Thursday, May 10, 2012

Football Offseason Training: Improve Speed Strength

Offseason is the time to make major improvements in your football strength, power, speed and skills. Speed strength, or how fast your muscles can produce force (power), is the key to improving your speed and power for football. Just getting stronger will not continually improve your speed and power. You must train your muscles to move faster with the correct motions.

Speed strength is a combination of starting speed, explosive speed (maximum velocity in the shortest time) and reactive speed. Proper training methods will produce the strength, power and speed you will need to succeed in football.

A major power training goal is to enhance your body's neuromuscular efficiency, or to have your muscles activate at the right time without wasted motions.

There are five purposes for sports power training:

1. Improve the excitability, sensitivity and reactivity of the neuromuscular system.

2. Improve the rate-of-force production.

3. Increase motor-unit recruitment.

4. Increase motor-unit firing frequency.

5. Increase motor-unit synchronization.

Your training program should be multi-planar (sagittal, frontal, transverse), multi-joint (exercises such as bench press, squats, lunges), multi-dimensional (stabilization, strength, power) , proprioceptively enriched (high neural demand) and sport-specific.

How fast can you accelerate to make the play?

Training with towing sleds will improve your speed acceleration for football. Speed acceleration training with towing sleds is not the place to start when training for acceleration. It is an advanced training method that can cause more harm than good if your body is not ready for it.

Speed acceleration is important because you rarely reach maximum running speed during a football game. So, the player who can accelerate the quickest will make the plays that win football games.

Greek researchers found that athletes training with towing methods (sleds, tires, etc.) improved their running velocity over the first 20 meters (i.e. acceleration) but that overall maximum speed did not improve.

During the offseason, you must convert your raw strength to speed strength to improve your power and speed.

Here are some ways to train your muscles to move faster:

1. Sprinting with maximum effort. You have to train fast to get faster.

2. Do sport-specific plyometric exercises to improve your power.

3. Do weight training exercises at full speed to improve explosive power.

4. Build muscle mass, especially bulky fast twitch muscle fibers. Exercises like squat, deadlift, pullups, rows and glute/ham drops will build large muscle groups. You need enough strength to enhance your power potential.

5. Improve your dynamic flexibility so your body can move efficiently.

Work hard this offseason to make yourself a better player.

Be sure and download your Free Dumbbell and Medicine Ball Metabolic Fat Burner Workouts and start shaping your body faster!

Mark Dilworth, BA, PES
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  1. Great article! I might add that agility is also an essential part of the off season training since its often to most forgot about part of the workout and the most needed at times!

    1. Thanks Peter...definitely agility is part of it as well...too many people train for just straight line speed

  2. Off season training is the best to increase ur muscle strength. Training must still continue if you are serious about the sports.


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