recommend that you, as coaches, begin training hard. Your players will look up to you, you’ll earn their respect instantly, and you’ll become a better coach and person. You’ll be stronger and you’ll be in better shape, and those are two things that have never gone out of style. If you want to be better at everything in life, start NOW. Stop reading, put down this manual, and get going. NOW. As for questions, exceptions and substitutions to this program, we don’t have any. What we’ve put on paper is what has worked for us and what we think is best. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t have recommended it. Before you ask us any questions about how to substitute “this” for “that,” or how this program would work for you if you trained for more days or with a different split, give what we’re telling you its due and work this program into the dirt. Lastly, we’ve both coached extensively and we know what you’re going through – and what you’re embarking on in your

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preparations for the season to come. Getting this program right is hard work. It’ll take some experimentation on your part, some serious study, and a good measure of brutally hard toil and struggle to make this thing run. We know, however, that it’s been done, it’ll continue to be done, and that you can and will make it happen. We wish you the best of luck.

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Weight Room
Most high school weight rooms have neither the amount of equipment nor the space to accommodate the optimal lifting of an entire program. This doesn’t necessarily preclude you from running an effective strength and conditioning program, but in order to do some of the things we’ll be suggesting later on, it’s a good idea to get some sense of what you’ll need in terms of equipment requirements.

Maybe your budget will cover the purchase of some of this equipment. With our economy in the shape it’s currently in, it’s more likely you’ll be asked to make do with what you already have. This is fine, provided you’re aware of the alternatives you have available for some of the movements and drills we’ll talk about later in this manual.

If you’ve just taken over a program recently, the need for alternatives and substitutions takes on even greater importance because the chances of getting new equipment purchases added to your budget are slim. It took one of us three years of coaching to get one piece of equipment – a Glute-Ham Raise – approved for purchase. The bad news here is that we didn’t have a Glute-Ham Raise for three years. The good news is that we executed a dramatic turnaround with our program – 0-8 to 7-3-1 – without a having this piece of equipment in our weight room, so it can be done.

The point here is that a program can be run efficiently – and even optimally – without the benefit of the latest state-of-the-art strength training equipment. The key is

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knowing how you want to structure your team’s training in a big picture sense, and then knowing as many alternatives and substitutions as you can for each facet of the program you’ve put together.

With that said, the purpose of this chapter will be twofold. First off, it will provide you with something of a “wish list” in terms of what equipment to focus on if your budget allows for purchases. Next, as stated above, we want to let you know that this chapter is only a wish list. It would be optimal to have each piece of equipment we’ll be talking about here, but it’s not necessary, per se. For example, if all you have are a handful of bars and some plates, you’re an Olympic lifting program, and there’s no way around it, because that’s the optimal way to train with what you have. So learn to teach your athletes how to clean and snatch. If you don’t have any equipment at all, you’re a bodyweight exercise team, and you’re going to have to make it work.

Obviously, you’ll need enough barbells and plates to accommodate a large group of athletes working simultaneously, and you’ll need rack of dumbbells going up to at least 80 pounds.

With that said, here’s a list of things an ideal weight room would have:

Power Racks: In terms of efficiency, safety and sheer ease of use, there’s no substitute in your weight room for the power rack. And the more of these you have, the more you can get done. Two of the main weight room exercises in this 9

program are the bench and the squat, and the power rack is the ideal arrangement for both. For efficiency, no single piece of weight room apparatus can be used for more movements than the power rack. If you have racks, use them. If you have a budget for buying new equipment, make this your top priority.

While price is always going to be a big priority, always adhere to the motto, “Buy nice. Don’t buy twice.” The use and wear on a power rack, especially in a high school setting, is incredible. Not only do you have the hundreds of athletes that are supervised using them, but you have to account for the kids and faculty that will use and abuse your racks without your consent - and few people can wreck a power rack or any piece of equipment faster than a high school freshman. It’s amazing what harm a weak kid can do.

There are plenty of companies who will lure you in with a cheaper model, but you’ll always get what you pay for. A good way to save money on a quality rack is to get it without weight storage. In many cases, you can buy a quality 7.5 foot rack without weight storage for well under a thousand dollars. Using weight trees to hold the weights for each station is incredibly cost efficient.

Benches: You’ll need a sufficient number of flat bench stations for multiple groups to train the bench press at the same time. These can be dedicated bench stations – a bad idea, which we’ll address in a moment - or they can be individual flat benches you put inside power racks. If they’re adjustable to various inclines, this is

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advantageous, but it’s not a necessity – and can even put your program at a disadvantage, as you’ll see below.

From a space perspective, a dedicated bench station is not efficient. These take up the same space as power racks yet can only be used for one thing: bench pressing. If you already have these, see if you can sell or trade them in to get the money to buy more power racks. There are many high school gyms that have 2 power racks, 3 benches and 2 incline benches. This is a huge waste of space. Getting rid of the incline and bench presses would allow you to fit five more power racks in your weight room. Placing a dumbbell bench inside each one of them would now give you seven complete stations that you can squat, bench press, chin (if you have a chin bar in the power rack) and perform any number of movements in. Now you can accommodate four athletes per power rack (that’s 28 kids at one time), and your workouts can move much faster.

Most people will try to get a 0-90 degree incline bench for their stations, but this is usually overkill. Unless incline pressing is huge priority in your training, don’t even bother. A quality flat bench can run you under $300, while the same 0-90 incline bench will cost you well over $500. Plus, most 0-90 incline benches are not very well made. They are sub-par inclines and sub-par flat benches. Do yourself a favor: get a quality flat bench and save some money.

Glute-Ham Raise: The finest gift a strength coach can give an athlete is a set of hamstrings, and the best hamstring exercise ever invented is the Glute-Ham Raise. We’ll go 11

into alternatives for this piece of equipment later in the strength training section of this manual, but if you have the budget for one or more of these, we’d advise you to pull the trigger. Get your athletes on an intelligent GHR regimen, and you’ll notice immediate dividends in their speed, agility and strength levels.

Dip/Pull-up Bars: Dips are the best assistance exercise we’ve found for the bench press, and there’s really no substitute for pull-ups (and/or pull-up variations) when it comes to lat and “pulling” strength. We’re advocates of sticking with the basics when it comes to assistance exercises, and it doesn’t get any more basic than dips and chins. Pull-up bars (and the old Soviet-style “stall bars”) can and should also be used for a variety of hanging ab exercises.

Many companies are offering chin and dip stations that can be added to their power racks. This is a great way to save money and space. Chin bars will attach directly to the rack and often have multiple grip options. Dip stations can be added and removed from the power rack with ease and stored near the power racks. Add both of these options to your power rack and your kids will not have to leave the rack stations for most of their workouts. This is a huge time and money saver.

45-Degree Back Raise: This piece of equipment provides a simple and effective means of strengthening – in conjunction with, or as an alternative to, the GHR – the athlete’s lower back and hamstrings. Many weight rooms already have this bench in one form or another, but because 12

it’s not glamorous or “sexy” enough, it’s ignored. If this applies to you, dust it off and start using it.

If possible, this can be substituted by getting a GHR with a split pad. Now you can use the GHR for back raises and glute-ham raises without the discomfort of crushing your genitals. Again, we can now use the glute-ham raise for lower back work, hamstring development and even abdominal training as a Roman chair.

Medicine Balls: Medicine ball work is vital for explosive strength training, conditioning and warming up. We’ll cover the various uses for medicine balls later in this manual, but we suggest having on hand a variety of sizes – from 4-6 pounds up to 20 pounds.

Dragging/Pushing Implements: We suggest dragging and pushing sleds – or whatever else you can reasonably drag or push – for a number of reasons. Drag or push for conditioning, recovery, warming up, or for positionspecific drills. The weight of what’s being dragged or pushed will vary depending on what you’re trying to accomplish, but having such implements on hand is very important.

The best thing about using dragging sleds is that their use is very easy to teach. Everyone knows how to walk. Sled dragging for lower body development is idiot-proof. This is also a great way for you to train the lower bodies of athletes that have trouble getting a quality leg workout due to poor form or mobility when teaching the squat. Plus, there is something primal and fun about loading up a 13

sled and pulling. Not only does this give you strength, but it will add some fun into the workouts. Challenges with the sled are always a morale booster and can add some competitiveness and camaraderie to your weight room.

Jump Boxes or Platforms: You essentially need something to jump on and off, and whatever you use needs to be both adjustable and safe. We’ll get into jump training and what it does in a later chapter, but whatever your athletes are jumping on needs to be both sturdy and padded at its front edge in the event of a missed jump. We suggest cutting 1” thick mats into multiple squares to adjust the heights to which your athletes will be jumping.

High Jump Pits: If your school has a track team, chances are you have a couple of these around. You should be using them on the field as a teaching aid for tackling instruction (player to player contact without hitting the ground), but they’re also a great tool for some of the plyometric and medicine ball drills we’ll be covering in later chapters.

Bands and Chains: Bands are extremely useful for a variety of assistance exercises, but we don’t really advocate their frequent use with your athletes’ main exercises (assistance work is a different story). The reasoning behind this is simple:

Accommodating resistances are a good idea on paper, but the practice has been popularized by strong individuals who all use equipment. The popularity of chains and bands has spread throughout the powerlifting world, and lifters have 14

had great success with them. We’ve seen LOTS of athletes and regular lifters shit the bed with them, though, and this is for one main reason:

The strength curve for athletes/regular guys is heavy at the bottom and light at the top, so they need more low-end work. The strength curve for geared lifters is light at the bottom and heavy at the top, so more high-end work is needed.

Using chains/bands on a raw lifter will lower the use of bar weight and THUS lower the amount of weight that’s used at the bottom of a lift. Hence, the strength curve is all screwed up and not suited for a raw lifter.

There are some definite positives, though. The best thing that bands can add to your program is the elimination of the necessity of having an expensive pulley system in your weight room. Lat pulldown machines, cable crossover machines or large Jungle Gyms (cable crossovers with multiple lat pull and low row stations) cost a lot of money and take up room – all for some simple exercises that aren’t even basic movements! Bands can be used for triceps work, assisted pull-ups, lat pulldowns, low rows, good mornings, pull-throughs, and rear delt work – and they can all be stored in a bucket or on the power racks. This is by far the biggest space and money saver in the weight room.

Stopwatches: Every coach in your program should have a stopwatch around his neck at all times. It’s that simple. If you see a coach without one, make him go get one. When it comes to football training, it’s vitally important to 15

time all work intervals and rest periods, both on the field and in the weight room.

Other items you may consider are: Jump ropes, Blast Straps, TRX Straps or a set of gymnastics rings, dedicated box squat boxes, chalk, safety squat bars, rackable cambered bars, chains, tow straps, measuring tape, heart rate monitors, and an assortment of high-quality lifting belts. Also, you might want to consider the importance of collars to secure plates at the ends of barbells. Ideally, every rep of every set will be coached and spotted so the bar stays even, but if you’ve ever been in a high school weight room, you’ve seen some bizarre imbalances and lifts with extremely poor form. It’s important to coach this out of your athletes, but in the mean time, invest in several sets of collars.

No matter what you put in your weight room, the most important thing is to get the items that make YOUR program complete. Whether or not you follow this training program or something very different, it’s important that your weight room fit your philosophy. If you have a choice in designing your own weight room, take a moment and write down the workouts you would like to have your kids do. Now take into account the space you have and begin building it.

Summary

One of the big hurdles coaches have to compensate for is unsolicited input from other sport coaches and the school’s general population. Without exception, these people rarely use the weight room, but seem to want their input taken 16

seriously - and the equipment they want will usually take half the budget. Machines such as leg extensions, leg curls, chest presses and other cable setups run in the thousands of dollars and take up valuable space. Compromises will have to be made, but fight like hell to get your team and your program the weight room they deserve. The inefficiency of these items is apparent, and this must be expressed intelligently and calmly to the athletic director or whoever is going to have the final say. The success your program has will be in direct proportion to your influence, so you’re going to have to make do with what you have. A good coach, however, can make a great program from nothing, so you must be creative.

And winning doesn’t hurt either.

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Annual Plan
We talked a lot about what we wanted to say in this chapter, and how we wanted to lay things out. We decided to write this disclaimer AFTER we’d written the entire chapter, as an introduction to the material we’re presenting here. First of all, for want of a better way to say this: DON’T FREAK OUT. If there’s something here that you don’t understand, read it again. It’s NOT that complicated, and if you pay close attention to what we’re saying, the different workouts don’t vary THAT much from month to month. The shell, or skeleton, of the workout sessions remains the same. We’re presenting a lot of information here so you can understand the thought process involved, not to confuse you. If all else fails, just remember this: to the outside observer, the structure of the individual workouts will look nearly the same from month to month.

Rationale

Most coaches we talk to don’t think in terms of an annual plan for their teams. They’re either thinking week to week – or even workout to workout – or they simply do the same things in the weight room every week until the season starts.

Things are done for different reasons during each part of the year. We’ll get to this. What’s important for now is that you, as a coach or an athlete, always keep your eyes on what’s important: using all the tools at your disposal

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to either become a better football player or, if you’re a coach, to create better football players. Numbers in the weight room mean absolutely nothing if they don’t transfer to the field. We’ve both seen guys who couldn’t lift crap in the weight room go out and wreak havoc on the field. We’ve also seen “workout warriors” who can bench and hang clean 500 pounds go into games and get tossed around by guys who can play the game and know about leverages.

Ask University of Pittsburgh strength coach Buddy Morris, and he’ll offer up Hugh Green as an example. Green, a three-time All American at Pitt, was one of the best linebackers in the history of college football. He won the Walter Camp Award, the Maxwell Award and the Lombardi Award, was drafted seventh overall in 1981 by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and spent ten years in the NFL – where he was selected to play in two Pro Bowls despite several major injuries during his career.

According to Coach Morris, Hugh Green’s all time max bench press was 315 – and this was during the era where...let’s just say testing for “ergogenic aids” wasn’t exactly at the top of the league’s priority list. In other words, Hugh Green simply knew how to play football, and he knew how to exploit leverages against bigger, stronger guys.

The primary goal of your strength and conditioning program is to make your athletes better football players. Getting them stronger and getting them more mobile will assist you in doing this, but again, the first thing we want to caution you not to do is to hang your hat on lifting numbers. If all things remain the same, and an athlete gets 19

stronger, chances are he’ll become a better player, but his ability on the field is your first marker, not his numbers in the gym.

Training for sports really comes down to two things: mobility and strength. Are you mobile enough to get into the proper positions for your sport? Are you strong enough to hold these positions and move from them explosively, efficiently and with purpose? Think about that for a second and consider a defensive lineman. Does he have the lower body mobility to get into a proper stance that will make him effective? Does he have the strength to hold this position during the offensive audibles? Can he fire from his stance in a low position while keeping his head up? this movement strong and explosive? Can he punch through the offensive lineman and rip through the block while keeping his hips square to the line of scrimmage? Is he mobile enough to stay low and keep his ground while fighting to get movement? Is

Every position on the field has different scenarios, but they all revolve around these two things: strength and mobility. Think about that when you’re reading this manual and when you’re designing your program.

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Planning

With that said, we’ll address annual planning. December is usually a wash for most coaches, because by the time your team has taken a few weeks off to recover following the season, the holiday break is on you and you usually won’t have access to your team until the beginning of January, so that’s likely where your plan should begin. From there, you’ll generally have about 30 weeks until mid-June, where you’ll hopefully be able to have the entire team together for your summer pre-camp program.

Things change somewhat if you live in a state whose football programs have spring practice. Spring practice for high school football programs usually falls during March, April or May. This means you have anywhere from 12-16 weeks of general preparation time before your football-specific practices take over, and your general weight room sessions take more of an in-season tone.

Remember, however – and we can’t stress this enough – that the main goal here is to make your athletes better football players no matter what your schedule involves. To do this, you need to get them strong and mobile enough to efficiently get themselves in football positions and hold them until their assigned task is accomplished.

As an overview, it’s wise to move, as the year progresses, from the general, to the general-specific, to the specific – at least in terms of what you’re emphasizing. This is a rather broad view of things, because you should be working on specific football skills and drills year-round as part 21

of your programming. You’ll only move to primarily football-specific programming during spring practice and when camp starts in late July or early August – in which case you’ll be transitioning to an in-season strength and conditioning program.

Keeping Track of Stresses

Even at the high school level, your most important job as a strength coach is to keep your athletes healthy. Even when injuries have nothing to do with your program, when kids miss practices and games with non-trauma injuries, the coaching staff will put it on you. It’s almost taking the Hippocratic Oath as a physician: “First, do no harm.”

The way to “do no harm” is to make sure you keep track of the various stressors that affect your athletes. Think of the entire layout of your strength and conditioning program in terms of the different biomotor abilities necessary for success as an athlete (the “5 S” list): Strength, Speed, Stamina, Skill and Suppleness (flexibility). Your athletes start their workout cycles with a finite amount of “gas in the tank,” so when you expend half of what’s in there on one biomotor ability during the course of a workout – a particularly brutal squat session, for example – there’s really only half a tank left for the rest of it, so you have to be careful how you program the remainder of the session.

