By: Andy Haley
The winter months give football players valuable time to commit to a full off-season football workout plan. Take advantage of your extra time this winter to get better at your position and get noticed by coaches next year.
The key to your off-season workout plan is to have a plan. Yes, any workout is better than no workout at all, but you will severely limit your potential gains if you fail to follow a program designed to maximize football strength.
If you are serious about improving this year, try this complete off-season football workout program, developed by STACK Expert Robert Pomazak, strength and conditioning coordinator at Elk Grove High School (Elk Grove Village, Ill.). The program is divided into five phases, which build upon each other to increase your strength, size and power, and to make you a better overall player on the field. Click on each phase to get the workout.
Goal: Correct muscle imbalances caused by injuries sustained during a grueling season, and build a foundation for heavy lifting and more advanced exercises.
Overview: Focuses primarily on bodyweight and core stability exercises that improve flexibility, core strength and balance, and eliminate imbalances. Intensity (percent of your max) is low and reps are high. Although the weight used may seem easy, remember that the goal is to set the stage for subsequent phases.
Goal: Continue building a solid foundation with strength exercises to prepare for more advanced workouts.
Overview: Workouts are structured into supersets, each consisting of a strength movement followed by a stabilization exercise. Weight, sets and reps are moderate, but challenging enough to increase your strength and muscular endurance—an essential step before performing heavy lifts.
Goal: Build as much muscle as possible, increase strength and cut body fat to enable you to tackle harder, block better and overpower opponents.
Overview: This is where the meat of the program begins. Three full-body routines with two exercises per major body part are designed to achieve a high volume of reps with each muscle group—essential for building muscle. Sets and intensity increase as reps decrease.
Goal: Develop as much muscular strength as possible so you can outmuscle and overmatch your opponents.
Overview: The max strength phase is again centered on a full-body routine, but now you begin to lift heavy weight. You perform two to three exercises for each major body part at 90 to 100 percent of your max. Sets increase, but due to the high intensity, you perform fewer reps, sometimes only one rep per set.
Goal: Transfer strength into game-speed power so you can apply more force in faster bursts.
Overview: This final phase is completed before the season to transfer gains made from previous phases into power that can be used on the field.
The workouts are broken down into complexes, in which you perform a strength exercise followed immediately by a power exercise that works the same muscles. Strength exercises are performed at a high percent of your max, and power exercises are performed at a low intensity, with a focus on explosive movements. Sets decrease, but due to the different intensities, you perform fewer reps for strength exercises and higher reps for power.