I have been asked many time to provide a basic Program for Football athletes here in the UK.  Also been asked about this by some within the game in the USA itself.The following basic program I provide is a sample from my upcoming book regarding how to peak for your best NFL, College  Season (For US based readers) or for the normal season Football players here in the UK. It is based on my quantitative and evidence based programs which were used during my time as a conditioning coach for Football in the UK. You can find more detail and more programs in the book to be published soon.

What Should a Program be Based on?

In order to devise this program I defined a number of rules while working backward from direct observations and measurement of many NFL games over a season(pre-season included). I then defined a number of rules which I see as key to the successful specific conditioning of Football players. The following program is based the following rules:

  • Sprint work capacity training based the loading parameters of distance, number of sprints and series of sprints per game
  • Overall work capacity based on the entire number of plays per game
  • Average number of different loading types a player is exposed to per game such as jumps, impacts, landings etc
  • The type and frequency of agility based runs, movements and changes of directions

From this and many more observations I designed a method of loading and conditioning players for the specific parameters of the game. This allowed all players I coached to gain a solid foundation. I have had many individuals on this program they have not only drastically improved their conditioning  and injury resilience but also their stats before they under take a training camp. From my observations on the game I was able to completely engineer and design many programs of which this is just one sample. I also conducted an evaluation of similar types of sport conditioning for sports such as Rugby Union and Rugby League for new or refreshing conditioning ideas which can crossover to Football.

It should be stressed before reading that this is a template and is adaptable to any position specific needs. Although I have designed this template to follow the same requirements for explosiveness,speed and upper body strength. I have had success with helping players perform well in the combine with adaptations of this program.

3 Day Per Week Basic Program

This is a periodized program which will allow there to be different training protocols for the same stimulus. It allows you as a coach to perform 2 different programs using Football specific training during all phases of the season from off season to during the season. On the first day of the program each athlete is given standard conditioning tests which are then measured at the various different phases of the program.

In order for you to gain some insight to into my way of thinking I will include any comments I have in brackets in Italics. You can consider this program a basic template which is adjusted based on basic phases of training such if you need to gain complete condition or you need a program for in-season. A players starting condition was taken into account before deciding the depth of training needed.

The program was devised for 3 days per week and is split into three phases which a player will go through depending on aim and conditioning requirement:

Phase 1 Anatomical adaptation/Hypertrophy Phase

(Hypertrophy phases are good to include for the conditioning of the player and is a big factor in building a powerful player. Leading into what is termed Functional Hypertrophy.Linemen and those new to training should spend more time in this phase)This basic phase is for muscle building and fat loss should that be prepositionally appropriate. Any strength training activities performed during this phase are with the ranges of 8-12 rep range. This is performed from the beginning of the off season conditioning program to the start of sheduled training sessions. The aim is to regain any base level of conditioning lost during periods of rest/inactivity after the previous season.

Phase 2 Strength/ Sprint Conditioning Phase

The number of reps performed per set will drop to no more than 5 per set and maximal loads will be integrated. This phase is for building strength and regaining peak condition with regards to running/sprint based conditioning.

Phase 3 Power/Specific Speed Phase

This phase is all about peaking power and speed. This from the previous phase up until the last day of training camp. Athletes will reach the start of the season in peak condition ready to cycle through training during the season.

Explosive power, Sprint Speed and Agility will be worked on through all phases.

Every session will follow the same format of foam rolling warm up, dynamic warm up, activation followed by a linear or lateral movement based session. This will be followed by an SAQ phase agility drills, sprints and specific speed. I include core lifts as in many other Football programs so they will be based on Olympic lifts, squats and bench pressing. Finally finishing with specific football conditioning training. Each drill and conditioning session will be football specific and where possible technical/skill based. Keeping the format and core movements the same allows for mirroring to occur during off season and in season. During the season oyou would take this down to 2 per week training sessions with maximal intensity.

Session 1

5 minutes-Foam Rolling
10 minutes -Dynamic warm up
10 minutes-Activation stretching
15 minutes-Linear Plymometrics/Linear movement drills
20 minutes-Speed(sprint interval training, speed drills)(This is performed based on the data and loading of sprinting observable during a full average game)
20 minutes-Strength /Power/Plyo I use Olympic lifts for power development 
Snatch 4x5
Front Squat 4x8-12(this is preferred over the back squat)
25 minutes-conditioning and cool down(Sled etc)(sled use is a classic way of conditioning for the sprint speed for the combine)

Session 2

5 minutes-Foam Rolling
10 minutes -Dynamic stretching
10 minutes-Activation stretching
15 minutes-Lateral Plymometrics/Lateral movement Warm Up
20 minutes-Speed(sprint interval training, speed drills)
20 minutes-Strength /Power/Plyo I use Olympic lifts for power development 
Power Clean 4x5
Bench Press 4x8-12

25 minutes-conditioning and cool down

Session 3

5 minutes-Foam Rolling
10 minutes -Dynamic stretching
10 minutes-Activation stretching
15 minutes-Linear Plymometrics/Linear movement Warm Up
20 minutes-Speed(sprint interval training, speed drills)
20 minutes-Strength /Power/Plyo I use Olympic lifts for power development 
Hang Clean 4x5
Deadlift 4x8-12 (some coaches seem to dislike the deadlift for functional purposes but I have found that training this in conjuction with the front squat allows for better speed and posterior development. two excellent advantages for including both)

25 minutes-conditioning and cool down(Sled etc)

For more detail and to inquire about any drills, exercises and other aspects of this training program please feel free to contact me.


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