You also have to know how they refuel this tank. The Central Nervous System (CNS) is the gas tank, and in most 22

cases, it really only regenerates from hard sessions every 48 hours. In other words, if you have your athletes perform a brutal squat workout on Monday, they won’t be “refueled” again until Wednesday at the earliest, so taxing the crap out of them again on Tuesday is pointless because they won’t be able to go full speed. When one thing goes up, another thing has to go down. It’s that simple.

The Plan

That may seem a little convoluted, so let’s simplify things and explain how this actually works in practice. First off, strength is the main building block of any successful program. Get your athletes stronger, and all sorts of good things will happen. It doesn’t work the other way around. If an athlete improves his performance in a footballspecific drill – linebacker drops, for example – it won’t do anything for his numbers in the weight room. Bring up his squat, however, and there’s a good chance he’ll be able to move his body a lot faster, increasing his potential to move very quickly in his football-specific drills. The stronger you are, the better you’ll move, so start your off-season program with an emphasis on improving your overall team strength. We’ll cover exactly how this is done in a later chapter.

As the year progresses, we certainly don’t de-emphasize strength, but in order to improve the other biomotor abilities, the volume of our non-strength related activities will increase. So, if we’re tacking on 15 more minutes of linear speed work, those 15 minutes, generally speaking, need to cut into that hour of strength work – as 23

opposed to being added to it. That’s what we mean by keeping track of, and accounting for, stressors. You don’t have to account for these stressors strictly in terms of time (this is simply an example) – this is done more along the lines of how much you’re stressing your athletes’ nervous systems – but as a coach, you have to pay attention to how the different things you’re inflicting on your athletes are interrelated. Everything affects everything else. It’s your job to keep your eyes open and figure out how.

For most football teams, January through June would look something like this (any unfamiliar terms will be covered in later chapters, so when we lay out the different aspects of the plan and what these terms mean, you can come back to this section with more clarity):

January to Spring Practice: The first plan in the programming section of this book is an 8-week programming cycle designed to take you from the beginning of the year into spring practice (if your school runs spring drills). If you don’t run spring drills, either take a deload week or proceed directly to the “Going Into Summer” plan.

This initial cycle concentrates heavily on the compound lifts – the bench, squat, trap bar deadlift and power clean – along with a heavy dose of bodyweight exercises designed to improve hypertrophy and muscular cross-section along with improving your players general biomotor abilities: speed, strength, stamina, skill and flexibility. You’ll introduce the basic dynamic warm-up and ease them into

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direct speed work, jumps, throws and football specific work.

Spring Practice: If your program runs spring drills, this training cycle allows you to plan out an almost in-season two weeks of lifting where stresses are accounted for and lifting volume and intensity are toned down to allow for the exponentially greater volume of football drills.

Going Into The Summer: This is the period that follows spring drills while your players are still in school. It changes up the training a bit, while still accounting for the (still) limited time you’ll have with them. Weight room volume is decreased, speed work – direct speed work, jumps and throws – is increased, and things begin getting a more specific leading into your summer program.

Pre-Camp Summer Program: This six week period is when you’ll have the most time with your players and the greatest player participation, since your athletes will neither be in school – in most cases – nor playing another sport. Weight room volume will continue to be regulated, while speed work and football-specific work will take precedence – although you should continue to think, in the weight room, in terms of getting everyone in your program stronger.

Training Camp/In-Season: We address our thoughts on inseason training in detail in the programming chapters of this book. Suffice it to say that you should still think of your in-season training – from August until December – as a training “block” or cycle just like any other part of the 25

year. You’re going to train differently – less weight room sessions using decreased volume – but it’s still a training cycle and you should still have specific goals you want your players to accomplish – namely, recovering, getting stronger, and becoming better athletes.

Summary

Again, the general idea here is to start thinking in terms of annual – and even, in some cases, multi-year – planning for your program, as opposed to simply thinking about what you can accomplish in the short term. Each month of the year has a specific mission that needs to be accomplished, and each of these missions fit together to get you closer to the main goal of any good strength and conditioning program: to make your athletes better football players by getting them stronger, more mobile, and better conditioned.

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Workout Structure
No matter what your primary focus happens to be in a specific workout session, it’s vitally important that you put some thought into why certain things are done at certain times during the course of a session. There’s a progression which, if followed, we and many others have found to be the optimal way to order a workout. This progression 1 applies primarily to your off-season training, but the concepts we’ll discuss here can be applied to your football-specific practices once your season starts, if you so choose.

Warning: Perhaps the worst thing you can do as a coach is to fall for all the gimmicks you’ll see in the industry today. Weight training isn’t easy, but it’s simple. Developing a strong, functional body isn’t easy, but it’s simple, and the fundamentals of doing so haven’t changed in a hundred years. A well thought-out, organized and properly executed regimen of free weights, full range movements and jumps/throws will outperform and outlast any overly complicated program or gimmick out there.

It’s definitely easy to be swayed by hype and exorbitant claims, but think about this. Some of the most strong and explosive athletes in the world come from the throwing events in track and field – athletes who are all big, strong, fast and mobile. These athletes perform basic movements. They train with racks and benches in – in many
1

Supertraining, Mel C. Siff, Supertraining Institute, 2004

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cases – very Spartan gyms. Gimmicks will cost a lot of money, but they’ll offer few, if any, benefits. Nothing will ever replace basic hard work in the weight room, so don’t fall victim to the claims and hype of people trying to separate you and your program from your money with false claims of greatness.

After years of experience doing things both the “old” way and the “new” way, the order we’re going to suggest to you has been highly effective in developing all the biomotor abilities essential for football players.

1. Warm-up: This, of course, is the obvious beginning to a session, but what do we really want to accomplish during a warm-up? In some cases, depending on your psychological approach to a specific practice session, you’ll want to get your athletes mentally prepared for what’s to come. In every case, you want to prepare their bodies for the stresses of workouts and practices in both a general and specific way. We’ll cover this in the next chapter.

2. Football-Specific Work (Skill Development): This type of work comes first, with a fresh CNS, because we’re looking to learn, rehearse, refine and perfect the specific skills necessary for the sport. There’s a time and place for doing football drills under conditions of fatigue, but in the off-season, when the emphasis is on learning and perfecting, it’s best to do this kind of work with a relatively untaxed CNS, at “full speed.”

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3. Linear Speed: The idea, simplified, with linear speed development, is to have your athletes moving as fast as they can with full recovery, so linear speed development is performed toward the beginning of the workout. Too many coaches treat their speed work as conditioning work. You wouldn’t expect a kid to squat his personal best after doing multiple sets of 10 reps with limited rest times, so don’t expect your kids to get faster if you don’t give them TIME to get faster.

4. Jumps/Throws: Since explosive jumps and medicine ball throws are best performed under the same conditions (a relatively untaxed CNS) as the first two segments of this program following the warm-up, they, too, should be drilled in a non-fatigued state. The idea is to jump as high or far as you can (or as many times as you can in a given timeframe), or to throw a medicine ball as far or as hard as you can – and then to do each drill faster, longer and harder the next time out. This requires near-full recovery of your athletes’ CNS.

5. Lifting: It may seem odd to see weight room work listed 5th in a football “strength” manual, but there’s sound reasoning behind this placement. First of all, remember that your athletes are football players, not powerlifters. Secondly, the stresses incurred from the first four steps won’t impact lifting – especially maximal strength lifting – nearly as much as lifting will affect all of the steps we’ve suggested performing before going into the weight room. If you’re doing a good job of keeping track of and 29

accounting for stresses, this won’t be a problem, and doing a decent volume of football-specific, speed, agility and explosive work before lifting won’t have as great an effect on your athletes’ lifts as you think it will. In fact, studies and experience have shown that such work will actually improve your athletes’ lifts.

6. Conditioning: The use of the term “conditioning” in this context is a catchall, because there are various forms of “conditioning” necessary to make up the whole of a football player’s program. Again, we’ll cover this in a later chapter. There are certainly times when it’s appropriate to put your athletes in various states of fatigue. For off-season work, it’s generally a good idea to save this for the end, so the biomotor abilities that require full speed and a fresh CNS are not adversely affected.

7. Recovery/Stretching: Once a session is over – as soon as a session is over – your athletes are now in recovery mode. You don’t want to put them through an intensive conditioning session and then simply send them to the locker room. Encourage effective recovery and restoration with a brief cool-down period, followed by a session of static stretching – or other more advanced means if you have them at your disposal - before they’re dismissed.

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Important Programming Note

Take note of the fact that your time with your players during any given practice session or workout is limited. With football-specific work, speed work, jumps and throws, it’s important to the process that your players be fully recovered between rests, because this kind of work needs to be done as quickly and as forcefully as possible. With that said, the reps you program are going to seem somewhat low, simply because you can’t sit around all day waiting for your players to recover.

For example, the suggested full recovery time between two 20 yard sprints is 2-3 minutes. If you’re going to do this ten times, followed by full recoveries between sets of jumps, med ball throws and football drills, that’s a serious time commitment that has to be factored in. Note, in the programming section of this manual, that as the volume of your sprints, jumps and throws is increased, the volume of your team’s lifting will decrease. This is partly due to the need to account for stresses, but it’s also due to the time considerations you’ll undoubtedly be facing as a coach.

Summary

Events, or aspects of a workout, that require motor learning or the production of maximal force, speed, or explosiveness should be performed in a relatively nonfatigued state for optimal results. With each aspect of your program, remember what the goal of that individual

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timeframe happens to be, and stick to that goal, because everything your athletes do affects everything else.

In fact, as stated earlier, doing the football intensive drills, speed work, jumps and throws first will have a positive effect on your athletes’ lifting. Not only will their central nervous systems be ready for a great lifting session, but you’ll need less of a warm-up in the weight room. Their bodies are warm and their mobility is going to be at its peak. This is essential for doing full range movements in the weight room.

The thinking that these things are going to negatively affect your lifting is a paradigm that you’re going to have to erase. While strength training is a huge portion of developing a football player, it’s not the only thing. Allowing the weight room and chasing numbers in the weight room to dominate your program is a surefire way of being a one-dimensional coach.

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Warm-up
When the head coach of a program asked one of us to design a warm-up for the team, he was looking for two major characteristics:

1. We needed a warm-up that could be duplicated under any circumstances, whether it was performed before practice, before games or before workout sessions.

2. We needed something that had a set time limit. Some of the dynamic warm-up programs you’ll find online and elsewhere are comprehensive, but they’re simply too long to be practical. This head coach wanted a progression that covered everything in 20 minutes, no questions asked.

We’ll get to what “covers everything” means later in this section, but we want to relate a quick story that’ll illustrate some of the difficulties you’ll encounter when you try to design and implement a quality warm-up for your own program.

“When I was asked to do this, the first thing I did was to make a list of the movements I thought were essential, and I put them in the order I believed they should be done. After that, I went out to the field with a stopwatch and performed the entire thing, timing each individual movement in order to give myself a better idea of what to keep and what to take out. Once I did this, I was left with a solid

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20 minute warm-up plan that I believe met all the criteria laid out for me by my head coach.

Once this was accomplished, we decided to hold a meeting about it. The “too many meetings” problem is something about which I have a lot to say, but it’s probably beyond the scope of this book, so I’ll just present this story as evidence of my thoughts on the matter. Just suffice it to say that we had a long, contentious meeting about what we were going to do for a warm-up. Given these circumstances, I’m sure you can imagine how ridiculous things became whenever we tried to install something new on offense or defense.

We all sat down in the meeting room, and I stood up in front of the dry erase board and presented the warm-up movements one by one – even going so far as to get down on the floor and demonstrate and explain the purpose of each individual movement. When I was finished, the JV head coach raised his hand to speak.

“I can’t do this warm-up,” he said, his voice full of conviction.

“Why not?”

“There’s no butt kicks. I can’t do this warm-up if there’s no butt kicks. Why don’t you have butt kicks?”

This coach had a moderately successful career as a Division II running back, and went on to explain to us why butt kicks were responsible for every successful thing he’s ever 34

done in his life. As he went on and on (and on), I sat at the conference table with my head in my hands, thinking, ‘Does it really have to be this hard?’”

As we talked about in the chapter on equipping your weight room, you’re going to get crap from everyone about every aspect of your program, and the design of your prepractice/pre-game warm-up is no exception, so be prepared to defend yourself against the onslaught. What we hope to do here, however, is to present the characteristics of a good warm-up, to give you the movements your athletes should perform, and to arm you with the knowledge you’ll need to 1) know why you’re doing these movements, and 2) justify the warm-up you’ve designed to the committee of “experts” who’ll try to explain why you’re wrong.

Basic Principles

A solid warm-up comes in two parts: the general part and the specific part. These two parts do two different things. The term “warm-up” comes from the general part, when you’re eliciting changes in the muscular system to prepare for the work you’re about to undertake. The general part of the warm-up entails a series of general calisthenics and stretches (both static and dynamic) designed to prevent injury by expanding the range of motion of cold muscles and joints.

The specific part of the warm-up serves a different purpose. The idea is to “prime the pump” of your central nervous system (CNS) in a manner specific to the type of exercise you’re about to do. If you do it this way, it 35

fires up your CNS in a very specific way, and it’ll play a very large role in enhancing your athletes’ performance in whatever part of the workout follows the actual warm-up.

Even if you don’t do things in exactly the way we’re laying out here, you should still take care to think of your warmup in these terms – from the general to the specific. Too many coaches don’t take this seriously enough, and as athletes, we’ve all been there: playing for the coach who, on a freezing cold day, thinks it’s enough to tell the entire team, out on the field before a game, to bend over and touch their toes for 30 seconds. First, consider the reasons for each movement. Then, consider the order you’re putting them in. Think long and hard about each of these aspects and the warm-up virtually designs itself.

Static vs.Dynamic?

In our experience with designing warm-ups, we’ve found that there are two schools of thought. The first school is all dynamic. These are coaches and trainers who believe that static stretching has no place in a pre-workout, prepractice or pregame warm-up. “Old-school” static stretching, they claim, takes all the tension and stretch reflex out of muscles, ligaments and tendons, rendering them weaker and more prone to injury. On the surface, this seems to make a lot of sense, but experience has shown us otherwise.

The second school of thought believes too much in static stretching, acting as though football players should be out

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on the field contorting themselves like Hindu snake charmers before every workout.

So where does the answer lie?

Somewhere in the middle, as usual. In Bob’s first year of coaching, the warm-up he designed was completely dynamic. We didn’t static stretch at all, and we paid the price for it with a rash of pulled hamstrings and groins. The following year, we decided to make the warm-up a mix of dynamic movements and static stretching as described below, and guess what happened?

That’s right, no more injuries. Take that for what it’s worth when you’re trying to decide which of these camps you’re in. Our advice to you is to start your own camp, right in the middle.

The Warm-up

The following progression is an ordered sequence of movements that effectively serves both purposes mentioned above. Your team should be able to complete this progression in approximately 20 minutes. Once we’ve laid out all the movements we’re suggesting, we’ll go over some of the potential hazards you’ll face in setting up and implementing your warm-up with your own program.

Prelude: We start everything out by getting the kids in two straight, even lines and having them run a lap around the field – or, in pre-game – around half the field. This concludes by running through or around the near goalpost, 37

then streaming into their warm-up lines, which are spaced out on the field such that each player has a 5 yard by 5 yard zone in which to move.

1. 3-Way Jumping Jacks (10 repetitions each):

a. Flings: Dynamically stretches the shoulders, chest, groin and hips. These are done in a fashion similar to jumping jacks. The beginning of the fling has you starting looking like a "star" i.e. your hands are straight out to the side and legs are held wide. From this position, cross your right arm over your left and your right leg over your left. Go back to the "star" position and reverse the process. b. Seal Jumps: Start in the same position as a Fling, but instead of crossing your arms and legs over, your feet will be together and your hands will be clapped, straight out in front of you with your arms extended, at the top of the movement. c. Jumping Jacks: Done in the conventional manner.

Why: This series of jumping jacks, done correctly, is a great low-intensity complex of movements to start off your warm-up. It serves to raise core temperature and dynamically stretch the shoulders, chest, groin and hips, setting the stage for the more intense movements to follow.

2. Bodyweight Squats (10 repetitions): Interlock your hands over your head. Or don’t. It doesn’t matter. Just get your feet about shoulder width apart and do the equivalent of a parallel squat. This is great for 38

increasing core temperature and initiating an increase in range of motion for the hips, knees and ankles.

Why: These continue to increase core temperature, and they initiate an increase in the range in motion for the hips, knees and ankles.

3. Low Pogo Jump (2 sets of 5-10 seconds): With your toes upturned (dorsiflexion), knees and elbows slightly bent (hands in front of you), simply jump up and down, initiating ground contacts as fast and frequently as you can from the start of the drill to the finish. Imagine jumping rope without a jump rope, and you’ve got it.

