In order to succeed as an offensive or defensive lineman, you have to be big and also explosive and quick. Therefore, a comprehensive workout program for linemen will include weight training to build mass and strength, plyometrics to improve power, agility drills to develop foot speed and conditioning work to build endurance to maintain during drives. Begin your workouts during the off-season. Before each workout, properly warm up with jogging or jumping rope for five to 10 minutes and dynamic stretches.
Hitting the Weights
Weight training helps develop the mass and strength to overcome your opponents. Incorporate four weight-training workouts into your weekly regimen. Focus on your lower-body muscles on Mondays and Wednesdays and your upper-body muscles on Tuesdays and Fridays. According to John Cissik of Human Performance Services, quality exercises for lineman include power cleans, back squats, front squats, lunges, glute-ham raises and deadlifts for the lower body and bench presses, pushups, rear delt raises, bent-over rows and military presses for the upper body. During the off-season, perform three sets of 12 to 15 reps of each exercise to facilitate building mass. When you're two months out from competition, perform three sets of eight to 12 reps, increasing the load you lift. When you have a month to go until competition, perform three sets of six to 12 reps, lifting heavy weights.
Building Explosiveness With Plyometrics
Incorporating plyometrics into your training can improve your ability to explode upon the snap. Bounds, lateral cone hops and box jumps are quality plyometric activities that develop power in the hips and legs. For bounds, stand with your feet under your hips, lower into a quarter squat and then explode into a jump, traveling as far forward as you can. Land and immediately lower to go into the next bound. Lateral cone hops involve jumping side-to-side over a small cone and trying to limit the time your feet are in contact with the floor. Box jumps involve lowering into a quarter squat and then exploding into a jump and landing on top of a plyo box set that’s in front of you. Because of their intensity, limit plyometric work to two days per week. If done on the same days as lower-body weight training, do the plyometrics first so your legs are fresh. Perform two to three sets of six to eight reps each.
Improving Footwork With Agility Drills
The best linemen are known for their ability to be quick on their feet. Scheduling agility drills into your schedule twice per week can help you improve your ability to accelerate, stop and change directions. Incorporate the dot drill, which involves setting five dots on the ground so that they make a square, with each one two feet apart and the final dot set in the center. Start at one dot and two-foot hop to the others, changing up the order of where you jump. Try to perform the drill as quickly as possible, limiting the time your feet are in contact with the dots. You can also include the zig zag run, which involves setting about 10 cones in a vertical line with each one yard apart. Sprint through the cones, crossing over to each side with your inside foot first. Incorporate agility work twice per week, completing the drills before any weight training. Perform each drill five times.
Developing Speed and Conditioning
Linemen aren’t sure how long they’ll need to be on the field and they need to be ready for long possessions. Conditioning activities -- like the shuttle drill and flying 20s -- can help you develop endurance. Lineman don’t typically sprint long distances, so their drills should reflect what their position requires. For the shuttle drill, set three cones in a vertical line with each one five yards apart. Start at the center cone and then sprint to the cone on your left, then change directions and sprint to the cone on the far right. Then, change directions a final time and sprint back to the original cone. Flying 2’s involve running a total of 50 yards, with the first 30 yards being performed at half speed. Gradually increase your pace over the 30 yards so that you’re at an all-out sprint for the final 20 yards. Complete conditioning drills two days per week, performing each drill five times.
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