Get NFL-Ready with this Football Strength Program

It’s the dog days of summer, and sports news is dominated by talk of where Terrell Owens is signing (answer: Cincinnati, where he’ll be catching passes and jostling for SportsCenter coverage alongside Chad Ochocinco). And whether Bret Favre is coming back to the Minnesota Vikings (answer: come on, of course he is). And obviously, who is the best team going into the season (answer: the Indianapolis Colts? The Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints? The Dallas Cowboys? The New York Jets? Who knows?)

Yes, it must be the start of NFL training camp, where all our favorite teams are still contenders (even my Chicago Bears), and talk of fantasy league drafts and first-week matchups overtake the ESPN airwaves and morning drive-time radio shows. In honor of this celebration-worthy occasion, we turn our attention to the aspiring gridiron greats in high schools across the nation, who themselves are readying for the fall, with two high-impact workouts that can help you hit harder and muscle past defenders. Pair these with football-specific speed and agility drills, and you’ll be a more complete player when it’s time to slip into the pads and step onto the field under the Friday night lights.

Workout 1: Lower-Body Strength

Do this workout twice a week, either in the afternoon by itself or in the morning followed by drills and cardio.

Exercise 
Sets   
Reps
               
Reverse Barbell Power-Rack Squat* 
5
8-10
Hack Squat   
4
20-25
Barbell Romanian Deadlift
5  
8-10
Leg Press
4   
20-25
Leg-Press Calf Raise
4   
20-25
Walking Dumbbell Lunge (with straps)  
3 
20 steps per leg

 * Place the safety bars at the point where you would finish in the down position, and set the bar on them. Load the bar, and then situate yourself under it in full squat position. From there, drive up through your heels to a standing position. Repeat, resting the bar for 5 seconds on the safeties between each rep.

Workout 2: Upper-Body Strength

Do this workout twice a week, either in the afternoon by itself or in the morning followed by drills and cardio.

Exercise
Sets
Reps
Partial Deadlift*
5  
5-7
                
T-Bar Row  
4   
20-25
Standing Military Press 
5   
5-7
Smith-Machine Flat Bench Press with Throw
5  
5-7
  
Dumbbell Flat-Bench Skullcrusher         
4   
20-25
Close Hammer Grip Pull-Up  
3   
To failure
Dumbbell Farmer’s Walk   
2
To failure

* Set the pins so that you’re performing a deadlift through the upper three-fourths of the normal range of motion.

  Place a flat bench within a Smith machine, load the bar with 50-60% of your max, and lie back into position, hands spaced less-than-shoulder-width apart. From there, do a traditional close-grip press explosively, letting go of the bar at the top. Catch it with slightly bent arms before performing the negative and starting the next rep.

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