Why: Increases core temperature, stimulates CNS, increases range of motion in ankles and knees.

4. High Pogo Jump (20 repetitions): Same concept as low pogo jumps, only this time, you’re getting more height on your jumps. Both forms of pogo jumps are great for beginning to stimulate the CNS.

Why: Increases core temperature, stimulates CNS, increases range of motion in ankles and knees.

5. “Breakdowns” (10 repetitions): Begin with feet together, standing erect. On the “breakdown!” command, drop quickly into the athletic “breakdown” position – feet slightly wider than shoulder width, knees bent, lower back slightly arched, head up, and with your weight on the balls of your feet. From here, you’ll jump back into

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the starting position and drop back into the breakdown position to perform one rep.

Why: Increases core temperature, stimulates CNS, develops and reinforces a football-specific motor pattern.

6. Forward Lunge (10 repetitions each side): Everything is performed at 90 degrees here in terms of knee flexion. Head and chest should be up, and hands should be in a natural position similar to how they’d be if you were taking a running stride with that particular leg.

Why: Raises core temperature, stimulates CNS, increases range of motion in entire lower body and lower back.

7. “Down!” Command: Entire team hits the floor, “up-down” style, finishing in the bottom position of a push-up.

8. “Over!” Command: Entire team rolls over to a supine position (on their backs).

9. Supine Leg Kicks (10 repetitions each leg): One leg at a time, dynamically kick your leg (held straight) as far as your hamstring flexibility will allow. The heel of the inactive leg should be anchored to the floor.

Why: Dynamically stretches the upper and lower insertions of the hamstring muscles – the areas typically at risk for the most serious pulls and tears.

10.Supine “Hold It” (15-20 seconds each leg): Hold leg behind knee (or hold toe) and pull straightened leg as 40

far as you can, resisting slightly with the affected muscle group (hamstrings). This is a static hamstring stretch.

Why: There are two ranges of motion (ROM) you want to address in a warm-up: 1) The active range of motion, which entails the positions your athletes can get into on their own. This is increased by dynamic stretching. 2) The passive range of motion, which entails the positions your athletes can get into through manual (external) placement or the pull of gravity. The passive ROM is increased through the use of static stretching. This particular movement is a static stretch for the hamstrings.

11.V-Sit Rollover (10 repetitions): Roll back onto upper back, then back down, with legs in a “V,” and reach forward as far as possible at the bottom of the movement. Repeat.

Why: This is a dynamic lower back and hamstring stretch, done at this point in the warm-up because your athletes will be positioned on their backs.

12.Seated 3-Way V-Sit Static Stretch (15-20 seconds each position): Perform this one exactly how it sounds. Reach to each foot with the opposite arm and hold, then reach to the middle with both hands.

Why: This is an old-school static hamstring and groin stretch, and it’s an effective continuation of the static and dynamic hamstring stretches you’ve already performed.

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13.Hip Crossovers (10 repetitions each side): With knees bent and pulled toward your chest, and your arms out the your sides, palms down, in a “T” position, turn your hips from right to left, trying to touch the ground with the leg on the side you’re turning toward. Try to keep your knees locked together here, and your shoulders on the floor.

Why: This is a dynamic stretch that targets the hips and lower back. The ability to turn the hips effectively is crucial for football players at every position, and this movement promotes mobility in the region.

14.Piriformis Stretch (15-20 seconds each side): Cross one leg over the other, figure-4 style. With one hand on the outside of your bent knee, and the other hooked under your ankle, lean forward and pull your knee and foot toward your chest.

Why: The piriformis is a muscle in the gluteal region of your lower body – essentially, it’s an ass muscle. Tight piriformis muscles cause lower back, knee and sciatica pain. Static stretching of the piriformis will increase the ROM of the entire hip region.

15.“Over!” Command: Entire team goes back to the bottom position of a pushup to await the next command.

16.Cobras (10 repetitions each side): Begin on your stomach with your arms outstretched. Bend your left leg and try to sweep across your body and attempt to touch your right hand. Repeat on the opposite side. 42

Why: This is a dynamic stretch that promotes mobility in the hips, the torso and the quadriceps muscles.

17.Hip Circles (10 repetitions each way for each side): This is a tremendous exercise for hip mobility. Get on all fours – hands and knees. Keeping your leg bent, move your entire leg in a circular pattern. Try to get a large ROM during this exercise and be sure to do it forwards and backwards.

Why: Again, hip mobility is crucial for all speed, power and change of direction movements in football. This is a series of dynamic stretches designed to increase hip mobility.

18.“Step Forward” Hip Flexor Stretch (15-20 seconds each side): From the all fours position, lunge forward with your back knee on the ground. Position your forward foot past your forward knee. Place your hands on your hips, or raise the same hand as the side being stretched over and behind your head. Straighten the hip of your rear leg by pushing your hips forward. This is a static hip flexor stretch.

Why: This is a static stretch for the hip flexors. Once again, as a football coach, tight hips are your enemy.

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Dynamic Mobility Drills

The second part of the warm-up involves a series of drills designed to be done “there and back” over a distance of 20 yards. The idea is to have the entire team in a series lines across the width of the field or gym floor, with everyone starting from the same line. You have three options for starting each movement: on the coach’s whistle, when the player in front of you reaches the 10 yard mark, or have a designated player call a cadence. The third option, having the team go on cadence, seems to pacify most head coaches in terms of convincing them that these drills have utility in a football sense.

Players pass the finish line to the right (their right) of the line, then go to the back of the line. The first player in line takes his turn again when the last player in his line has finished his trip.

Why: Most of these dynamic mobility drills are selfexplanatory. During the course of a football game, players will run, scrape, side shuffle and backpedal. The purpose of the “high knees” aspect of these drills is to continue to increase the active ROM of the hips. These drills will also continue to raise your athletes’ core temperatures to a point where they’re ready for the more CNS intensive work to follow.

1. 50% Run: Simple “not a jog, not a sprint” run.

2. A-Skips: A basic, rhythmic skip, bringing the knees as high as possible at the top. 44

3. Side Shuffle: Shuffle to the side in an athletic football position, with head and chest remaining at one level, and without allowing your feet to either click together or cross.

4. High-Knees “Alley” Run: This is a sideways run that simulates a linebacker’s scraping motion, except each forward stride (when your knee comes across the body) will be made by kicking your knee as high up and across as you can.

5. Running A’s (Don’t Pass Me’s): You’ll need a coach to pace these. He’ll be doing a slow walk (this can be anywhere from 5 yards to all 20), while the athletes pick up and put down their feet, running in place as fast as possible (with high knees) without passing him.

6. Backpedal: Butt down, head up, back straight, “nose over toes.”

Summary

This warm-up isn’t set in stone. We designed it so that one exercise easily segues into another, making it more efficient time-wise. You may want to add exercises, subtract them, or do things in a different order. If you remember the “butt kick” story that opened this chapter, you’ll understand that it doesn’t matter all that much what you do as long as you have a solid mix of dynamic and static stretches followed by dynamic mobility movements.

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Football-Specific Work
Let’s reexamine the main point of this manual, which was covered in the chapter on annual planning. The primary goal of this or any strength and conditioning program is to make your athletes strong enough to get into football positions and hold them, and mobile enough to explode out of them and make plays. You’ll notice here that we still haven’t said anything about getting them “strong enough to bench press 400 pounds,” or “fast enough to run a 4.4 second 40.”

The point here is to improve your athletes as football players, and the only way to see whether what you’re doing in the weight room or elsewhere is transferring is to actually get them on a football field – or, in some cases, a gym floor – and watch them play football. And the only way they’re going to learn how to play football in your system – and then learn how to play football with speed – is to perform drills and movements specific to what they’ll be doing on the field.

This may be stating the obvious, and you’re probably thinking, “Yes, that’s why we have practice.” That’s not what we’re talking about here. The concept we’re trying to get across is that football-specific work should be thought of as a major, major part of the off-season workout plan as a whole.

Let’s take linebackers as an example. Once a linebacker has the basic fundamentals of a solid stance, tackling and hit and shed technique down, what’s the first thing they’re usually drilled on? In our experience, it’s their trigger

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step – the first step a linebacker takes out of his stance based on the direction he sees his key moving. This, of course, can be different depending on the program, because a linebacker in one system can be playing an entirely different position as a linebacker in another system, even if he’s lined up in a similar position on the field.

Regardless, this is a good example of what we’re talking about here. Let’s say you’re coaching two linebackers, one of whom has mastered the trigger steps for your system, and one who hasn’t. The first player is going to take the correct first step most of the time (hopefully), and he’ll take a direct line to his assignment. The second player’s first step will be a “false step.” This false step will require a series of corrective steps when he realizes he’s made a mistake. By the time he’s righted himself, the player who didn’t false step will already have three or four steps on him toward his objective, and so will the ball carrier. The receiver he’s assigned to cover will also have a 3-4 stride advantage toward either getting open if it’s man coverage, or getting open in the incorrect linebacker’s zone before the correction can be made.

If the correct player runs a 4.7 in the 40, and the incorrect player runs a 4.5 but is spotting the correct player four strides in a 10 yard race, who’s going to win?

This is an easy, obvious, football-specific example, but it should serve to drive home the fact that it’s essential to integrate football-specific drills into the workout program itself – and not treat this kind of work as existing independently from the workout sessions you’re performing. 47

You can’t just “train like animals” and hope it carries over.

The question then becomes one of how this is best accomplished. The first thing to consider is the placement of the football-specific sessions within the workout as a whole. In the off-season, we believe it’s best to do this work first. Performing these drills with a fresh CNS makes for an optimal learning environment, where players are able to perform their assigned tasks at full speed, and at full recovery. In the off-season, much of what you’ll be doing in your football-specific sessions will be new material for your athletes, and the best way to develop new motor patterns – or to learn new skills – is in a non-fatigued state where all the athlete needs to concentrate on is the acquisition of the new skill.

What you want to do, when teaching a new skill, is to get to a point where your athletes are performing this skill as fast as possible. Take wide receivers as an example. Let’s say you’re teaching them a series of release moves. You want to first teach them exactly what they’re supposed to be doing, then get them to do it fast. If they’re doing this in a fatigued state, they won’t be going their fastest. You need them in a state of untaxed CNS, where they can take their steps faster and faster every time out – with full recovery – in order to increase their actual game (competition) speed. Again, there’s a time and place to do football drills in a fatigued state – and to use football drills for “conditioning” purposes – but this isn’t it.

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When you’re trying to decide exactly what to do, this is when you have to actually be a coach. Every system is different – even down to the level of the stances you’ll want your players to assume and the first moves they’ll make out of these stances. With that said, we’ll offer some guidelines on how to construct the drills you’ll be using in your off-season football-specific periods. Later on, in the programming sections, we’ll offer examples of what we’re referring to in this chapter.

Guidelines

1. Examine your system. Put some serious thought into what it is your players actually do on the field within the context of your system. If you’re a triple option team, and your playside receiver is cracking on 75% of your plays, take that into account and don’t have them running skinny post one-on-ones for this entire period. Work them on stalking and cracking and whatever else they’ll have to do, in the proper proportion to what they’ll actually be doing in game play situations. If your offensive linemen punch, teach them how to punch. If they don’t, don’t waste your time. Develop a series of drills that echoes what you’ll need them to do on the field, in a very specific sense.

2. Specificity. To add to point #1, you can’t be specific enough in this football-specific period. Your general work takes place in the weight room and with the other aspects of the program. This period is ENTIRELY specific to football skills, strategies and tactics. Teach,

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coach, and implement the things you need into your system. Turn your athletes into better FOOTBALL PLAYERS.

3. Focus on the purpose of the period. The same concept applies to every individual segment of this program. The purpose of the 15-30 minutes – or whatever you deem appropriate – you’ll be devoting to football-specific work is football-specific work. DO NOT TURN THIS PERIOD INTO A CONDITIONING SESSION. This is especially applicable if, as we suggest, you’re doing a wide variety of work afterward. We’d rather see a player do 5 high-quality reps of a movement at this point than 15 reps in a fatigued state, because doing things in a fatigued state with both hinder his ability to learn and perfect new motor patterns AND tax his CNS – which will adversely affect the work that follows.

4. Make it a progression. Start your athletes off from the most basic elements of what you need them to learn, then progress from there every day. Take defensive backs, for example. First, you’d teach them their stance, and you might take an entire football-specific period to teach them the first backpedal step out of a stance. The following session might be devoted to simply teaching them how to backpedal. The one after that would incorporate the first two components, then teach change of direction and break techniques. Remember, the overriding factor here is to teach each position to do things as fast and explosively as possible.

5. Make drills reactive. Once you’ve taught your athletes the basic motor patterns and techniques necessary in 50

your system, you’ll then devise drills – or use preexisting ones – to simulate game situations. Our advice to you is to make these drills reactive, as opposed to pre-programming movement patterns. When you’re deciding which drills you want to use, ask yourself what the drill has to do with the actual technique of the sport. When, in the course of a football game or scrimmage situation, will a player be asked to sprint to a cone and perform some pre-set move, or maneuver his way through an agility ladder with his head down? He won’t. He’ll be reacting to an outside stimulus, then acting on this reaction. Train this reactive ability. Don’t preprogram.

6. Make Drills Competitive. This has been said a thousand times before, in a thousand different ways, and it’s a huge part of the infamous “atmosphere vs. programming debate,” but it’s 100% true. Athletes need to compete – both so they can cultivate their competitiveness and to stave off the boredom of a long, occasionally tedious off-season. In other words, setting up your off-season workouts in a competitive manner will make them more fun for your athletes, and they’ll end up working a lot harder for you.

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Summary

We can tell you how to get your players faster and stronger, and we can tell you how to set up your workout plan, but we’re not about to tell you how to play or coach football. As a coach or a player, that’s up to you. The football-specific section of your strength and conditioning program is where you take our guidelines, plug in what you already know about the game, and coach. We can’t tell you what system to run – although we both have strong opinions on the subject. That’s 100% up to you, and so is the actual content of what you’ll be doing during this period.

By adhering to the guidelines we’ve given you here – by concentrating on a progressive, competitive sequence of reactive drills that align with the on-field goals of your program, you’ll be well ahead of the game in terms of your off-season preparation.

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Linear Speed
Technique

When you’re thinking about linear speed considerations for your team, put a game tape into your DVD player or VCR and watch how often – and for how far – your athletes actually run straight ahead during the course of a game. A long, linear run will happen occasionally – the vast majority of the time this is done by skill position players – but what you’ll find, on most plays, is that your athletes will run for a set number of yards (usually ten or less) before they’re forced to change direction. They’ll have to cut, jump or make a football play before either stopping the forward movement action altogether or starting again.

Now, some coaches advocate this approach – the short sprint approach – for the entirety of their running and conditioning programs. “My guys don’t have to run more than 20 yards at a time during games,” they’ll say, “so we don’t have them run more than 20 yards in practice.”

While we agree that “top end” speed isn’t as vitally important for most football players as it is for, say, Olympic 100 meter sprinters, we also don’t agree with the repeated short sprint approach, at least in terms of conditioning. We’ll get to this in a later chapter.

What’s important to think about with linear speed is the length of the average football play. Time-motion studies indicate that the length of the average play is at least 6

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seconds. The average football player can cover a 10 yard sprint in less than 2 seconds. This begs the question, “If most guys are only running 10 yards during a typical play, what happens for the other 4 seconds?”

Assuming a player begins a play with a 10 yard sprint – and this is certainly a faulty assumption in most cases – he’ll be changing direction, initiating and avoiding contact, and doing all sorts of other things during the course of these 4 seconds. In some cases, he’ll even begin a second (and even a third) sprint action in order to make a play, and a handful of times during games, he’ll have to break on a play and assume top speed for distances far longer than 10 seconds, and in most cases, he’ll be starting these sprints from something other than an ideal sprint start position.

Think about this for a minute in terms of how we judge how fast our players are. Most times, when we’re talking about speed, we’re judging this by how fast a player is in a 40 yard dash performed under ideal conditions where the player is permitted to assume a fundamentally sound sprint start position and run the prescribed distance with no distractions, impediments or changes in direction. If the athlete has been trained properly for this test, his running mechanics will be perfect from the time of first movement.

What happens, however, during a game, where a player will be asked to start a linear sprint from some awkward position? What if he has to get up off the turf and run down a ball carrier? What if he’s shedding a blocker,

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taking two off-balance lateral steps, and then going? What happens then?

Given these circumstances, your first consideration for linear speed development is to make sure the player’s mechanics are sound as early in that particular sprint as possible. In other words, he can be starting out from a completely awkward position, but if he’s strong enough and can control his body well enough to explode out of this position into a fundamentally correct first sprint step, it will take him far less time to run to a play than the player who can’t control these factors and takes two more awkward steps before assuming proper form.

