How Can I Better Prepare For Football?

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How Can I Better Prepare For Football?

I'm a discouraged athlete. I am 20 and play college football (although I've taken a year off). I've been lifting seriously for football since I was a junior in high school. I have horrible genetics so I have to bust my hump twice as hard as Joe Shmoe to get half the results. I have good days and bad. I think it's all mental and I have really been working on that aspect. I am improving mentally.

I want to concentrate on speed, verticle jump and strength in my bench, squat and hang clean. I'm not worried about looking good for the beach. I am 5-foot-11 and I'm pushing 190 pounds but I want to get to 185. I have too much body fat. I bench about 240, squat 415, hang clean 235. How good are these max lifts compared to my size?

My current workout is ...

    Monday - flat bench, inc bench, flyes,close grip, dips, various tri extensions

    Tuesday - (snatch clean, behind neck press, high pull, side and front raises, pull ups, rows, lat pull down.)

    Wednesday - (squat, lunge, leg press, straight leg dead lift, calves)

    Thrusday - OFF

    Friday - (flat bench, incline dumbell bench, flyes, weighted dips, push ups, skull crushers,push downs)

    Sat - shoulders and back(Hang cleans, dumbbell shoulder press, 3-way shoulder circuit, lat pull-downs, rows, pull-ups palms in)

    Sunday - OFF

    Monday - Legs (dead lifts, front squat, leg curl/extensions, calves)

    Then I Repeat The Pattern

I repeat this day by day. 3 days on, 1 off. I like to have 3 days rest for my body parts. Most football programs I have seen lift chest Monday and Thursday. I do not like this becasue I find I am still sore Friday. Also, on most football programs chest is worked with shoulders. I hate this because by the time I get to shoulders I am drained.

I alter each workout to "trick" my muscles like I've read. I like to incorporate Olympic lifts like hang cleans and snatch cleans for speed. I have been endlessy trying to configure a good program for me. I am desperate and I need guidance.

What do you think of this program for football? If you have one, it'd be great if you could send me a better program for football.

I've yet to begin a running program to get back in shape and lose some body fat. Do you have any advice on good polymetric exercises I can do? I need to get quicker. What about exercises to increase my vertical jump and my 40-yard dash time?

Take in mind I do not have much equipment for speed training or access to a gym all the time. I was planning to run distance 2-3 times a week and do sprints (suicides mainly) with some plyometric or cutting drills 2 times a week. I would also like to run hills if the snow clears up.

Please respond, I am desperate and football means a lot to me. I want to do well. I'm entering this new school as a junior and I've lost two years of football. I want to make the last two worth it.

The mental aspect can and should not be simply dismissed. You may have the perfect training and nutritional program, but if you are not mentally committed and possess the never say die attitude then you are never going to make the progress you expect. One of my mentors, Coach John Davies, writes extensively about the influence of one's character in sporting performance. In my own sporting career, I was NEVER the best athlete. However, I was the only person from my basketball team to play on a Division-I team. This is not to say others could not have accomplished the same goal, but they just did not possess the same hunger and desire that I had deep down.

As far as your training goes ... the key to many programs is not only the lifts that you perform, but the volume and intensity of work you use. For example, if you are benching twice per week are you using different loads and speed of movement for each training session? With the above training program I still do not get a good idea of what type of work you are performing. I do have to commend you though on using primarily compound movements. I would still drop the flyes, leg extensions and avoid redundancy in the workouts. Even though Russian powerlifters will bench as much as eight times in a week, you aren't a powerlifter, you are an athlete.

With regard to your numbers, I really hate trying to interpret these things. I really don't get an opportunity to observe the technique being used. From my experience this is especially important in the Olympic lifts and squats.

When using Olympic lifts I am not as concerned with the numbers as I am the speed of the bar. I recently finished working with a high school basketball player and he increasd his vertical by approximately five inches!! This is a great deal considering he already had a decent vertical leap and was not able to train as consistently as I would have liked. We did not perform any plyometrics in our sessions because he was playing in summer leagues and practicing with various teams. Therefore, plyometric training would have been detrimental to his joints and lead to overtraining. So, most of our high-speed work involved the Olympic lift variations. This young man never cleaned more than 100 pounds as the speed of the bar slowed too much when he tried.

A good running program should involve the alternation of maximal effort sprints and sub-maximal sprint work. You should really avoid any types of long distance low intensity runs; they have no application for your sport. You may use intervals for more of a conditioning effect, this would be much more applicable to your training.

I have good news for you ... a lot of toys and fancy equipment are not neccessary to produce great results. You should try to find a way to have access to the weight room four days a week though. Four days is what I would consider the optimal number for you in regard to weight training. Outside of the weight room, if you can get a jump rope, some cheap cones and a lot of desire you can make a great workout.

My partner and great friend, Keats Snideman, often laughs at how many different "toys" most "speed" coaches try to use. Keats has studied the work of the best strength coaches in the world and can tell you that the results are not based off of cool equipment, but properly structuring the speed workouts. I would recommend emailing Coach Snideman at if you are interested in more details about sprint work for sport.

As Coach Davies says, "live the code." By this he is referring to the way you approach your training and life. I would highly recommend you outline in what areas of your sport you need to improve upon and not be so concerned about weight room numbers. Those will improve the more you start developing a better plan of attack.

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