WSBB Blog: How Westside Would Run a NFL Weight Room?
Time to Read: 4min
With the Super Bowl over, we thought it would be a good time to talk football, and how we apply the Westside Barbell Conjugate Method to the sport. Football is a unique sport, it requires the speed of a track athlete, the agility of a basketball player, and the ability to dash out and take punishment like a fighter. Considering the extreme demands of the sport, extreme preparation is necessary to ensure you bring your strongest, fastest, and most resilient players to the field on game day.
Setting Up Training Groups
The first order of business any strength coach should attend to is the intelligent organizing of training groups. Having properly organized training groups can have a tremendous impact on the success of the individuals training within the group. First, groups will be broken down by position. Offensive line will train together, defensive line will train together, linebackers will train together, defensive backs will train together, so on and so forth.
Then, you will want to break those groups down into smaller groups of four, that way a proper training pace can be adhered to opposed to a larger training group with increased rest periods between sets. When dividing players into their training group, you want to assess their strength as well as their mental attitude towards competition. A sound training group should have one or two stronger guys who are aggressive towards competition, along with a couple of players who might not be as strong or as aggressive towards competition.
Once the players are properly grouped and ready to train, it is time to move on to max effort lower.
Position Specific Programming
Programming for football is unique in the fact that each individual position requires differing levels of strength, strength endurance, speed, and agility. Knowing this, a coach must understand the sport and the needs of the players. For instance, it will be common for the offensive and defensive line to work up to max effort singles a few times per month, while a linebacker or running back may stick to top sets of three or five reps utilizing a modified max effort approach given the strength endurance demands their positions call for.
As a lineman, your ability to generate as much force as possible on your initial strike to your opponent will make or break your career. Conversely, skilled position players on both offense and defense require the ability to maintain strength and speed for an increased amount of time given the fact these positions play down the field more often. It isn’t rocket science, program workouts that specifically develop the traits the players in each training group need.
The end goal is linemen that are walking freight trains, and skilled position players that are like killer bees.
The in season training schedule should be a three day per week training program, utilizing a max effort lower day, along with dynamic upper and lower days. Off season training would follow the conventional Westside Barbell four day per week training template. It is important to monitor the recovery times of your players while training during the season.
It is important that a strength coach has the eye to judge recovery and performance, that way proper adjustments to the volume or intensity of the programming can be made.
Max Effort Day
When it comes to football, max effort training is an absolute requirement in order to become the most dominant player you can become. Linemen would focus on exercises such as heavy goodmornings, heavy sumo deadlifts, and heavy box squats. Skill position players, linebackers, and defensive backs would train using similar exercises, except the intensity would be lowered and the volume increased.
Instead of working up to max effort singles like their linemen counterparts, these players would lift to max sets of three or five reps. Exercises would be rotated for all players weekly, and competition between players within each training group would be encouraged.
Dynamic Effort Day
On dynamic effort day, the training would not differ much between the different positions. For dynamic lower, the three week wave model would be followed using the suggested set and rep scheme along with the suggested percentages to go along with them. After a three week wave is complete, the bar will be switched the same as we do with our powerlifters.
For dynamic effort upper training, three week speed waves would be followed by three week volume waves benching five sets of five, gradually increasing the weight over the course of the three weeks. The idea being ending the third week with the heaviest weight you can use while still successfully completing the 5 x 5.
For additional information regarding how we train football players, visit the Westside Barbell website or sign up for the Conjugate Club to unlock the entire library of Westside Barbell sport training information.