Form Coaching Points

As a football coach or a strength coach, nobody’s expecting you to have the technical prowess of an Olympic sprint coach, and you likely won’t have time to break down the biomechanical form of 40+ athletes when you’re all together on the field. Here, however, are some things we look for when we’re talking about “assuming correct form” as quickly as possible during football plays. •

The athlete should be relaxed when accelerating. If they’re tight and rigid, their movements won’t be natural, and running will look like hard work. It shouldn’t.

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Athletes should be leaning forward at almost a 45-degree angle, with a straight line coming down through their head to their extended back leg.

Arms and shoulders should be square to the direction in which they’re running, with no appreciable rotation of the trunk, with their elbows bent at a 90-degree angle. Their hands, in this position, should be moving from their hips to shoulder height.

Their weight should be on the balls of their feet for the entire acceleration phase, with their toes pointed in the direction they’re going. At the “top,” again, the athlete’s body should be a straight line from head to rear (extended) leg, with high knee drive from the forward leg in line with the direction he’s sprinting.

When a player assumes top speed – which will happen rather infrequently during games – the “forward lean” position gradually turns into a more erect stride, simply because the player is not capable of running any faster at that instant. The transition from acceleration to top speed should be a smooth, natural one, and it will be for most athletes if they remain relaxed and square to the line on which they’re sprinting.

Teaching

How do we teach this? More importantly, how do we teach players how to assume the correct sprinting positions from

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the awkward positions they’ll find themselves in during practices and games?

First, get them stronger. This is why, in your annual plan, you’ll be emphasizing overall “total body” strength before you start increasing volume in the other segments of your program. Athletes need to develop the ability to control their bodies. That’s what we mean when we say, “strong enough to assume and hold football positions, and mobile enough to explode out of them.” You’ll notice that the first part of this quote refers to strength. You can’t explode out of a position if you’re not strong enough to get into it in the first place.

Part of getting stronger entails increasing lean body mass and dropping fat. This isn’t a nutrition book, but there’s no way around this. Think about it. If you have a race between a strong, muscular 200 pound kid and a weak 200 pound kid who’s really a 130 pound kid carrying 70 pounds of fat, who’s going to win? It’s not even going to be close. When you’re thinking about getting your kids faster, spend some of your time considering their body composition. The excess weight isn’t helping them.

Now, once we’ve spent some time getting them stronger and building up a good base of overall body strength, especially in the posterior chain (hamstrings, lower back and “core”), we can think about the various ways of developing and emphasizing proper acceleration form. We do this in two ways:

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Hill Sprints

The best way to teach proper acceleration form is simply to put an athlete at the bottom of a hill and have him sprint up. The hill in question shouldn’t be too steep – just enough of a gradual grade to make an athlete lean forward in order to hold his form without slowing him down. You essentially can’t run wrong on a hill – either you assume the proper acceleration lean, or you’re going to fall flat on your face or fall backward. It’s that simple. We usually run through our first few weeks of linear speed workouts on a hill for this reason.

Sprint Starts from Various Positions

We’ll start players out in the following positions in order to teach and emphasize the proper acceleration lean and “straight line” extension necessary in the crucial first 10 yards of a sprint. Notice that both of these positions require the player to begin the run with this lean.

1. Falling Start: Start with one foot forward and one foot back, with your weight on the balls of your feet and your arms in “mid stride” position. Free-fall forward as far as you can before losing control, then simultaneously drive your back knee up and forward explosively and extend the leg that stays on the ground.

2. Push-up Start: Start at the bottom of the push-up position, with your entire body flat on the ground. The first movement is to drive one leg up into your chest, with your weight on the ball of that foot. You’ll 58

simultaneously push yourself up and drive into the sprint from here, attempting to achieve full extension on your first sprint step. This drill will allow you to see who needs to get stronger, because and explosive progression from the first move to full extension requires a high degree of total-body strength.

3. Sprints from Various Football Positions: You’ll obviously be working on this more in the footballspecific portion of your program, but once you’re familiar with coaching the above technical progression, you can make your sprint sessions more football-specific (and specific to your program) by having your players sprint from positions they’ll be sprinting from in games. A word of caution here – this doesn’t mean putting your linemen in three point stances and having them run 20-yard sprints. That’s just stupid. In this section, I’m simply referring to drills like having your wide receivers sprint out of release moves, or having running backs sprint out of a stance to simulate meshing with the quarterback. Don’t go crazy with this. If you’re not comfortable with what you’re prescribing, save it for your football-specific periods and use your linear speed sessions to concentrate on linear speed from more “conventional” start positions.

Central Nervous System Considerations

We discussed the placement of linear speed work in the daily schedule in the chapter on individual workout planning. The purpose of this next section is to give you

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some guidelines on how often to train linear speed, and how much volume to prescribe in your individual sessions.

As discussed earlier, linear speed is a CNS-intensive activity, meaning it taxes the central nervous system. Your athletes will need at least 48 hours of recovery between CNS-intensive sessions for their central nervous systems to regenerate and be relatively untaxed and “fresh” again. In other words, you can’t train linear speed every day, and more is not always better. In fact, when it comes to the frequency of your linear speed sessions, more is definitely NOT better. This is why, when you see our suggested templates, we recommend performing your linear speed work twice per week – three times, tops – on your CNS-intensive lifting days.

When you perform this sort of work too frequently – every day, for example – your CNS becomes fatigued. With a fatigued CNS, your nervous system simply doesn’t work as well. The mechanisms by which your muscle fibers are activated are impaired, and the abilities both to learn new motor patterns and to perform movements at top speed are severely limited. In other words, you can do linear speed work with a fatigued CNS until the cows come home, and your team won’t get any faster.

The solution? Rest, recovery, regeneration, and close monitoring of the volume of work your players are doing.

Now, how do you know how much work to prescribe in a daily session? This is where linear speed work gets a bit tricky, because this will differ for just about everyone on your 60

team. Our general rule on this is simply that volume will increase every week until a deload occurs (every fourth week) – so the volume, for the most part, is waved. How do you know what this volume is? You don’t. This, once again, is where you have to actually coach. Here are some guidelines for establishing the amount of sprint volume you have your players perform.

1. Everyone is an individual. Some athletes will be able to do more CNS-intensive linear speed work than others. This is because their work capacities are more highly developed, for whatever reason. It’s also the reason why we can’t simply prescribe some cookie-cutter template for this kind of work. Some athletes will simply be able to tolerate more of this work than others before their CNS’s are completely shot.

2. Learn, first, when enough is enough. When form breaks down, you’re done. It’s that simple. Let’s say you prescribe five 10’s, at 100% intensity, with full recovery, but on the 3rd sprint, a player’s form completely breaks down. He’s done, and you’re not getting anything else out of his linear speed work in this session, so it’s time to move on.

3. If they’ve gone somewhere they haven’t been before, don’t take them further. If you’re timing your players, and someone sets a PR at a given distance, shut him down. He might not be tired or hurt physically, but I can guarantee you his CNS will eventually feel the effects of doing something he hasn’t previously done – in this case, exceeding 100% of his “max.” There’s no 61

sense in compounding this problem by risking injury when you’re not in a competitive setting. This is why Olympic 100 meter sprinters don’t set world records in preliminary heats. They’re conserving the bullets in their CNS guns.

4. Don’t use resisted running devices. We don’t sprint players with parachutes, and we only use sled-resisted running for various forms of conditioning with certain positional players. Think about this. With something CNS-intensive like sprinting, the idea is to get in the ideal “straight line” acceleration lean position as quickly as possible. When you add a random external resistance like a parachute, you’re hindering the ability to get into this position quickly. When you force the athlete to compensate for this you’re creating new motor patterns that aren’t present in the actual performance of the sprint. This negatively affects sprint mechanics to the point where it serves to actually slow the athlete down when he goes back to sprinting without resistance.

Summary

There were two main concepts discussed in detail in this chapter: sprint mechanics and central nervous system considerations. Like anything else, speed work should be taken, in the context of your annual plan, from the general to the specific – and in this case, specific means teaching your players to hold football positions and explode out of them as powerfully and efficiently as possibly, time after time after time. 62

Jumps and Throws

Simply put, the arts of jumping on boxes – or over hurdles, or anything else – and throwing medicine balls explosively are the primary reasons why we don’t advocate the Olympic lifts as the major focus of this program.

Think about something for a second. When you grab a barbell and snatch, clean or clean and jerk it, you certainly do have to be explosive to progress to heavier weights and get the bar up. We won’t argue this point, and we do actually program the power clean as part of our off-season training.

Even though you need a significant explosive component to perform these lifts correctly, however, there’s a deceleration – a slowing down of the barbell, whether it’s conscious or unconscious – phase where you have to slow down, otherwise the barbell is going to fly right out of your hands. This is what happens when you complete a lift. You go into the “catch” position – either in the rack phase of a clean or at the top of a snatch – and the barbell has to be under control, otherwise you’re going to lose it and either damage your equipment or hurt yourself.

Now, think about jumping onto a box or throwing a medicine ball as hard as you can. Is there a deceleration component there? With jumps, if you’re trying to achieve a challenging height, there certainly isn’t, because all you have on your mind is getting off the ground explosively enough to make it where you need to go. The same holds true 63

for broad jumps, hurdle jumps, depth jumps, bounding, or anything else you want to prescribe. With explosive medicine ball throws, what’s holding you back there? You’re taking a weighted ball and trying to move it as fast and as far as you can, are you not?

Both of these techniques work explosive strength in a highly effective manner without the hassle of teaching the Olympic lifts to 30-40 kids, most of whom don’t have enough control over their bodies to learn to execute them properly without getting hurt.

Jumps
The most basic jump in our jump progression is a simple two legged box jump. In order to do this, you obviously need something to jump onto. This should be a sturdy, stable platform or set of platforms that, ideally, you could adjust in height in one or two inch increments from about 18” to 50”+, although unless you’re dealing with superior athletes, you’d be fortunate to have one or two players each year – or decade, quite frankly - who can jump onto a 50”+ box at the high school level. To adjust your heights we suggest purchasing 1” thick rubber matting and cutting the pieces to fit whatever you’re jumping on.

When your athletes start performing jumps in excess of 80% of their max jump height, there’s a risk of injury, and you want them landing on something that won’t slip out from under them. Rubber matting suits this purpose nicely. You’ll also want a box of an intermediate height that

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athletes can use as a “step down” box. The initial jumps they’ll be performing won’t entail jumping down yet – that’s an advanced movement – so you’ll want to make sure they can simply step down after completing a rep.

A quick word about spotters...

The one thing you have to do as a coach is stay on top of your athletes and make sure they know how to spot the various movements their teammates will be doing. When a football player finishes a lift, or a jump, the first thing he’s doing is thinking about the outcome of what he just did. If he did it successfully, he’s happy and thinking about that. If he failed, he’s angry, and he’s dwelling on it. What you need to do is establish a system by which players do two things. 1) They need to automatically move to an assigned spotting point once they finish a movement. 2) Then need to pay attention once they’re there.

To spot a box jump, we usually have one player standing on each side behind the athlete who’s taking his turn. That way, if he falls either backward or to one side, his teammates are ready to catch him and prevent injury. We also suggest padding the front top edge of whatever they’re jumping on. You don’t want your athletes taking risks by jumping to challenging heights on unpadded wood or concrete platforms. This is a disaster waiting to happen.

In our experience, there’s no hard and fast rule as to how far or close to stand from the box when you’re trying to execute a jump. This is instinctive. The best thing we can tell you is to stand to the side and watch your athletes 65

set up in profile. You’ll just know the correct jump angle – again, instinctively – and you’ll be able to move them up or back accordingly.

Technique

The main idea, starting with your feet in the prototypical shoulder-width position, is simply to descend quickly, roll to the balls of your feet, and jump onto the box. Arm swing should be utilized, and all the momentum it generates should be thrown into the “flight path,” or angle you’re taking in order to land on the box. Don’t slap your feet down on the box. Land softly, on balance, and absorb the force. This will help reinforce good balance characteristics and begin to teach your athletes the allimportant skill of force absorbtion.

Box Squat/Box Jumps

I don’t think anyone’s sure what the proper name for these are, so this is what we’re calling them. With this one, what you’ll be doing is taking a box that puts you slightly above a parallel squat, sitting on it with an arched and tight upper and lower back, and exploding off into a box jump onto a higher platform. This is a box jump variation that can be used once basic box jumps are mastered.

Reactive Jumps

When you’re training your athletes in any kind of speed or agility work, you want them to develop reactivity. What this means is that you want the time their foot is actually 66

on the ground to be as short as possible. The shorter the duration of ground contact, the faster an athlete is going to run, cut and react.

Depth jumps are a type of reactive jump. With depth jumps, what you’re doing is jumping off one platform, hitting the ground with a solid base, then taking off again onto a higher platform. The first platform doesn’t need to be very high, because you don’t want the athlete to gather himself for the second jump. This first ground contact should be as short as possible. The athlete, even though he is being asked to absorb force in landing, then generate force to take off again, will essentially be bouncing. That’s essentially how it should look. If this is not the case, the athlete is either not at a high enough level of preparation, or the starting platform is too high. Choose a platform of a reasonable height to make ground contact as short as possible.

Box Jump + Off

If you have access to a high jump pit, position it behind your box jump platform and have your athletes, upon landing their initial box jump, reactively jump again and land safely (flat on their backs) in the high jump pit. This is another reactive jump drill designed to shorten ground contact.

Hurdle Jumps

If you have them, place a series of hurdles of moderate height, spaced reasonably close together, and have your 67

athletes bound, double-legged, over them in series. Once athletes have reached an appropriate level of preparation – through strength work and learning to box jump – this is a great drill to improve reactivity.

Why: It’s been said many times that vertical jump height and box jump height directly correlate to faster sprint times. This is not the case, and this has been disproved many times by sport scientists and sprint coaches. When an athlete improves either of these jumps, there are other factors in play, and sprint speed is not directly connected. The athlete, for example, could have changed his body composition, allowing him to both jump higher AND run faster.

The thing to examine is the time of the ground contacts. That’s how jumping helps. In order to run or change direction, the athlete first needs to absorb force, and then he needs to produce it – and this needs to happen FAST. If he’s not strong enough to do this, he won’t be fast. It’s that simple. Work in the weight room, and work with basic box jumps, will make your athletes stronger. Advanced work such as depth jumps, hurdle jumps and bounding will develop the biomotor ability to shorten ground contacts.

A Word on Proper Box Height

How do you know how high of a box to use? This is fairly simple. The first thing you need to know is an approximate max for the player. Let’s say his highest box jump is 40 inches. In our experience, any box jump of less than 80% of 68

your maximum height is not explosive and doesn’t require the kind of effort necessary to heighten explosive strength. Therefore, find your athletes’ maxes in the box jump, then work with heights at 80% and above.

Medicine Ball Throws
In our experience, medicine balls are essential for success in any football program. To be perfectly honest with you, we’d be tempted to give up our power racks before we’d give up our medicine balls – almost, anyway. That’s how important we believe they are. They’re absolutely essential in building explosive strength for both the upper and lower body, they’ll make your athletes faster, and you can use them in a variety of other ways – in your warm-up, for conditioning purposes, for abdominal exercises, and for position-specific drills. In fact, we can directly attribute our medicine ball routine to the ability of our players to deliver a blow – an ability that we believe stems directly from our use of explosive “chest pass” style throws.

Technique

The idea is to explode out with the ball and throw it as far as you possibly can. There’s no holding back with these movements. There’s no limit on how far you can throw – other than your own capacity for throwing – and the object of the game is to throw the balls as fast and explosively as you possibly can. With that said, you don’t want your athletes using medicine balls that are too heavy for them.

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Generally, balls between 6-16 pounds should be appropriate for this purpose, with most players utilizing balls between 8-12 pounds. If you’re looking to order these for your team, you wouldn’t go wrong by ordering fifteen 8-10 pound med balls.

Also, the type of medicine balls you purchase can be problematic. You don’t want hard rubber ones that roll, because with explosive throws, you’ll end up chasing the ball down the field every thirty seconds. Leather balls are good for this purpose because they don’t roll. However, if your players are doing these drills on the field – where they should be doing them – and they’re wearing cleats, they’ll end up stopping the balls with their feet and tearing them open after a while. We’ve had to enforce the “no stopping med balls with your cleats” rule with a vengeance.

Additionally, you want to mentally condition your players not to try to catch thrown medicine balls – at least on throws executed with large amounts of force. They’ll try, and you’ll have a yearly broken nose as a result if you don’t crack down on this immediately.

Once you’ve got the equipment, partner your players up for these drills. If you’re short on med balls, you can even go three and four-way on these. These are full-go, full speed efforts, so your players, especially at first, won’t need tons of reps to get the desired training effect.

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Half Squat Throw Beginning in a half-squat position, with the ball held evenly – chest-high, as though preparing the throw a basketball chest pass – in your hands, simply fire your hips and glutes and throw the ball as far as you possibly can. This entails throwing the ball at roughly a 45-degree angle, as though it were being shot from a cannon. Ideally, your momentum will pitch you forward into a broad jump at the conclusion of this throw.

