Workouts to Get in Shape for Football
Football is a physical game, one that demands peak fitness from every player that takes the field. Even large linemen require excellent cardiovascular endurance to maintain a competitive edge play after play. If you’ve never played before, or you haven’t played in a while, getting back to that peak fitness level may seem daunting. To get into shape for football, you’ll need to develop strength, build endurance and establish a base level of agility. A full-body combination of cardio, strength training and football-focused drills will prepare you for the rigors of a complete football season.
Cardiovascular endurance is one of the most important types of fitness necessary for success on the football field. The game requires strength and speed, but the difference between success and failure is the ability to perform consistently at a high level. To develop cardiovascular health run windsprints, go on long-distance runs of 3 miles or more, and perform intervals. For football interval training, run straight for 100 yards, turn and run back 90 yards, turn and run 80 yards and so on until you hit 50 yards. Stop, rest for a couple of minutes then perform the interval exercise again. Cycling and jogging will also help build cardiovascular fitness.
The types of free-weight exercises you perform will depend on your position, but you can achieve a general level of strength through sets of several exercises. Bench presses are the standard upper-body exercise for football. Several sets of bench presses, along with biceps curls, clean-and-jerks, military presses, lat pulldowns, squats and deadlifts will help you establish functional total-body strength that directly translates to most aspects of football. In the months leading up to the season, work out with weights at least three or four times each week.
Drill yourself to develop agility. Footwork is a crucial football skill, and the players that can place their feet exactly where they need to be will have a huge advantage on the field. Simple drills include running laterals, which is basically just running side to side as fast as you can, then shifting immediately to the other direction. Run backward, run up and down stairs, jump rope and do ladder drills at least four times each week.
The physical demands of football are intense, especially when played at the high-school level and beyond. Consult a physician and get a complete physical before undertaking a preparatory football training regimen. Avoid over-training, especially with free weights, but also with drills and cardiovascular exercise. Schedule at least one complete day of rest each week and refrain from performing the same weight-training exercises on consecutive days. If you’ve never played any sport or trained for any other athletic activity, give yourself plenty of time to get into shape before the start of the season.
Bobby R. Goldsmith is a writer and editor with over 12 years of experience in journalism, marketing and academics. His work has been published by the Santa Fe Writers Project, "DASH Literary Journal," the "Inland Valley Daily Bulletin" and WiseGEEK.