Physical power and proper technique wins individual battles on the football field. Development of both power and football techniques can not only be created on the field but also in the weight room. Furthermore, power and sound technique on the field go hand in hand in that they both require the athlete to effectively use the range of motion and strength in their ankles, knees and hip muscles. Therefore, properly designed exercises in the weight room can enhance the athlete's ability to move efficiently.
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Here are a few dynamic exercises that do not require any fancy equipment but will improve power and technique on the football field.
Lunge Press Matrix
This is a three-part exercise that utilizes the lower body's range of motion and strength to create a transfer of the power from the lower body and core muscles to the upper body.
1) Up first is the anterior, or forward lunge. In this movement, lunge forward to a 90 degree knee bend and then on the return to the starting position, press the dumbbells straight out in front.
2) Second is the lateral, or side lunge. Step out to the side while lowering the center of gravity by flexing the ankles, knees and hips, and then upon returning to the starting position, punch the dumbbells forward.
3) The third part of this exercise is the rotational, or posterior/lateral lunge. This version of the lunge press matrix will open the hips, which mimics the motions of a defensive back or an offensive lineman in pass protection techniques. Once again, as the athlete returns to the starting position, perform a punching motion with the weights.
Please note that adding a weighted vest, resistance bands to the arms or even throwing a medicine ball all can be variations of this multifaceted exercise.
Yes, this is an oldie, but a goodie. This exercise can improve upper body strength as well as core strength. But unfortunately, this exercise is often not performed correctly.
A proper push-up requires a tight core and straight lower back with no arching. Elbows should also be kept close to the torso and not flying away from the body.
To make this exercise more intense, there are a few variations that can be attempted. One is to add a weighted vest or resistance bands. Another is to offset the hands slightly to create an offset push-up.
If you are looking to increase power in the pressing motion, push-ups with a clap are a great explosive exercise. In this drill, perform a push-up as normal, except have the athlete explode up as high as possible to create enough time to clap their hands before landing back onto the ground. This is a high-level exercise that should only be attempted by well-conditioned and pain free athletes.
The days of big and strong, but slow and clumsy, football players are a thing of the past. I have seen firsthand how much faster the game has become. In fact, I had the opportunity to train offensive lineman, Lane Johnson, the fourth pick in the 2013 NFL Draft who ran the 40-yard dash in 4.72 seconds at the NFL Combine. Only a few years earlier, it was a rare event that a 300-pound lineman would be able to run under a five second 40.
The more efficient an athlete becomes, the more their power and execution will be evident on the football field.
- Brett Fischer is the owner/founder of the Fischer Institute in Phoenix, Ariz. He is a licensed physical therapist, certified athletic trainer, certified strength and conditioning specialist and a certified dry needling provider. He has worked with the University of Florida, New York Jets, PGA & Senior PGA TOUR and the Chicago Cubs.