Box Squat Throw This is performed using roughly the same motion as the half squat throw, only you’re ascending from a slightly above parallel box. Again, your momentum should pitch you forward after the release of the ball.

Box Squat Dive Throw Set up a box such that a high jump pit is about two feet or so in front of it. Start from the box, with feet at shoulder width or slightly wider, in the same position you used for the box squat throw. This time, instead of pitching forward, you’re going to explosively throw the ball at a 45-degree angle and follow it through the air, landing in a full, laid-out dive in the high jump pit.

Broad Jump Throw From the same starting position as the other throws, perform a standing broad jump. When you land, reactively jump again, simultaneously chest passing the medicine ball as far as you can. Do not gather yourself for this second jump. As with all depth jump or bounding movements, you’re

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looking for your players to have the shortest ground contact time possible.

Double Broad Jump Throw This is performed the same way as the broad jump throw, only you’re adding a second jump – jump, jump, THROW! Both broad jumps should be as far as possible, with minimal ground contacts, and again, the final jump should be executed at the same time as an explosive throw.

Kneeling “Coil Drill” Throw This drill has excellent sport-specific transfer for offensive linemen. From a kneeling position, with the ball in chest pass position, simply throw the ball as far as you can, again at a 45-degree angle. Your momentum when the ball leaves your hands should land you face down in a pushup position. Catch yourself with your hands, push yourself back up, and await your partner’s throw.

Depth Jump Throw This is executed the same way a conventional depth jump is – a step off a platform, followed by a quick absorption of force and explosion (the throw) – except instead of jumping onto another platform, you’re landing with both feet and throwing the med ball as hard and as explosively as you can.

A Word on Chest Pass Technique

When coaching your players in the proper throw-release technique for these drills, you’ll find that a lot of them are conditioned to play basketball, and they’ll throw the 72

med balls at first like they’re shooting jump shots. In order to throw a medicine ball as far as you can, you need to use two hands. When the ball is released, the hands should be even, with the palms turned over, thumbs down, facing the outside.

How Much is Enough?

Take a snapshot, in your mind, of an athlete in profile launching a medicine ball at a 45-degree angle. Picture the ball sitting on his fingertips, just about to be released. This is the position you should be watching for when you’re coaching. The athlete should be in a straight line from the tips of his fingers all the way down to his toes. If he’s not – his back is bent like a question mark, or his knees are still flexed – one of three things is happening. Either 1) He’s using a medicine ball that’s too heavy for him, or 2) He’s not strong enough to perform this step in the progression, or 3) He’s done.

The same applies to box jumps. In just about any full speed CNS-intensive movement, we know the athlete is finished when there is a breakdown in his form. If you’ve prescribed a set of 10 box jumps at a certain height, for example, and your athlete completes the set but just barely clears the height on his last three reps, those last three reps – and maybe more – were not effective for what we’re looking to do with this period. They were conditioning jumps, rather than explosive strength jumps. Although it’s admirable that the athlete perseveres and completes all the prescribed reps, he did so in a fatigued state, and these reps will not be effective in increasing either his explosive 73

strength or his reactive ability. Again, these drills need to be performed at full recovery.

How to Prescribe Programming

There’s no magic number for either jump drills or medicine ball throws. Some of your players will barely be able to perform one rep of any of these movements. Others will be at a more advanced level. All of them, we can assure you, will eventually experience a breakdown in form at some point during the period. We suggest starting with your own “magic number,” except in the form of a highly conservative baseline number that will be increased weekly. Trust us, it’s better to start too low with these drills than too high.

You’ll see this later on in the programming templates, but after you’ve made an assessment of what you’ve got in terms of athleticism, set a number for the first week, i.e., “Today we’re going to start with 2 sets of 3 box jumps, and 2 sets of 10 medicine ball half squat throws.” You can work up from there. This initial number may be a bit arbitrary, but if you’re increasing volume each week – while still operating under the multiple biomotor ability scheme laid out in the chapter on annual planning – you’re eventually going to come to a point in your programming where something has to give. In other words, if you keep increasing the volume, you’ll eventually know, instinctively, when they’ve had enough.

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Summary

Olympic lifting is a useful discipline, and nobody is arguing its merits for the development of speed, power and explosive strength. However, there is more than one way to skin a cat, and there’s more than one way to do it with a group of 30+ trainees of wildly varying levels of preparation. Not everyone can clean and snatch, but everyone with at least one arm and one leg can jump and throw.

Chapter Appendix: Jumping Rope

In the developmental stages of a football player’s career, one of the best friends he can possibly have is a quality jump rope, and he’d be advised by both of us to carry the thing around in his back pocket if he can. Jumping rope, for a variety of reasons – coordination, footwork, agility, GPP, reactivity, etc – is one of the best things a football player can do, and we encourage you to implement this type of work into your program as aggressively as you can.

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Conditioning
Being in shape to play football isn’t a matter of talent. It doesn’t take talent to get in shape. It takes effort – and effort and a solid work ethic can be built in the weight room, on the practice field and wherever else you condition your athletes. The recipe for success in football is a simple strength program and getting your kids in shape – and the only way you can give your team a chance to win is to get them strong enough to kick ass in the first quarter and in good enough shape to keep kicking ass in the fourth quarter.

If you’re a high school coach, you’re not choosing your team. Rather, your team is given to you based the area in which your athletes’ parents choose to live. Your job is to build the athletes you’ve been given, and the talent pool you get each year is largely based on the population of your school and the popularity of football in your area. If football is big in your community and your school has a large enrollment, you’ll have a bigger and better selection of athletes. If you coach in a rural area or a place where football isn’t emphasized, you have a bigger challenge on your hands. Either way, you simply have to take what you’re given and make it work.

With that said, there’s no excuse for your team to be out of shape. There are, of course, genetic limits to your athletes’ strength and speed. This isn’t a popular statement, but if you’ve coached or played sports, you know it’s true. This, however, doesn’t mean you should

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deemphasize building strength and speed. These are two of the main qualities in sports that determine winners and losers.

Let’s also be very clear about our goals with strength training here. The goal with your football team should not be to develop X amount of 300 pound benchers and Y amount of 400 pound squatters. Your goal should be the improvement of the individual and the improvement of the team as a whole. If you take a raw athlete and improve his squat from 185 to 300, you’re going to have a faster, stronger and more confident football player. You’re also going to have a believer, and that something that can’t be measured in tangible terms.

Philosophy

Over the years, we’re sure you’ve heard a lot of “coaches” espousing the dogma that football doesn’t require extensive conditioning – that plays only last a few seconds, after which you jog back to the huddle and rest for 90 seconds. What’s clear to us, when we listen to these people speak, is that they’ve neither played nor coached football in their lives. They’re so-called “experts” who only either theorize about training athletes or train very few who actually get on the field and play.

Football is NOT simply a 5-10 yard burst followed by a rest period. Get that out of your head right now before you go any further with this chapter. This game is a battle that involves running, cutting, fighting, scraping, throwing, kicking, punching, swimming, ripping, grabbing, pulling, 77

pushing, shoving, colliding, diving and throwing yourself in front of moving objects. Throw in the fever pitch of emotions athletes will experience, and you have an athlete that, although he seems like he’s in shape during your conditioning drills, is badly out of shape on the football field.

The “short burst” philosophy is theory. The game is reality.

Now, we’re not telling you to throw caution to the wind and simply run your team into the ground. You have to use your head and time things properly. The thing to remember is this: if a player comes to your off-season workouts out of shape, it’s his fault, but if your team shows up out of shape for the season, it’s yours.

Here’s our challenge to you:

Field the strongest and fittest team you can each season. Get your players strong in the basic lifts, get them lean, and make sure they can run. Most importantly of all, instill in them a sense of camaraderie, confidence, humility and an attitude that nobody will ever outwork them. If you do this, it won’t matter what the scoreboard says. You’ll have a team of winners.

Training

We break football conditioning down into three components, each of which is designed to elicit a different training effect. The main things we’re looking for here are fitness 78

in football intervals at game speed, cardiovascular strength and health, and psychological toughness. If you combine these three elements in a football player, you’ll have a kid who can go hard from whistle to whistle for an entire game.

Football-Specific Intervals: What you’re looking for here is to get your athletes to give an all-out effort for the duration of a football play – anywhere from 3-6 seconds – followed by a jog back to the huddle, followed by a 20-30 second rest. You also want them to be able to do this without regularly putting them in a lactic environment – where lactic acid is produced and their bodies feel that burning sensation where they feel like they’re running underwater. There’s a place for these sessions – we’ll get to that below – but as a regular training method, they don’t have much of a place because they take too long to recover from and impede progress.

With that said, it’s wise to start this sort of training with longer intervals in between reps, in order to keep your athletes below their anaerobic thresholds – the heart rate above which lactic acid is produced. Early in the year, these sessions can have rest periods as long as 90 seconds between reps, with the goal of getting this period down to an actual 20-30 second football interval by the time camp rolls around. This conditioning can and should be as closely related to actual football movements as possible – and it can and should be incorporated into practices in the form of specific football drills, so you can be creative with it to suit your needs. Examples of this type of conditioning by position are: 79

Linemen: One-man Blocking Sled Push – Begin in the end zone and instruct athlete to explode out of his stance and drive the sled downfield for 4-6 seconds. Set a time period for this drill (10-15 minutes), set the rest periods as described above, then lessen them every week – generating more quality reps over the same time period.

Receivers: One-man Blocking Sled Jam and Sprint – Have your receivers release in a variety of ways, drive the sled for 2-3 yards, then break into various pass patterns, followed by a jog back to the huddle – using the timed rest period pattern described above. Defensive backs can be added to this mix for one-on-one drills with timed rest periods.

Running Backs: Gauntlet Sled or Sled-resisted Runs - As with other positions, start your running backs out of football positions and have them explode through in game intervals. Periodize rest periods as outlined above.

Linebackers: Trigger, Scrape, Fill, Drive Sled – Have your linebackers begin in their stance, trigger step at game speed, then scrape (alley run), plant and drive a one-man blocking sled for 2-4 seconds. Periodize rest periods as outlined above. You can also run one-on-one drills as outlined above matching outside linebackers with either slot receivers or tight ends.

Entire Team: Sled Resisted Runs or Hill Runs – Your entire team can benefit from both timed sled-resisted runs and hill sprints at game intervals if you’re looking for a less complicated method of football-specific conditioning. 80

Simply have then run for 3-6 seconds, then periodize the intervals as outlined above.

These are just a few ideas we’ve used successfully in the past. Based on the offenses and defenses you run, you have the freedom, as a coach, to be creative and devise conditioning drills that mimic game play as YOUR team will experience it. If you run a no-huddle spread offense, for example, your rest periods on offensive plays can be as short as 15 seconds, so you’ll need to get your team ready for that kind of tempo. Your one-on-one drills will depend on the routes your receivers will be asked to run and the coverages your defense uses.

Perform some variation of these intervals 2-3 days per week.

Tempo Runs

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, we suggest having your entire team participate in tempo runs. These are runs of between 50 and 120 yards, performed at about 70% of their maximum speed, with anywhere from 45-75 seconds between reps. The idea here is not to gas your players out, but to allow them to recover from the previous day’s lifting while helping to make their cardiovascular systems stronger and more efficient.

Here are two sample tempo running templates you can follow. Note the total volume here. The purpose of these runs, again, is not to exhaust your athletes, and they should be fully recovered from these runs on the same day they’re 81

performed. If your tempo runs have a negative effect on your next day’s training, decrease the volume until your team has built sufficient work capacity to complete these circuits and recover on the same day. Additionally, the templates given here tend toward the top end, in terms of volume, of what you want your players to be doing. In other words, they’re adjustable based on what you, as a coach, see with your trained eye.

Linemen (distances in yards, begin rest periods at 75 seconds, then work down each week):

Set 1: 50, 50, 50 (walk back after sets are completed) Set 2: 50, 80, 50, 50 Set 3: 50, 50, 80, 80 Set 4: 50, 80, 50, 50 Set 5: 50, 50, 50

Skill Players (distances in yards, begin rest periods at 75 seconds, then work down each week):

Set 1: 60, 60, 60 Set 2: 60, 100, 60, 60 Set 3: 60, 60, 100, 120 Set 4: 60, 100, 60, 60 Set 5: 60, 60, 60

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“Go Crazy” Psychological Preparation Day:

This day, done once per week, tops, is where “old-school” coaching methods have their place. This is where you can have your athletes seriously get after it – pushing themselves, learning their limits, and learning that their bodies are capable of doing more than the athletes think they can. This is the place for hill sprints, sled drills, 300 yard shuttle runs, burpee circuits, simulated games, and anything else you feel can build their mental toughness and show you who the leaders are on your team.

If you do this, chances are your athletes will be training in a lactic environment – the drawbacks of which were discussed previously. Since recovering from that type of training takes a lot longer, we suggest performing this sort of training on Friday so your athletes have an extra day to recover for their Monday session.

This type of training can – and has been – debated until the cows come home, and the science behind the “don’t train in a lactic environment for football” argument is sound, but in our experience, football players instinctively need this. They need to spend some time in that fatigued area where the mind needs to come to the rescue of the body by either quitting or driving through until the finish. It builds determination and mental toughness, it makes your team more confident when they’ve repeatedly completed difficult tasks, and it lets you, as a coach, know who the leaders and followers on your team are. There’s nothing wrong with being a follower unless your leaders suck, and

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as a coach, it crucial to find out who’s who. This is where it starts.

Programming Templates

Jumps/Throws/Speed – First 8 weeks (Skill)
Week 1 Monday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 10-15 minutes of very basic drills Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery), 5 x 20 from falling start. Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps

Wednesday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 10-15 minutes of very basic drills Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery) Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps

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Friday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 10-15 minutes of very basic drills Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery), 5 x 20 from falling start. Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps

Week 2 Monday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 10-15 minutes of very basic drills Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 5 x 20 from falling start. Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps

Wednesday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 10-15 minutes of very basic drills Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery) Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps

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Friday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 10-15 minutes of very basic drills Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 5 x 20 from falling start. Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps

Week 3 Monday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 10-15 minutes of very basic drills Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 5 x 20 from falling start, 2 x 30 from falling start. Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps

Wednesday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 10-15 minutes of very basic drills Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery) Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps

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Friday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 10-15 minutes of very basic drills Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 5 x 20 from falling start, 2 x 30 from falling start. Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps

Week 4 (Deload Week) Monday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills

Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery)

Wednesday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery)

Friday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery)

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Week 5 Monday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 10-15 minutes of very basic drills Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 5 x 20 from falling start. Box Jumps: 80% x 2 sets 8 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 2 sets 8 reps

Wednesday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 10-15 minutes of very basic drills Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery) Throws: Half Squat Throw: 2 sets 8 reps

Friday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 10-15 minutes of very basic drills Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 5 x 20 from falling start. Box Jumps: 80% x 2 sets 8 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 2 sets 8 reps

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Week 6

Monday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 10-15 minutes of very basic drills Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 5 x 20 from falling start, 2 x 30 from falling start. Box Jumps: 80% x 2 sets 8 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 2 sets 8 reps

Wednesday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 10-15 minutes of very basic drills Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery) Throws: Half Squat Throw: 2 sets 8 reps

Friday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 10-15 minutes of very basic drills Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 5 x 20 from falling start, 2 x 30 from falling start. Box Jumps: 80% x 2 sets 8 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 2 sets 8 reps

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Week 7

Monday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 10-15 minutes of very basic drills Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 5 x 20 from falling start, 3 x 30 from falling start. Box Jumps: 80% x 10 Box Jumps from Box: 80% x 10 Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Box Squat Throw: 10 reps

Wednesday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 10-15 minutes of very basic drills Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery) Throws: Half Squat Throw: 2 sets 8 reps

Friday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 10-15 minutes of very basic drills Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 5 x 20 from falling start, 3 x 30 from falling start. Box Jumps: 80% x 10 Box Jumps from Box: 80% x 10 Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Box Squat Throw: 10 reps

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Week 8 (Deload Week) Monday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery)

Wednesday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery)

Friday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery)

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Jumps/Throws/Speed – First 8 weeks (Linemen)
Week 1 Monday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 10-15 minutes of very basic drills Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery), 5 x 20 from push-up start. Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps

Wednesday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 10-15 minutes of very basic drills Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery) Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps

Friday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 10-15 minutes of very basic drills Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery), 5 x 20 from push-up start. Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps

Week 2

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Monday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 10-15 minutes of very basic drills Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery), 5 x 20 from push-up start. Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps

Wednesday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 10-15 minutes of very basic drills Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery) Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps

Friday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 10-15 minutes of very basic drills Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery), 5 x 20 from push-up start. Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps

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Week 3 Monday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 10-15 minutes of very basic drills Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 6 x 20 from push-up start Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps

Wednesday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 10-15 minutes of very basic drills Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery) Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps

Friday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 10-15 minutes of very basic drills Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 6 x 20 from push-up start Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps

