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Pigskin Power Program!

This workout is designed to increase strength and power for football players and is a sample off-season training program. Presented here is the strength-training portion.

This workout is designed to increase strength and power for Division I-A (FBS) football players and is a sample off-season training program. Presented here is the strength-training portion and does not include any conditioning, cardiovascular exercise or flexibility training.

So you've read the first paragraph and are thinking to yourself, I don't play football. Who cares? This program works! You don't have to be a collegiate athlete to use it. Heck, these are the strongest and most conditioned athletes around. Why not use some of the tools they use in the weight room and take your training to the next level? I've never played a game of football, outside the regular playground gridiron, in my life. But truth is, my training was becoming stale.

I was 190 pounds with about 10 percent bodyfat. My bench press was stuck at 350. My squat was a terrible 425 after recovering from patellar tendonitis, and I hadn't power cleaned in over two years. I knew I needed something to crank my strength in the core lifts and help me build 10-15 pounds of muscle. This was going to be a new "training journey" for myself: new lifts, training intensities and growth. Bottom line, this 9-week program will increase your squat, power clean and bench press, and add about 10-15 pounds to your frame. What do you have to lose? Nothing!

Nutritional Guidelines

Eat everything and eat often. You should be consuming food every 2-3 hours. Not hungry? I don't care. Food rebuilds muscle and tops off glycogen stores. Rotate every other meal between a MRP shake or food bar and real whole food. Yes, real food. A crappy diet combined with every supplement on the market is still a crappy diet.

Have at least three whole food meals and three MRP shakes or bars each day. Replace your pop, juice or adult frothy beverage of choice with two glasses of water or milk at every meal with whole food. This meal rotation will ensure that you are getting enough calories throughout the day to feed your muscles and minimize that "stuffed" feeling.

Training Guidelines

If you really want the program to work, don't change a damn thing. If your gym doesn't have certain equipment or prohibits Olympic lifting, change gyms now. You don't belong in one of those snazzy health clubs. You need a gym. A temple. A place where you can put yourself at the mercy of the squat rack and platform! You are going to be doing power cleans, push jerks, clean pulls, bench presses and squats. You will need the equipment if you are going to make improvements. If you insist on staying at your current training facility, then I guess you can always substitute some of the exercises.

Just be sure that you are performing the lifts correctly and intensely. Also, follow the sets, reps and training percentages to a "t". Some days will be easier and some days are going to really kick your ass. They are designed that way. Don't change them.

Time your rest between sets. Making power cleans, squats, clean pulls, bench presses and push jerks into a cardio circuit just isn't going to cut it. And taking a nap between sets on biceps and triceps exercises is unacceptable, too. Rest a good 2-3 minutes on the core lifts and about 1-1.5 minutes on the supplemental lifts.

Rest & Recovery

Don't do extra work. You will be training four days each week in a 2-on, 1-off, 2-on, 2-off rotation. This will provide plenty of stimuli for your muscles to grow. Take the off days OFF. Do nothing. No cardio, nothing. To many novices, and, yes, even you guys that have been training for years, are novices, think they have to blast their body every single day. Do you realize how much "extra help" most professional bodybuilders have flowing through their bodies?

Sure your muscle tissue can recover from the damage, but did you ever think about how your body's stress hormones and immune system take a beating? Think about it. How do you expect your body chemistry and immune system to recover from two hours of kicking your own ass every single day? I'll talk more about this in an upcoming article about the ideal hypertrophy-training program for the "non-chemically enhanced", advanced bodybuilder.

And last, but not least, sleep. We all need it. More of it. You need to sleep more and get more rest. Sneak in a 10-20 minute power nap in the middle of the day. Remember those days in college when you could sleep on the campus bus on the way to class? Find a way to fit one of these in. Also, you need to chill out in front of the TV or with a book at the end of the day. Don't come home and eat and then go right to bed. Allow yourself time to "wind down".

Starting "The Program"

Now that you've read through the guidelines, you're probably ready to get to the meat of this thing, right? Take this workout and study it. Record every rep, every weight. If you do not know the lifts, look them up, or ask a strength coach, but make sure you know what you are attempting.

There are specific training intensities required for a few lifts. In order for you to maximize your results, you will need to get a partner or someone to spot you and establish your current 1RM (one-rep max) on the power clean, squat and bench press. Calculate your 1RM, click here! This is important. Do not estimate. Get real numbers. Okay, here we go ...

Monday - upper body
Tuesday - lower body
Wednesday - OFF (Do you need me to remind you what this means?)
Thursday - upper body
Friday - lower body
Saturday - OFF
Sunday - OFF

Use this training table as your guide to the proper weights on the core lifts. You will be changing percentages every week in order to overload your muscles so you can develop strength every week. The first chart is the Core Lifts training cycle. Use this to calculate which weight you should be using on these lifts.

Chart 1: Calculate Weights That You Will Use






4 X 8 @ 61-67%;

1 X AMAP @ 58%

4 X 8 @ 58-61-64-67%


6 X 4 @ 67-73%



4 X 6 @ 70-73%;

1 X AMAP @ 64%

4 X 6 @ 64-67-70-70%


6 X 4 @ 67-76%



4 X 5 @ 76-79%


4 X 5 @ 67-70-73-73%


5 X 3 @ 76-82%



4 X 3 @ 82-88%


4 X 4 @ 76-76-79-79%


4 X 3 @ 76-82% ;

1 @ 85%


3 X 1 @ 91%


3 X 4 @ 79-82-82%


4 X 2 @ 85-88% ;

1 @ 91%


8 X 3 @ 67%


5 X 2 @ 79%


4 X 3 @ 76%



5 @ 79%; 3 @ 88%

1 @ 91%

3 X 3 @ 82-85-88%


4 X 2 @ 85-91%;

1 @ 91% +5-10lbs.


2 X 1 @ 94%


2 X 1 @ 91-94%


1 @ 94%; 4 @ 79%

1 @ 94%


Start at old max + 5lbs.

3 attempts

Start at old max + 5lbs.

3 attempts

Start at old max + 5lbs.

3 attempts

The Exercises

You will be bench-pressing twice each week. Mondays you will use the percentages from this table. On Thursdays you will either perform pause presses or speed presses. You should hold the pause press in the bottom position for a two count. Speed presses should be performed as quickly as possible without losing control over the bar. The weights will be lighter on these days.

Follow the percentage. DON'T increase the weight on these days. The same goes for your squat workouts. You will squat relatively heavier on Tuesdays. On Friday, load the bar with your bodyweight in pounds. If you weigh 205, use 205 for your work weight. Think about pausing slightly in the bottom of the squat and perform each rep strictly and in control. Here is the rest of the workout.

The Full Program!

Click Here For A Printable Version Of The
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