Offensive Lineman Speed Workouts
Casual football fans may not be aware of tthe importance of speed for offensive lineman. The higher the level of football, the more offensive linemen need to have speed and quickness, because their opponents constantly improve their speed. Speed allows an offensive lineman to get to the point of attack quicker than his opponent.
At the NFL Combine, offensive linemen just like players in every other position are tested in the 40-yard dash. In a game though, the farthest an offensive lineman travels in an average play is about 10 yards, or 20 on a screen pass. Therefore, as an offensive lineman, you should focus your sprint work on 10- and 20-yard sprints. Get in a three-point offensive lineman stance, with two feet and one hand on the ground. Sprint forward while trying to stay as low as possible. Have someone time your sprints with a stopwatch so you can try to improve your time.
Try the side shuffle for a lateral quickness exercise. Start in a two-point stance -- both feet on the ground and bending at the knees-- and shuffle your feet to one side. If you shuffle to the right, start with your right foot so that your feet will not cross over each other. This will help your balance. To quantify this exercise, set up cones 10 yards apart. Start at one, and shuffle to the other and back. Check a stopwatch to see how you did.
Pass Protection Speed
One of the most important characteristics of high-level offensive linemen is their ability to protect the quarterback on a pass play. You do this by getting your body into the right position -- between your quarterback and the opposition's defensive linemen. The defensive linemen will likely be trying to run to the quarterback, so you have to keep your body between them. The technique used is called a kick slide.
To practice the kick slide, start in your offensive lineman stance. If you are on the left side of the line, kick your left foot back almost as far as you can, and slide your right foot to close the distance and find your balance. Repeat as you go back. If you are on the right side, reverse everything. Practice this in 10-yard segments, and have an assistant time how long it takes you.
Especially in comparison to other positions, offensive linemen probably spend more time in the weight room than they do outside. Speed can be worked on in the weight room also. Squats will help work out your quadriceps and gluteus maximus. Use a glute-hamstring machine to work those two muscle groups. Also, a four-way hip-flexor machine can provide hip flexibility, an area that offensive lineman tend to overlook.
Adam Donnelly holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of Miami. When not writing, he is a high school math teacher, football coach and weightlifting coach.