Strength and Conditioning Tips for Football

Constant strength and conditioning is now a necessity for any football team that is seeking a high level of performance. The mission of a strength and conditioning program is to raise the physical ability of an athlete, letting him show his complete technical and strategic potential on the playing field.

Periodization is perhaps the most important concept in strength and conditioning for football. This theory proposes that there are three major body adjustment stages to a specified stress:

  • Shock – when the body is exposed to a training stimulus, there is micro-cellular damage and performance decrease.
  • Stimulus adaptation – a process where physiological adjustments occur and performance increases.
  • Stagnation – where the body adapts itself and becomes used to the stimulus.

A strength and conditioning program should prioritize the importance of agility, speed, aerobic endurance, strength, power, flexibility, balance and coordination. The program should take the position you play and your training history into consideration. Neuromuscular adjustment takes place in the first six weeks of a resistance-training program, thus, in the untrained individual, major strength gains and skill enhancements are made with little change in body composition. Trainers ought to have baseline information on each athlete in order to assess the usefulness of any strength and conditioning program. The trainer has to take into account the age group of of the athletes he/she is training, for safety’s sake. He/she may need to administer a pre-participation physical exam to identify any physical problems in players. The testing procedure should be described in advance, if possible, and the exercises to be performed should be demonstrated.


Four Corners

This is a drill you can do every conditioning/practice session. Line 4 cones up 10×10 to make a 40 square foot area. Start with the backpedal, and go into the karaoke drill when you reach the second cone. At the third cone shuffle your feet without crossing them, and push your hands outward in a full shoving motion, and at the last cone go into a full sprint.


Begin this drill at the top of a hill. Run down the hill as fast as possible but be careful not to run out of control.

Michigan State

Two coaches stand 40 yards apart, and players line up alongside one coach. All players should start this conditioning drill by getting on their knees, with their feet beneath them, in preparation for squat jumps.

  1. On the coach’s signal, the players are to rock back on their heels and do 10 squat jumps.
  2. The players then sprint to the other coach where they will do 10 sit-ups upon crossing the line he represents.
  3. After this, the players sprint back to the first coach for 10 up-downs or burpees.
  4. Sprint followed by 10 push-ups.
  5. Sprint followed by 10 mountain climbers.
  6. Sprint followed by 10 heel touches.
  7. Sprint followed by 10 jumping jacks.
  8. Sprint followed by 10 push-ups.
  9. Sprint one 40-yard dash to finish the drill.

Getting Your Priorities Straight

Strength, size, agility, explosiveness, and perhaps most important, speed, are the athletic qualities that make a great football player. The forty may not be the best gauge of athletic skill, but it definitely looks impressive to the desired audience and is usually a better indicator than bench press numbers. Why, then, do so many football players train like bodybuilders year-round? All those slow repetitions merely train your body to be slow.

Although body size is important, reaction time and strength can overcome differences in size. To build strength, football players should focus on performing squats, leg presses, bench presses, dead lifts, power cleans, and other resisted movements that develop strength of large muscle groups of the trunk and legs. Athletes must also be educated on the need to drink fluids before, during and after exercise, especially if they are playing in hot weather.

Off-Season Training

A solid off-season training routine can give you an edge and help prevent injuries when the next season begins. You can start training as early as eight weeks in advance of the pre-season. Off-season training has a lot of advantages, including having the body primed and adapted to the specific demands of football. There are a lot of useful techniques for training in the off-season, and general calisthenics, football-specific drills, flexibility, and interval sprints are all first-rate choices to begin with.

Your training program can comprise four weekly high-intensity workouts, with equal concentration on all the body’s musculature. The conditioning portion of this program can consist of four weekly “track” workouts that are designed to condition the primary energy systems used in football as well as to improve each player’s speed, agility and overall “recovery” time.

Strength Training For Kids

Parents of athletes have acknowledged the importance of keeping their child injury-free, and the anticipated progress in athleticism achieved from sports training. Here are the criteria you should use to select a strength training coach for your child:

  1. Specific formal education
  2. Professional certification
  3. Professional experience
  4. Personality
  5. Ethical practice
  6. Cost

It’s okay for children to strength train as long as it’s done properly. Strength training workouts that are supervised, safe and age-appropriate offer many additional benefits to young athletes. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Sports Medicine, and the National Strength and Conditioning Association all support strength training for kids, as long as it’s done correctly.

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