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Week 4 (Deload Week) Monday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills

Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery)

Wednesday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery)

Friday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery)

Week 5 Monday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 10-15 minutes of very basic drills Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery), 5 x 20 from push-up start. Box Jumps: 80% x 2 sets 8 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 8 reps, Kneeling Coil Throw: 8 reps

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Wednesday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 10-15 minutes of very basic drills Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery) Throws: Kneeling Coil Throw: 2 sets, 8 reps

Friday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 10-15 minutes of very basic drills Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery), 5 x 20 from push-up start. Box Jumps: 80% x 2 sets 8 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 8 reps, Kneeling Coil Throw: 8 reps

Week 6

Monday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 10-15 minutes of very basic drills Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 6 x 20 from push-up start. Box Jumps: 80% x 2 sets 8 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 8 reps, Kneeling Coil Throw: 8 reps

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Wednesday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 10-15 minutes of very basic drills Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery) Throws: Kneeling Coil Throw: 2 sets, 8 reps

Friday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 10-15 minutes of very basic drills Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 6 x 20 from push-up start. Box Jumps: 80% x 2 sets 8 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 8 reps, Kneeling Coil Throw: 8 reps

Week 7

Monday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 10-15 minutes of very basic drills Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 6 x 20 from push-up start. Box Jumps: 80% x 2 sets 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Kneeling Coil Throw: 10 reps

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Wednesday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 10-15 minutes of very basic drills Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery) Throws: Kneeling Coil Throw: 2 sets, 8 reps

Friday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 10-15 minutes of very basic drills Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 6 x 20 from push-up start. Box Jumps: 80% x 2 sets 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Kneeling Coil Throw: 10 reps

Week 8 (Deload Week) Monday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery)

Wednesday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery)

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Friday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery)

Going Into the Summer: 9 Weeks (skill):
Week 1 Monday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 5 x 20 from football position, 2 x 30 from football position. Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps

Wednesday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery) Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps

Friday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes

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Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 5 x 20 from football position, 2 x 30 from football position. Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps

Week 2 Monday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 6 x 20 from football position, 4 x 30 from football position. Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Box Jumps From Box: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Broad Jump Throw: 10 reps

Wednesday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery) Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Broad Jump Throw: 10 reps

Friday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes

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Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 6 x 20 from football position, 4 x 30 from football position. Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Box Jumps From Box: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Broad Jump Throw: 10 reps

Week 3 Monday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 2 x 5 x 20 from football position, 2 x 30 from football position. Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Box Jumps From Box: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Broad Jump Throw: 10 reps

Wednesday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery) Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Broad Jump Throw: 10 reps

Friday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes

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Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 2 x 5 x 20 from football position, 2 x 30 from football position. Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Box Jumps From Box: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Broad Jump Throw: 10 reps

Week 4 (Deload) Monday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery) Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Broad Jump Throw: 10 reps

Wednesday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery) Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps

Friday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery)

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Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Broad Jump Throw: 10 reps Week 5

Monday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 6 x 20 from football position, 4 x 30 from football position. Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Box Jumps From Box: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Broad Jump Throw: 10 reps

Wednesday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery) Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Broad Jump Throw: 10 reps

Friday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 6 x 20 from football position, 4 x 30 from football position. Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps

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Box Jumps From Box: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Broad Jump Throw: 10 reps

Week 6 Monday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 2 x 5 x 20 from football position, 2 x 30 from football position. Box Jumps From Box: 80% x 10 reps Depth Jumps: 2 sets 5 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Broad Jump Throw: 10 reps (throws utilizing high jump pit can be used at this time).

Wednesday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery) Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Broad Jump Throw: 10 reps (throws utilizing high jump pit can be used at this time).

Friday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes

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Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 2 x 5 x 20 from football position, 2 x 30 from football position. Box Jumps From Box: 80% x 10 reps Depth Jumps: 2 sets 5 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Broad Jump Throw: 10 reps (throws utilizing high jump pit can be used at this time).

Week 7 Monday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 2 x 5 x 20 from football position, 3 x 30 from football position. Box Jumps From Box: 80% x 10 reps Depth Jumps: 2 sets 5 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Broad Jump Throw: 10 reps (throws utilizing high jump pit can be used at this time).

Wednesday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery) Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Broad Jump Throw: 10 reps (throws utilizing high jump pit can be used at this time).

Friday

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Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 2 x 5 x 20 from football position, 3 x 30 from football position. Box Jumps From Box: 80% x 10 reps Depth Jumps: 2 sets 5 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Broad Jump Throw: 10 reps (throws utilizing high jump pit can be used at this time).

Week 8 Monday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 2 x 5 x 20 from football position, 3 x 30 from football position. Box Jumps From Box: 80% x 10 reps Hurdle Jumps: 2 sets through series of 5 hurdles Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Broad Jump Throw: 10 reps (throws utilizing high jump pit can be used at this time).

Wednesday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery) Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Broad Jump Throw: 10 reps (throws utilizing high jump pit can be used at this time).

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Friday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 2 x 5 x 20 from football position, 3 x 30 from football position. Box Jumps From Box: 80% x 10 reps Hurdle Jumps: 2 sets through series of 5 hurdles Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Broad Jump Throw: 10 reps (throws utilizing high jump pit can be used at this time).

Week 9 (Deload) Monday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery) Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Broad Jump Throw: 10 reps

Wednesday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery) Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps

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Friday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery) Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Broad Jump Throw: 10 reps

Going Into the Summer: 9 Weeks (linemen):
Week 1 Monday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 5 x 20 from football position. Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps

Wednesday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery) Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps

Friday

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Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 5 x 20 from football position. Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps

Week 2 Monday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 2 x 4 x 20 from football position. Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Box Jumps From Box: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Kneeling Coil Throw: 10 reps

Wednesday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery) Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Kneeling Coil Throw: 10 reps

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Friday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 2 x 4 x 20 from football position. Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Box Jumps From Box: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Kneeling Coil Throw: 10 reps

Week 3 Monday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 2 x 5 x 20 from football position. Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Box Jumps From Box: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Kneeling Coil Throw: 2 sets of 8 reps

Wednesday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery) Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Kneeling Coil Throw: 10 reps

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Friday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 2 x 5 x 20 from football position. Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Box Jumps From Box: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Kneeling Coil Throw: 2 sets of 8 reps

Week 4 (Deload) Monday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery) Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Kneeling Coil Throw: 10 reps

Wednesday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery) Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps

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Friday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery) Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Kneeling Coil Throw: 10 reps Week 5

Monday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 2 x 4 x 20 from football position. Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Box Jumps From Box: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Kneeling Coil Throw: 10 reps

Wednesday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery) Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Kneeling Coil Throw: 10 reps

Friday

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Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 2 x 4 x 20 from football position. Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Box Jumps From Box: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Kneeling Coil Throw: 10 reps

Week 6 Monday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 2 x 5 x 20 from football position. Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Box Jumps From Box: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Kneeling Coil Throw: 2 sets of 8 reps (throws utilizing high jump pit can be incorporated here).

Wednesday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery) Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Kneeling Coil Throw: 10 reps (throws utilizing high jump pit can be incorporated here).

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Friday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 2 x 5 x 20 from football position. Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Box Jumps From Box: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Kneeling Coil Throw: 2 sets of 8 reps (throws utilizing high jump pit can be incorporated here).

Week 7 Monday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 2 x 5 x 20 from football position. Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Box Jumps From Box: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Kneeling Coil Throw: 2 sets of 8 reps, Broad Jump Throw: 8 reps (throws utilizing high jump pit can be incorporated here).

Wednesday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery)

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Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Kneeling Coil Throw: 10 reps (throws utilizing high jump pit can be incorporated here).

Friday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 2 x 5 x 20 from football position. Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Box Jumps From Box: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Kneeling Coil Throw: 2 sets of 8 reps, Broad Jump Throw: 8 reps (throws utilizing high jump pit can be incorporated here).

Week 8 Monday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 2 x 5 x 20 from football position. Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Box Jumps From Box: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Kneeling Coil Throw: 2 sets of 8 reps, Broad Jump Throw: 8 reps (throws utilizing high jump pit can be incorporated here).

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Wednesday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery) Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Kneeling Coil Throw: 10 reps (throws utilizing high jump pit can be incorporated here).

Friday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 2 x 5 x 20 from football position. Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Box Jumps From Box: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Kneeling Coil Throw: 2 sets of 8 reps, Broad Jump Throw: 8 reps (throws utilizing high jump pit can be incorporated here).

Week 9 (Deload) Monday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery) Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Kneeling Coil Throw: 10 reps

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Wednesday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery) Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps

Friday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery) Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Kneeling Coil Throw: 10 reps

Summer Pre-Camp: 6 Weeks (Skill)
Week 1 Monday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 2 x 5 x 20 from football position, 2 x 30 from football position. Box Jumps From Box: 80% x 10 reps Hurdle Jumps: 2 sets through series of 5 hurdles Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Broad Jump Throw: 10 reps (throws utilizing high jump pit can be used at this time).

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Wednesday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery) Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Broad Jump Throw: 10 reps (throws utilizing high jump pit can be used at this time).

Friday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 2 x 5 x 20 from football position, 2 x 30 from football position. Box Jumps From Box: 80% x 10 reps Hurdle Jumps: 2 sets through series of 5 hurdles Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Broad Jump Throw: 10 reps (throws utilizing high jump pit can be used at this time).

Week 2 Monday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 2 x 5 x 20 from football position, 3 x 30 from football position. Box Jumps From Box: 80% x 10 reps Hurdle Jumps: 2 sets through series of 5 hurdles

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Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Broad Jump Throw: 10 reps, Double Broad Jump Throw: 5 reps (throws utilizing high jump pit and/or depth jumps can be used at this time).

Wednesday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery) Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Broad Jump Throw: 10 reps (throws utilizing high jump pit can be used at this time).

Friday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 2 x 5 x 20 from football position, 3 x 30 from football position. Box Jumps From Box: 80% x 10 reps Hurdle Jumps: 2 sets through series of 5 hurdles Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Broad Jump Throw: 10 reps, Double Broad Jump Throw: 5 reps (throws utilizing high jump pit and/or depth jumps can be used at this time).

Week 3 Monday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 2 x 5 x 20 from football position, 3 x 30 from football position, 2 x 40 from football position

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Box Jumps From Box: 80% x 10 reps Hurdle Jumps: 2 sets through series of 5 hurdles Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Broad Jump Throw: 10 reps, Double Broad Jump Throw: 5 reps (throws utilizing high jump pit and/or depth jumps can be used at this time).

Wednesday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery) Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Broad Jump Throw: 10 reps (throws utilizing high jump pit can be used at this time).

Friday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 2 x 5 x 20 from football position, 3 x 30 from football position, 2 x 40 from football position Box Jumps From Box: 80% x 10 reps Hurdle Jumps: 2 sets through series of 5 hurdles Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Broad Jump Throw: 10 reps, Double Broad Jump Throw: 5 reps (throws utilizing high jump pit and/or depth jumps can be used at this time).

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Week 4 (Deload) Monday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery) Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Broad Jump Throw: 10 reps

Wednesday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery) Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps

Friday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery) Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Broad Jump Throw: 10 reps

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Week 5 Monday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 2 x 5 x 20 from football position, 3 x 30 from football position. Box Jumps From Box: 80% x 10 reps Hurdle Jumps: 2 sets through series of 5 hurdles Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Broad Jump Throw: 10 reps, Double Broad Jump Throw: 5 reps (throws utilizing high jump pit and/or depth jumps can be used at this time).

Wednesday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery) Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Broad Jump Throw: 10 reps (throws utilizing high jump pit can be used at this time).

Friday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 2 x 5 x 20 from football position, 3 x 30 from football position. Box Jumps From Box: 80% x 10 reps Hurdle Jumps: 2 sets through series of 5 hurdles

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Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Broad Jump Throw: 10 reps, Double Broad Jump Throw: 5 reps (throws utilizing high jump pit and/or depth jumps can be used at this time).

Week 6 Monday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 2 x 5 x 20 from football position, 3 x 30 from football position, 2 x 40 from football position Box Jumps From Box: 80% x 10 reps Hurdle Jumps: 2 sets through series of 5 hurdles Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Broad Jump Throw: 10 reps, Double Broad Jump Throw: 5 reps (throws utilizing high jump pit and/or depth jumps can be used at this time).

Wednesday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery) Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Broad Jump Throw: 10 reps (throws utilizing high jump pit can be used at this time).

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Friday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 2 x 5 x 20 from football position, 3 x 30 from football position, 2 x 40 from football position Box Jumps From Box: 80% x 10 reps Hurdle Jumps: 2 sets through series of 5 hurdles Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Broad Jump Throw: 10 reps, Double Broad Jump Throw: 5 reps (throws utilizing high jump pit and/or depth jumps can be used at this time).

Summer Pre-Camp: 6 Weeks (Linemen)
Week 1 Monday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 2 x 5 x 20 from football position. Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Box Jumps From Box: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Kneeling Coil Throw: 2 sets of 8 reps (throws utilizing high jump pit can be incorporated here).

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Wednesday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery) Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Kneeling Coil Throw: 10 reps (throws utilizing high jump pit can be incorporated here).

Friday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 2 x 5 x 20 from football position. Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Box Jumps From Box: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Kneeling Coil Throw: 2 sets of 8 reps (throws utilizing high jump pit can be incorporated here).

Week 2 Monday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 2 x 5 x 20 from football position. Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Box Jumps From Box: 80% x 10 reps

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Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Kneeling Coil Throw: 2 sets of 10 reps (throws utilizing high jump pit can be incorporated here).

Wednesday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery) Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Kneeling Coil Throw: 10 reps (throws utilizing high jump pit can be incorporated here).

Friday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 2 x 5 x 20 from football position. Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Box Jumps From Box: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Kneeling Coil Throw: 2 sets of 10 reps (throws utilizing high jump pit can be incorporated here).

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Week 3 Monday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 2 x 5 x 20 from football position. Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Box Jumps From Box: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Kneeling Coil Throw: 2 sets of 10 reps (throws utilizing high jump pit can be incorporated here).

Wednesday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery) Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Kneeling Coil Throw: 10 reps (throws utilizing high jump pit can be incorporated here).

Friday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 2 x 5 x 20 from football position. Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Box Jumps From Box: 80% x 10 reps

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Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Kneeling Coil Throw: 2 sets of 10 reps (throws utilizing high jump pit can be incorporated here).

Week 4 (Deload) Monday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery) Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps

Wednesday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery) Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps

Friday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery) Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps

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Week 5 Monday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 2 x 5 x 20 from football position. Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Box Jumps From Box: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Kneeling Coil Throw: 2 sets of 10 reps (throws utilizing high jump pit can be incorporated here).

Wednesday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery) Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Kneeling Coil Throw: 10 reps (throws utilizing high jump pit can be incorporated here).

Friday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 2 x 5 x 20 from football position. Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Box Jumps From Box: 80% x 10 reps

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Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Kneeling Coil Throw: 2 sets of 10 reps (throws utilizing high jump pit can be incorporated here).

Week 6 Monday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 2 x 5 x 20 from football position. Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Box Jumps From Box: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Kneeling Coil Throw: 2 sets of 10 reps (throws utilizing high jump pit can be incorporated here).

Wednesday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 5 x 10 yards (full recovery) Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Kneeling Coil Throw: 10 reps (throws utilizing high jump pit can be incorporated here).

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Friday Dynamic Warm-up Football-Specific Drills: 15-20 minutes Linear Speed: 6 x 10 yards (full recovery), 2 x 5 x 20 from football position. Box Jumps: 80% x 10 reps Box Jumps From Box: 80% x 10 reps Throws: Half Squat Throw: 10 reps, Kneeling Coil Throw: 2 sets of 10 reps (throws utilizing high jump pit can be incorporated here).

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Winter Strength and Conditioning: 8 Week Training Cycle
We are going to be operating on a 3 day training week. So there’s no confusion, the following outlines a full training cycle. Here are some general notes about the training program: Set and Rep Scheme: • • Where a 5/3/1 set/rep protocol is listed, please refer to the 5/3/1 training book. The extra sets of work (for example: 3x5 (55%x5, 65%x5, 75%x5)) are based on the specific training max for that cycle. The extra sets are never taken to failure or used to determine a rep max. The reps on the assistance work can change as you see fit. What’s written is simply a guideline. Since many of the lifts are bodyweight-oriented, the reps are going to be determined by the strength of your athletes. It’s your job as a coach to assign suggested reps for your athletes, so pay attention and learn their capabilities. The 5/3/1 philosophy of “start too light” must be enforced. You’re not in a race with time. You’re in a race with your own impatience. The winner of that race doesn’t come in first – it comes in better. The exercises listed should be done first to last, if at all possible. Don’t make the mistake of trying so hard to get everything done that you end up with a half-assed session. Get your players through their squat and bench work, and don’t sacrifice the main lifts for the sake of fitting in all the accessory work. It’s better to get two good lifts done in a workout than it is to get five mediocre ones.

