If you've ever said to yourself, "I'm a football player, all I need to worry about is my one rep max," you'd be wrong. As an athlete, there are key elements that play a major role in physical development. One of the most important, yet overlooked for football players, is endurance. Now, I'm not saying football players need to be elite distance runners. But they need to be able to play hard for four quarters! Today's training methods have advanced to provide athletes with tools to maximize their performance.
Here are some tips on how you can improve your endurance and stamina as a football player:
1) Midseason Training
Training hard during the season will help keep your work capacity at a peak level. Use the day after a game as a postgame flush, featuring fast-paced workouts with light weights and minimal rest in between. Two days later, complete a second full-body workout with a little heavier weight load. Understand that the intensity of the workout is more important than the volume. This practice takes discipline, but will set you apart from the players that do not train during the season.
2) Offseason Training Progression -- Weight Room
In the weight room, start your workout program with between 15 to 20 repetitions. Remember to be patient, and understand that this phase will make a big difference later in the year. Most athletes do not have the mindset to attack higher reps. Stay focused. Do this for the first six weeks. After that, progress down to 12 to 15 reps for the next six weeks. As you reduce your reps, you'll want to increase the weight you are lifting accordingly. For the third and final phase, reduce your reps to eight to 12, again adding an appropriate amount of weight. This system gives your body the proper foundation and allows for maximal gains in the summer leading into training camp.
3) Offseason Training Progression -- Field
On the field, start your program with linear running (an example would be doing 400s). Learn to track your times as you go through the exercises, and over time progress from three reps up to six. After a few weeks of running 400s, drop down to 110s or a sprint ladder. The next progression is into power endurance development. This is done by incorporating various exercises such as linear running, flexibility, plyos and change of direction all within one workout. The quality of your technique is the most important factor in this workout. Be conscious of your pace as well, and don't push yourself too hard or too little. Speed and conditioning/endurance work should be performed two to three times per week. Be aware of how you are recovering to ensure you stay away from overtraining.
Visit www.theproactiveedge.com to see a step-by-step approach on how to train year-round as a football player. Our entire video library features NFL players doing the actual workouts along with coaching points.