Tips and Tricks to Train Like an American Football Player
20th April 2017.If you've ever watched a game of American football, there is one thing you may have noticed right away: the players are unlike others from many different sports. They must excel in a variety of physical categories all at once: size, speed, agility, power, and strength all come into play. That level of physical fitness is what allows them to perform such incredible feats of athleticism on the playing field. Naturally, that kind of development doesn't come easily; instead, it is the result of nearly constant training and conditioning. A football player's body is a fine-tuned machine ? it needs to be, or else the whole team could suffer. Are you curious about the way football players train? While you may not be able to replicate a conditioning programme exactly, that doesn't mean you can't approximate the process. If you want to develop a workout that focuses on improving your all-around fitness and allows you to become stronger, replicating an American football workout is not a bad idea. In today's article, we'll look at the mechanics of making that happen. From strength conditioning to intensive cardio, there could be a lot on your plate. Let's begin with a foundation of endurance and general wellness. From there, we'll move on to other important elements.
Creating the ability to endure tough sports sessions
Robust heart and lung health are essential to developing the muscular and cardio endurance necessary to replicate a football player's workout. If you're just starting out, you need to develop your basic fitness here first. That means lots of running or swimming ? any strenuous activity that makes your heart work harder. Once you've mastered those, you can begin developing a different kind of endurance. American football players spend a large amount of time in the gym, pushing themselves further every day. If you normally do five or ten reps of a strength exercise, prepare to go further. Many workout plans recommend sets of up to 20 reps at a time. Over time, you can gradually decrease the number of reps while further increasing the weight. While it is difficult to maintain, this allows your body to acclimate to greater levels of physical strain continually. Work on your stability during this stage. Players must withstand tough hits and stay on their feet to continue moving the ball down the field. Exercises that target your core, like crunches, planks, and flutter kicks, all work to help develop this stability. Exercises that can help you hone your balance like backwards leg raises are also ideal at this stage. The specific exercises you choose are less important than the number of reps and their intensity level. If you develop a stronger core and work on the ability to run for several miles without a rest, you're already on the right path. Next, let's think about adding some of that bulky muscle mass.
Pack on muscle through the right diet and exercise
Players in the NFL don't bulk up just because it looks impressive. In combination with the core strength you're developing, that muscle mass allows players to press forward through defenders. When two or even three men are trying to stop you from going forward, it pays to spend time in the gym developing your muscles. To work on something approaching an American football player's physique, we'll focus both on eating right and working out correctly. Caloric intake is one thing players watch closely. Figure out how much you need to add muscle mass effectively. A good rule of thumb is that for every one pound of body weight, you need to consume 19 calories each day. In other words, someone who weighs about 160 pounds would need to eat nearly 3000 calories of food daily ? while also working out heavily in the gym. Just because you need so many calories doesn't mean that they should come from junk. Think carefully about the foods you consume. Eat whole, unprocessed items whenever possible, including plenty of vegetables. During bulking phases, concentrate primarily on good carbs for energy and lean proteins to arm your muscles cells with the materials for rebuilding. Meanwhile, focus on exercises in the gym that will help you add mass. These include deadlifts, the hang clean, and other major weight-based exercises. Though such heavy lifting is intimidating for newcomers, give it your all just like the players do ? and don't be afraid to ask others in the gym for assistance, advice, or a spotter.
Create explosive movement potential with power training
A major entertainment aspect of American football is the suddenness with which big plays develop. It seems like nothing is happening, and then suddenly, a player breaks away with a sudden burst of speed. In other cases, a player might "throw a block" so hard that another player falls to the ground and loses the football. Being able to access deep reserves of sudden muscular power is a quintessential part of the football training regimen. How can you develop that ability? There are many specialised exercises that team trainers developed to make it easier for players to gain these skills. However, there are other things you can try, too. Try box jumps first as a way to find the "feeling" for an "explosive" burst of power. In the gym, find a suitable box or platform for aerobics. Steady yourself, then jump suddenly up onto the box with box legs. Don't stiffen your knees; instead, absorb and direct the force into the box. Step off and repeat. Over time, raise the height of the box. This method develops the muscles responsible for quick movement. Sprints, like the 40-yard dash, also help improve explosiveness. Try doing a dash while pushing a weighted sledge; not only will the extra resistance provide better development, but it forces your legs to gain strength. Lunges, push-ups, and more of the "hang clean" weight training will also be good to include in any of your "power" workout days.
Build speed and agility for quick movements in the game
Finally, let's drill down on how to develop your footwork. Much like boxing, quick feet are an essential part of successfully playing this game. Luckily, drilling for agility only requires equipment as simple as plastic cones or some other marking system. By laying down different patterns on the ground, you can challenge yourself to move faster and more precisely. Before we begin with cone drills, grab your jump rope. It's not just a schoolyard toy ? it's an essential agility training tool. Spin the rope quickly and jump up and down over it ? your feet shouldn't leave the ground by much. Try to leave just enough room for the rope to pass. Side to side and back and forth jumps also work well. The faster you spin the rope, the quicker your feet must move. You'll rapidly understand when and how to move to avoid tangling yourself in the rope. Set up a straight line of cones. Run diagonally to the first cone, then suddenly cut back towards it to run between the next cone and the first one. Do this as you go down the line. These rapid changes in direction condition you for agility. For a similar drill, begin the same way but use only one foot to push your body back towards the first one. Now, as fast as you can, zig-zag between the remaining cones. Turn around and do it again. These are just two examples, but they are very effective ways to strengthen the legs and boost their speed.
Combine all these elements into a full body football workout
Taking on the challenge of an American football player's training style isn't easy, but it can be very rewarding. Switching to the type of "whole body" approach to fitness used by these players can help you develop a broad base of athletic abilities all at once. It takes lots of hard work over a long period ? remember, these players spend many months in the offseason working out to maintain their bodies. All of that is before they pick up the more intensive schedule of the annual season, too! While you won't need to don pads and run routes anytime soon, you can still benefit from this type of workout. Try it out, and when you need a little motivation, just imagine you're on the gridiron, pushing past players on the way to the end zone! Follow @SportNessUK