• •

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Get the main lifts in. They’re the ones that will have the most impact on your kids and their results. A properly executed squat will give kids most of the strength they’ll ever need in their lower bodies.

Coaching Points: • It’s imperative that you focus on full range of movement and good form. Become a student of good technique in the weight room. The majority of your team will have horrendous lifting form. This can and should be addressed every day. Pay attention to form and don’t let a set continue if the athlete is using form that compromises the lift or his health! We don’t chase numbers. We chase wins. Pay attention to how, rather than how much. Chins/Pull-ups should be done with a variety of grips. Back raises can be performed weighted, using weight vests, bands behind athletes’ necks, weight plates held behind their heads or holding dumbbells. Dumbbell lunges must be done with proper form – with large strides and an upright torso. Don’t take ministeps in order to handle more weight. This defeats the purpose of the exercise. If an athlete is too weak to perform chins and pullups, use bands either hung from the bar or strung across the spotter bars of the power rack. Partnerassisted chins are also a good idea. Fat Man Rows (also known as Inverted or Body Rows) are also a worthy substitute.

• •

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Week 1
Monday Military Press: 3x5 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Squat: 3x5 (55%x5, 65%x5, 75%x5) *Chin-ups/Pull-ups: Do 1 set in between every set of squats and military presses (including warm-ups). Sets should not be taken to failure. Rather, take ½ of the athletes’ max reps and have them perform that number per set (or even less). For example, if an athlete can do 10 perfect chins/pulls, have them do sets of NO MORE than 5 reps. If an athlete cannot do a chin-up/pull-up, have them do band assisted chins/pulls. When in doubt, have them do fewer reps per set. Dips: 3 sets of as many reps as possible. Curls: 3 sets of 10 reps (have athletes superset these with dips). Glute-Ham Raise/Sit-ups Circuit: 3 sets of each – reps depending on athlete’s strength. Wednesday Trap Bar Deadlift: 3x5 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Military Press: 3x5 (55%x5, 65%x5, 75%x5) DB Lunges: 3 sets of 6 reps/leg 45-Degree Back Raises: 3 sets of 12 reps Med Ball Sit-ups: 3 sets of 20 reps Dips/Chins: superset these two exercises - 10 minutes of as many sets/reps as they can perform. Friday Bench Press: 3x5 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Squat: 3x5 (55%x5, 65%x5, 75%x5)

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Chins/Pull-ups: same sets/reps as before - perform between sets of bench press and squat. DB Bench Press: 3 sets of 12 reps Triceps Pushdowns/Biceps Curls: give the kids 10 minutes to pump up. Sled Rows: Attach a 100 foot tug of war rope to a dragging sled. Pull the sled toward you, hand over hand. Each athlete should do 3 sets of this. The weight used depends on the strength of the athlete.

Week 2
Monday Power Clean: 3x5 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Squat: 3x5 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Bench Press: 3x5 (55%x5, 65%x5, 75%x5) 45-Degree Back Raise: 3 sets of 12 reps Roman Chair Sit-ups: 3 sets of 20 reps Dips/Chins: superset these two exercises - 10 minutes of as many sets/reps as they can perform. Wednesday Military Press: 3x5 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Squat: 3x5 (55%x5, 65%x5, 75%x5) *Chin-ups/Pull-ups: Do 1 set in between every set of squats and military presses (including warm-ups). Sets should not be taken to failure. Rather, take ½ of the athletes’ max reps and have them perform that number per set (or even less). For example, if an athlete can do 10 perfect chins/pulls, have them do sets of NO MORE than 5 reps. If an athlete cannot do a chin-up/pull-up, have them do band assisted chins/pulls. When in doubt, have them do fewer reps per set.

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Dips: 4 sets of as many reps as possible. Curls: 4 sets of 10 reps (have athletes superset these with dips). Glute-Ham Raise/Sit-ups Circuit: 3 sets of each – reps depending on athlete’s strength. Friday Trap Bar Deadlift: 3x3 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Military Press: 3x5 (55%x5, 65%x5, 75%x5) DB Lunges: 3 sets of 6 reps/leg 45-Degree Back Raises: 3 sets of 12 reps Med Ball Sit-ups: 3 sets of 20 reps Dips/Chins: superset these two exercises - 10 minutes of as many sets/reps as they can perform.

Week 3
Monday Bench Press: 3x3 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Squat: 3x5 (55%x5, 65%x5, 75%x5) Chins/Pull-ups: same sets/reps as before - perform between sets of bench press and squat. DB Bench Press: 4 sets of 12 reps Triceps Pushdowns/Biceps Curls: give the kids 10 minutes to pump up. Sled Rows: Attach a 100 foot tug of war rope to a dragging sled. Pull the sled toward you, hand over hand. Each athlete should do 3 sets of this. The weight used depends on the strength of the athlete.

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Wednesday Power Clean: 3x3 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Squat: 3x3 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Bench Press: 3x5 (55%x5, 65%x5, 75%x5) 45-Degree Back Raise: 3 sets of 12 reps Roman Chair Sit-ups: 3 sets of 20 reps Dips/Chins: superset these two exercises - 10 minutes of as many sets/reps as they can perform. Friday Military Press: 5/3/1 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Squat: 3x5 (55%x5, 65%x5, 75%x5) *Chin-ups/Pull-ups: Do 1 set in between every set of squats and military presses (including warm-ups). Sets should not be taken to failure. Rather, take ½ of the athletes’ max reps and have them perform that number per set (or even less). For example, if an athlete can do 10 perfect chins/pulls, have them do sets of NO MORE than 5 reps. If an athlete cannot do a chin-up/pull-up, have them do band assisted chins/pulls. When in doubt, have them do fewer reps per set. Dips: 4 sets of as many reps as possible. Curls: 4 sets of 10 reps (have athletes superset these with dips). Glute-Ham Raise/Sit-ups Circuit: 3 sets of each – reps depending on athlete’s strength.

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Week 4
Monday Trap Bar Deadlift: 5/3/1 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Military Press: 3x5 (55%x5, 65%x5, 75%x5) DB Lunges: 3 sets of 6 reps/leg 45-Degree Back Raises: 3 sets of 12 reps Med Ball Sit-ups: 3 sets of 20 reps Dips/Chins: superset these two exercises - 10 minutes of as many sets/reps as they can perform. Wednesday Bench: 5/3/1 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Squat: 3x5 (55%x5, 65%x5, 75%x5) Chins/Pull-ups: same sets/reps as before - perform between sets of bench press and squat. DB Bench Press: 4 sets of 12 reps Triceps Pushdowns/Biceps Curls: give the kids 10 minutes to pump up. Sled Rows: Attach a 100 foot tug of war rope to a dragging sled. Pull the sled toward you, hand over hand. Each athlete should do 3 sets of this. The weight used depends on the strength of the athlete. Friday Power Clean: 5/3/1 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Squat: 5/3/1 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Bench Press: 3x5 (55%x5, 65%x5, 75%x5) 45-Degree Back Raise: 3 sets of 12 reps Roman Chair Sit-ups: 3 sets of 20 reps

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Dips/Chins: superset these two exercises - 10 minutes of as many sets/reps as they can perform.

Week 5
Monday Military Press: 3x5 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Squat: 3x5 (55%x5, 65%x5, 75%x5) *Chin-ups/Pull-ups: Do 1 set in between every set of squats and military presses (including warm-ups). Sets should not be taken to failure. Rather, take ½ of the athletes’ max reps and have them perform that number per set (or even less). For example, if an athlete can do 10 perfect chins/pulls, have them do sets of NO MORE than 5 reps. If an athlete cannot do a chin-up/pull-up, have them do band assisted chins/pulls. When in doubt, have them do fewer reps per set. Pushups/Dips: 3 sets of each, for as many reps as possible. Curls: 3 sets of 10 reps (have athletes superset these with dips/pushups). Glute-Ham Raise/Sit-ups Circuit: 3 sets of each – reps depending on athlete’s strength. Wednesday Trap Bar Deadlift: 3x5 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Military Press: 3x5 (55%x5, 65%x5, 75%x5) One-leg Bulgarian Squats: 3 sets of 6 reps/leg 45-Degree Back Raises: 3 sets of 12 reps Med Ball Sit-ups: 3 sets of 20 reps Dips/Chins: superset these two exercises - 10 minutes of as many sets/reps as they can perform.

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Friday Bench Press: 3x5 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Squat: 3x5 (55%x5, 65%x5, 75%x5) Chins/Pull-ups: same sets/reps as before - perform between sets of bench press and squat. DB Bench Press: 3 sets of 12 reps Triceps Pushdowns/Biceps Curls: give the kids 10 minutes to pump up. Sled Rows: Attach a 100 foot tug of war rope to a dragging sled. Pull the sled toward you, hand over hand. Each athlete should do 3 sets of this. The weight used depends on the strength of the athlete.

Week 6
Monday Power Clean: 3x5 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Squat: 3x5 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Bench Press: 3x5 (55%x5, 65%x5, 75%x5) 45-Degree Back Raise: 3 sets of 12 reps Roman Chair Sit-ups: 3 sets of 20 reps Dips/Chins: superset these two exercises - 10 minutes of as many sets/reps as they can perform. Wednesday Military Press: 3x3 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Squat: 3x5 (55%x5, 65%x5, 75%x5) *Chin-ups/Pull-ups: Do 1 set in between every set of squats and military presses (including warm-ups). Sets should not be taken to failure. Rather, take ½ of the athletes’ max 140

reps and have them perform that number per set (or even less). For example, if an athlete can do 10 perfect chins/pulls, have them do sets of NO MORE than 5 reps. If an athlete cannot do a chin-up/pull-up, have them do band assisted chins/pulls. When in doubt, have them do fewer reps per set. Dips: 4 sets of as many reps as possible. Curls: 4 sets of 10 reps (have athletes superset these with dips). Glute-Ham Raise/Sit-ups Circuit: 3 sets of each – reps depending on athlete’s strength.

Friday Trap Bar Deadlift: 3x3 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Military Press: 3x5 (55%x5, 65%x5, 75%x5) One-leg Bulgarian Squats: 3 sets of 6 reps/leg 45-Degree Back Raises: 3 sets of 12 reps Med Ball Sit-ups: 3 sets of 20 reps Dips/Chins: superset these two exercises - 10 minutes of as many sets/reps as they can perform.

Week 7
Monday Bench Press: 3x3 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Squat: 3x5 (55%x5, 65%x5, 75%x5) Chins/Pull-ups: same sets/reps as before - perform between sets of bench press and squat. DB Bench Press: 4 sets of 12 reps Triceps Pushdowns/Biceps Curls: give the kids 10 minutes to pump up.

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Sled Rows: Attach a 100 foot tug of war rope to a dragging sled. Pull the sled toward you, hand over hand. Each athlete should do 3 sets of this. The weight used depends on the strength of the athlete.

Wednesday Power Clean: 3x3 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Squat: 3x3 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Bench Press: 3x5 (55%x5, 65%x5, 75%x5) 45-Degree Back Raise: 3 sets of 12 reps Roman Chair Sit-ups: 3 sets of 20 reps Dips/Chins: superset these two exercises - 10 minutes of as many sets/reps as they can perform. Glute-Ham Raise/Sit-ups Circuit: 3 sets of each – reps depending on athlete’s strength. Friday Military Press: 5/3/1 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Squat: 3x5 (55%x5, 65%x5, 75%x5) *Chin-ups/Pull-ups: Do 1 set in between every set of squats and military presses (including warm-ups). Sets should not be taken to failure. Rather, take ½ of the athletes’ max reps and have them perform that number per set (or even less). For example, if an athlete can do 10 perfect chins/pulls, have them do sets of NO MORE than 5 reps. If an athlete cannot do a chin-up/pull-up, have them do band assisted chins/pulls. When in doubt, have them do fewer reps per set. Pushups/Dips: 3 sets of each for as many reps as possible. Curls: 3 sets of 10 reps (have athletes superset these with dips/pushups). Glute-Ham Raise/Sit-ups Circuit: 3 sets of each – reps depending on athlete’s strength.

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Week 8
Monday Trap Bar Deadlift: 5/3/1 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Military Press: 3x5 (55%x5, 65%x5, 75%x5) One-leg Bulgarian Squats: 3 sets of 6 reps/leg 45-Degree Back Raises: 3 sets of 12 reps Med Ball Sit-ups: 3 sets of 20 reps Dips/Chins: superset these two exercises - 10 minutes of as many sets/reps as they can perform. Wednesday Bench: 5/3/1 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Squat: 3x5 (55%x5, 65%x5, 75%x5) Chins/Pull-ups: same sets/reps as before - perform between sets of bench press and squat. DB Bench Press: 4 sets of 12 reps Triceps Pushdowns/Biceps Curls: give the kids 10 minutes to pump up. Sled Rows: Attach a 100 foot tug of war rope to a dragging sled. Pull the sled toward you, hand over hand. Each athlete should do 3 sets of this. The weight used depends on the strength of the athlete. Friday Power Clean: 5/3/1 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Squat: 5/3/1 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Bench Press: 3x5 (55%x5, 65%x5, 75%x5) 45-Degree Back Raise: 3 sets of 12 reps Roman Chair Sit-ups: 3 sets of 20 reps

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Dips/Chins: superset these two exercises - 10 minutes of as many sets/reps as they can perform.

Spring Football: 2 Week Training Cycle In this section, we’re proposing a hypothetical two-week spring practice period. If your program doesn’t participate in spring drills, start with the workouts listed for the next training block, but read this section anyway, because it’ll further your understanding of our suggestions for training camp and in-season physical training. If your spring football period is one week, simply adjust your scheduling accordingly and move on to the next training block when spring drills are over. Here are some general things to keep in mind during this period: • • • Don’t go for rep maxes at the end of any set – just do the prescribed reps. Get the athletes in and out of the weight room in 45 minutes. These workouts are very important for maintaining and building strength. Do not have a passive attitude as a coach toward these workouts. You are only training twice per week, so make sure you schedule these weight workouts so that they don’t interfere with your football practices - and allow your athletes to have success in the weight room as well as on the practice field.

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Week 1
Day 1 Squat: 3x5 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Bench Press: 3x5 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Chin-ups: 3 sets of as many reps as possible Dips: 3 sets of as many reps as possible Lying Leg Lifts: 3 sets of 25 reps

Day 2 Trap Bar Deadlift: 3x5 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Military Press: 3x5 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Glute-Ham Raise: 3 sets of 10 reps Roman Chair Sit-ups: 3 sets of 20 reps

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Week 2
Day 1 Squat: 3x3 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Bench Press: 3x3 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Chin-ups: 3 sets of as many reps as possible Dips: 3 sets of as many reps as possible Lying Leg Lifts: 3 sets of 25 reps Day 2 Trap Bar Deadlift: 3x3 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Military Press: 3x3 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Glute-Ham Raise: 3 sets of 10 reps Roman Chair Sit-ups: 3 sets of 20 reps

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Going Into the Summer: 9 Week Training Cycle
Program notes: • • These 9 weeks will see a decline in total weight room volume and an increase in speed work. The lack of volume does not mean you shouldn’t push the athletes to make them stronger.

Week 1
Monday Trap Bar Deadlift: 5/3/1 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Military Press: 5/3/1 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Chins/Pull-ups: perform a set of 3-5 reps between every set of military presses (and even trap bar deadlifts if possible). 45-Degree Back Raises: 3 sets of 15 reps DB Lunges: 3 sets of 6 reps/leg Med Ball Sit-ups: 3 sets of 20 reps Wednesday Bench Press: 5/3/1 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Chins/Pull-ups: perform a set of 3-5 reps between every set of bench press and dips. Dips: 5 sets of 10-20 reps (reps based on athlete’s strength) Curls: 3 sets of 10 reps Lying Leg Raises (or Hanging Leg Raises): 3 sets of 25 reps

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Friday Power Clean: 5/3/1 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Squat: 5/3/1 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) DB Bench Press: 4 sets of 10 reps Glute-Ham Raises: 3 sets of 10 reps Shrugs: 3 sets of 15 reps Roman Chair Sit-ups: 3 sets of 20 reps

Week 2
Monday Trap Bar Deadlift: 3x5 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Military Press: 3x5 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Chins/Pull-ups: perform a set of 3-5 reps between every set of military presses (and even trap bar deadlifts if possible). 45-Degree Back Raises: 3 sets of 15 reps DB Lunges: 3 sets of 6 reps/leg Med Ball Sit-ups: 3 sets of 20 reps Wednesday Bench Press: 3x5 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Chins/Pull-ups: perform a set of 3-5 reps between every set of bench press and dips. Dips: 5 sets of 10-20 reps (reps based on athlete’s strength) Curls: 3 sets of 10 reps Lying Leg Raises (or Hanging Leg Raises): 3 sets of 25 reps

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Friday Power Clean: 3x5 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Squat: 3x5 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) DB Bench Press: 4 sets of 10 reps Glute-Ham Raises: 3 sets of 10 reps Shrugs: 3 sets of 15 reps Roman Chair Sit-ups: 3 sets of 20 reps

Week 3
Monday Trap Bar Deadlift: 3x3 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Military Press: 3x3 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Chins/Pull-ups: perform a set of 3-5 reps between every set of military presses (and even trap bar deadlifts if possible). 45-Degree Back Raises: 3 sets of 15 reps DB Lunges: 3 sets of 6 reps/leg Med Ball Sit-ups: 3 sets of 20 reps

Wednesday Bench Press: 3x3 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Chins/Pull-ups: perform a set of 3-5 reps between every set of bench press and dips. Dips: 5 sets of 10-20 reps (reps based on athlete’s strength) Curls: 3 sets of 10 reps Lying Leg Raises (or Hanging Leg Raises): 3 sets of 25 reps

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Friday Power Clean: 3x3 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Squat: 3x3 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) DB Bench Press: 4 sets of 10 reps Glute-Ham Raises: 3 sets of 10 reps Shrugs: 3 sets of 15 reps Roman Chair Sit-ups: 3 sets of 20 reps

Week 4
Monday Trap Bar Deadlift: 5/3/1 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Military Press: 5/3/1 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Chins/Pull-ups: perform a set of 3-5 reps between every set of military presses (and even trap bar deadlifts if possible). 45-Degree Back Raises: 3 sets of 15 reps DB Lunges: 3 sets of 6 reps/leg Med Ball Sit-ups: 3 sets of 20 reps

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Wednesday Bench Press: 5/3/1 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Chins/Pull-ups: perform a set of 3-5 reps between every set of bench press and dips. Dips: 5 sets of 10-20 reps (reps based on athlete’s strength) Curls: 3 sets of 10 reps Lying Leg Raises (or Hanging Leg Raises): 3 sets of 25 reps Friday Power Clean: 5/3/1 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Squat: 5/3/1 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) DB Bench Press: 4 sets of 10 reps Glute-Ham Raises: 3 sets of 10 reps Shrugs: 3 sets of 15 reps Roman Chair Sit-ups: 3 sets of 20 reps

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Week 5
Monday Trap Bar Deadlift: 5/3/1 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Military Press: 5/3/1 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Chins/Pull-ups: perform a set of 3-5 reps between every set of military presses (and even trap bar deadlifts if possible). 45-Degree Back Raises: 3 sets of 15 reps DB Lunges: 3 sets of 6 reps/leg Med Ball Sit-ups: 3 sets of 20 reps Wednesday Bench Press: 5/3/1 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Chins/Pull-ups: perform a set of 3-5 reps between every set of bench press and dips. Dips: 5 sets of 10-20 reps (reps based on athlete’s strength) Curls: 3 sets of 10 reps Lying Leg Raises (or Hanging Leg Raises): 3 sets of 25 reps Friday Power Clean: 5/3/1 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Squat: 5/3/1 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) DB Bench Press: 4 sets of 10 reps Glute-Ham Raises: 3 sets of 10 reps Shrugs: 3 sets of 15 reps Roman Chair Sit-ups: 3 sets of 20 reps

Week 6 (Deload Week: Use Deload Percentages)
Monday Trap Bar Deadlift: 3x5 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Military Press: 3x5 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Chins/Pull-ups: perform a set of 3-5 reps between every set of military presses (and even trap bar deadlifts if possible) Band Good Mornings: 3 sets of 20 reps DB Step-ups: 3 sets of 6 reps/leg Med Ball Sit-ups: 3 sets of 20 reps

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Wednesday Bench Press: 3x5 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Chins/Pull-ups: perform a set of 3-5 reps between every set of bench press and dips. Pushups: 5 sets of 20 reps (or pick a specific amount of total reps to do in workout) Curls: 3 sets of 10 reps Lying Leg Raises (or Hanging Leg Raises): 3 sets of 25 reps Friday Power Clean: 3x5 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Squat: 3x5 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Standing DB Military Press: 4 sets of 10 reps Glute-Ham Raises: 40 total reps (done in as few sets as possible or as many as are needed) Face Pulls: 3 sets of 15 reps Roman Chair Sit-ups: 3 sets of 20 reps

Week 7
Monday Trap Bar Deadlift: 3x5 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Military Press: 3x5 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Chins/Pull-ups: perform a set of 3-5 reps between every set of military presses (and even trap bar deadlifts if possible) Band Good Mornings: 3 sets of 20 reps DB Step-ups: 3 sets of 6 reps/leg Med Ball Sit-ups: 3 sets of 20 reps

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Wednesday Bench Press: 3x5 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Chins/Pull-ups: perform a set of 3-5 reps between every set of bench press and dips. Pushups: 5 sets of 20 reps Curls: 3 sets of 10 reps Lying Leg Raises (or Hanging Leg Raises): 3 sets of 25 reps Friday Power Clean: 3x5 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Squat: 3x5 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Standing DB Military Press: 4 sets of 10 reps Glute-Ham Raises: 40 total reps (done in as many/few sets as possible) Face Pulls: 3 sets of 15 reps Roman Chair Sit-ups: 3 sets of 20 reps

Week 8
Monday Trap Bar Deadlift: 3x3 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Military Press: 3x3 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Chins/Pull-ups: perform a set of 3-5 reps between every set of military presses (and even trap bar deadlifts if possible) Band Good Mornings: 3 sets of 20 reps DB Step-ups: 3 sets of 6 reps/leg Med Ball Sit-ups: 3 sets of 20 reps

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Wednesday Bench Press: 3x3 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Chins/Pull-ups: perform a set of 3-5 reps between every set of bench press and dips. Pushups: 5 sets of 20 reps Curls: 3 sets of 10 reps Lying Leg Raises (or Hanging Leg Raises): 3 sets of 25 reps Friday Power Clean: 3x3 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Squat: 3x3 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Standing DB Military Press: 4 sets of 10 reps Glute-Ham Raises: 40 total reps (done in as few sets as possible or as many sets as needed) Face Pulls: 3 sets of 15 reps Roman Chair Sit-ups: 3 sets of 20 reps

Week 9
Monday Trap Bar Deadlift: 5/3/1 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Military Press: 5/3/1 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Chins/Pull-ups: perform a set of 3-5 reps between every set of military presses (and even trap bar deadlifts if possible) Band Good Mornings: 3 sets of 20 reps DB Step-ups: 3 sets of 6 reps/leg Med Ball Sit-ups: 3 sets of 20 reps

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Wednesday Bench Press: 5/3/1 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Chins/Pull-ups: perform a set of 3-5 reps between every set of bench press and dips. Pushups: 5 sets of 20 reps Curls: 3 sets of 10 reps Lying Leg Raises (or Hanging Leg Raises): 3 sets of 25 reps Friday Power Clean: 5/3/1 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Squat: 5/3/1 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Standing DB Military Press: 4 sets of 10 reps Glute-Ham Raises: 40 total reps (done in as few sets as possible or as many sets as needed) Face Pulls: 3 sets of 15 reps Roman Chair Sit-ups: 3 sets of 20 reps

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Summer Pre-Camp: 6 Week Training Cycle
Notes: • Your summer pre-camp program is the first time all year where you’ll have your entire team together at one time for an extended period of time. There are no other sports going on, so you’ll be dealing with a significant increase in the number of athletes you’ll be coaching. Because of these additional numbers, and because football-specific work, speed, jumps and throws will be receiving greater emphasis during this period, the key to effective lifting is to keep things extremely simple so your team can rotate in and out of the weight room as quickly and efficiently as possible. The key to efficiency in a full team setting is to get the lifting program to the point where it runs itself – in terms of your kids knowing where they have to be and what they have to do as soon as they get in the weight room. If they know, on any given day, exactly what they have to do, you don’t have to worry as much about managing logistics, and you’re free to do what you do best: coach. For this reason, the actual lifting – the exercises performed and the order in which you’re performing them – will stay the same for the entire six weeks. Also, bear in mind that some of the new arrivals will be somewhat detrained, at least in a football/lifting sense, because they’ve been competing in other sports for nearly the entirety of your off-season program, so numbers may have to be adjusted, at first, to accommodate them.

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Week 1
Monday Trap Bar Deadlift: 3x5 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Military Press: 3x5 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Chins/Pull-ups: perform a set of 3-5 reps between every set of military presses (and even trap bar deadlifts if possible) 45-Degree Back Raise: 3 sets of 15 reps Med Ball Sit-ups: 3 sets of 20 reps Wednesday Bench Press: 3x5 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Chins/Pull-ups: perform a set of 3-5 reps between every set of bench press. Pushups: 5 sets of 20 reps Face Pulls: 3 sets of 15 reps Lying Leg Raises (or Hanging Leg Raises): 3 sets of 25 reps Friday Power Clean: 3x5 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Squat: 3x5 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Glute-Ham Raises: 30 total reps (done in as few sets as possible or as many sets as needed) Roman Chair Sit-ups: 3 sets of 20 reps

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Week 2
Monday Trap Bar Deadlift: 3x3 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Military Press: 3x3 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Chins/Pull-ups: perform a set of 3-5 reps between every set of military presses (and even trap bar deadlifts if possible) 45-Degree Back Raise: 3 sets of 15 reps Med Ball Sit-ups: 3 sets of 20 reps Wednesday Bench Press: 3x3 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Chins/Pull-ups: perform a set of 3-5 reps between every set of bench press. Pushups: 5 sets of 20 reps Face Pulls: 3 sets of 15 reps Lying Leg Raises (or Hanging Leg Raises): 3 sets of 25 reps Friday Power Clean: 3x3 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Squat: 3x3 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Glute-Ham Raises: 30 total reps (done in as few sets as possible or as many sets as needed) Roman Chair Sit-ups: 3 sets of 20 reps

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Week 3
Monday Trap Bar Deadlift: 5/3/1 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Military Press: 5/3/1 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Chins/Pull-ups: perform a set of 3-5 reps between every set of military presses (and even trap bar deadlifts if possible) 45-Degree Back Raise: 3 sets of 15 reps Med Ball Sit-ups: 3 sets of 20 reps Wednesday Bench Press: 5/3/1 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Chins/Pull-ups: perform a set of 3-5 reps between every set of bench press. Pushups: 5 sets of 20 reps Face Pulls: 3 sets of 15 reps Lying Leg Raises (or Hanging Leg Raises): 3 sets of 25 reps Friday Power Clean: 5/3/1 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Squat: 5/3/1 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Glute-Ham Raises: 30 total reps (done in as few sets as possible or as many sets as needed) Roman Chair Sit-ups: 3 sets of 20 reps

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Week 4 (Deload Week: Use Deload Percentages)
Monday Trap Bar Deadlift: 5/3/1 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Military Press: 5/3/1 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Chins/Pull-ups: perform a set of 3-5 reps between every set of military presses (and even trap bar deadlifts if possible) 45-Degree Back Raise: 3 sets of 15 reps Med Ball Sit-ups: 3 sets of 20 reps Wednesday Bench Press: 5/3/1 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Chins/Pull-ups: perform a set of 3-5 reps between every set of bench press. Pushups: 5 sets of 20 reps Face Pulls: 3 sets of 15 reps Lying Leg Raises (or Hanging Leg Raises): 3 sets of 25 reps Friday Power Clean: 5/3/1 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Squat: 5/3/1 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Glute-Ham Raises: 30 total reps (done in as few sets as possible or as many sets as needed) Roman Chair Sit-ups: 3 sets of 20 reps

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Week 5
Monday Trap Bar Deadlift: 3x3 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Military Press: 3x3 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Chins/Pull-ups: perform a set of 3-5 reps between every set of military presses (and even trap bar deadlifts if possible) Band Good Mornings: 3 sets of 20 reps Med Ball Sit-ups: 3 sets of 20 reps Wednesday Bench Press: 3x3 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Chins/Pull-ups: perform a set of 3-5 reps between every set of bench press. Pushups: 5 sets of 20 reps Face Pulls: 3 sets of 15 reps Lying Leg Raises (or Hanging Leg Raises): 3 sets of 25 reps Friday Power Clean: 3x3 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Squat: 3x3 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Glute-Ham Raises: 40 total reps (done in as few sets as possible or as many sets as needed) Roman Chair Sit-ups: 3 sets of 20 reps

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Week 6
Monday Trap Bar Deadlift: 5/3/1 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Military Press: 5/3/1 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Chins/Pull-ups: perform a set of 3-5 reps between every set of military presses (and even trap bar deadlifts if possible) Band Good Mornings: 3 sets of 20 reps Med Ball Sit-ups: 3 sets of 20 reps Wednesday Bench Press: 5/3/1 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Chins/Pull-ups: perform a set of 3-5 reps between every set of bench press. Pushups: 5 sets of 20 reps Face Pulls: 3 sets of 15 reps Lying Leg Raises (or Hanging Leg Raises): 3 sets of 25 reps Friday Power Clean: 5/3/1 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Squat: 5/3/1 (5/3/1 set/rep protocol) Glute-Ham Raises: 40 total reps (done in as few sets as possible or as many sets as needed) Roman Chair Sit-ups: 3 sets of 20 reps

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In-Season Training
As a coach, in-season training is probably the easiest aspect of the yearly weight room plan to figure out, but it’s the one most programs seem to have the most problems with and questions about. Here are some points to consider when installing our system of in-season lifting: • The goal of in season training is to play the last game of the year stronger than you were for the first game. This is not a time to maintain or to accept losing of strength. This is not a time to introduce new exercises. This is a great time to reinforce technique. Do not go for rep maxes on the last sets of the exercises. Scale back your athletes’ training maxes to 90%. Use submaximal loads to build strength! Train twice per week. If you have a doubt about doing a certain assistance exercise, don’t do it. Live by the words from the movie Ronin: Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt. If you do not train, you are wrong. You are not in the NFL or in college, don’t do what they do (maintain or not lift at all). You are coaching high school athletes and they need to continue to train. Ask your players how they’re feeling. As a coach, you’ll have a handful – or hopefully more – of players you can trust to act as barometers for the entire team. If a kid you trust tells you the team is beaten up, they’re probably beaten up and you should tend

• • • • • • •

• •

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toward the lower end of the volume/intensity spectrum. By the same token, be skeptical when they tell you they’re feeling great. Save their max effort work for the field. • Kids will feel stronger and more confident every game if they know they’ve trained harder than their competition – or if they’ve even trained at all. It doesn’t take a lot of time – maybe 30-45 minutes, two times per week. We recommend training on Monday and Wednesday.

• •

Day 1 Squat: 5/3/1 set/rep protocol Bench: 5/3/1 set/rep protocol Dips: 3 sets Chins: 3 sets

Day 2 Trap Bar Deadlift: 5/3/1 set/rep protocol Military Press: 5/3/1 set/rep protocol Glute-Ham Raises: 3 sets Sit-ups: 3 sets

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Conditioning
General Guidelines • You can choose any of the drills listed in the conditioning chapter of this manual, or design specific drills of your own, but for the footballinterval days (Mondays and most Fridays), the workrest ratio should be 3-6 seconds of all-out effort followed by rest periods ranging from 20-90 seconds. Your goal in these interval sessions is to begin your athletes with 90 second rests, then work them down – by lessening the rest periods slightly each week – to 20-30 second rest periods by June. Reducing the rest period by 5-10 seconds each week – while keeping the total time of work (20-30 minutes) the same – will accomplish this task. After several weeks, you’ll find your athletes performing more reps, at a higher rate of speed, within the given time parameters.

Tempo runs are to be performed on Tuesdays and Thursdays according to the charts in the tempo section. The chart given is a “top end” guideline. When your players first begin running tempos, monitor the total volume of their runs. You can keep volume down at first by omitting the longer sets from the tempo workout. Friday will occasionally be a “dealer’s choice” conditioning day where you can essentially throw in whatever you want. You don’t have to do this all the time – i.e., not every week – but you can and should do this often for the psychological reasons outlined in the conditioning chapter.

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Schedule Monday: Football interval conditioning Tuesday: Tempo runs Wednesday: Football interval conditioning Thursday: Tempo runs Friday: Dealer’s choice or Football interval conditioning

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About the Authors
Jim Wendler is Senior Editor and Sales Manager of Elite Fitness Systems. He is the author of several books and training manuals, including the 531: The Simplest and Most Effective Training System for Raw Strength. He has amassed thousands of hours coaching and consulting athletes and coaches all over the world. Jim played football and graduated from the University of Arizona where he earned three letters. His best lifts include a 1000 pound squat, a 675 pound bench press, 700 pound deadlift and a 2375 total in the 275 pound class. He continues his passion for strength today and has pushed his strength farther and his conditioning harder than he’d ever thought possible.

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Bob Fitzgerald is an associate editor at Muscle and Fitness magazine, the “Angry Coach” on the Elite Fitness Systems Q&A board, and has been a respected high school football coach for nearly a decade – helping produce, over the course of his coaching career, nearly four dozen collegiate football players and two, from the same high school, who went on to play in the NFL. Bob resides in New York City with his family, where he trains several athletes privately and consults with high school football programs across the country.

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