Training for football
By Dr. John Bergfeld and
Dr. Jason L. Koh
Seven Steps to Increase Speed
Speed is the horizontal movement from point A to point B and is measured in seconds. The increase in an individual's speed is based on two factors, stride length and stride step frequency. If you lengthen the stride by one penny, you decrease the 40 yard time by two-tenths of a second. Increasing step frequency will also increase your overall speed.
This article will assist you in designing a resistance training program that can increase your athletes' stride length and frequency.
Specificity of Conditioning
Develop a conditioning program based on the way you compete. The movements that are performed in the weight room should be similar to competition. If you compete in short-burst explosive movements, then your training should be short-burst explosive movements. A 100-meter sprinter should be lifting moderate to heavy weight in an explosive nature.
- Lunges -- These are excellent for stride lengthening and strengthening the muscles used for running. The stride of the lunge should be long enough to create a stretch in the leg muscles but not to overextend the body. The proper position is for the front foot to be perpendicular to the floor with the knee not over the toe. The trail leg should be slightly bent and not touching the floor. The chest should be upright and shoulders back. Press the leg back to the starting position and alternate legs.
- Sprinter Step-Ups -- This movement is similar to a press and a lunge, except you use a box or bench approximately 12 to 16 inches high. Place one foot on the box and the other on the ground. Press the body up with the leg on the box while trying not to use the trail leg (raising the toes in the air will assure minimal use of the leg). Bring the trail leg through not touching the box and finish in a high knee bent position as if you would continue up the stairs. Return the leg to the floor keeping the other on the bench.
- Squats -- This is an excellent strengthening exercise for the lower body, however, it is routinely performed using improper technique. Proper technique should follow these guidelines: Place bar across the shoulders. Stand with feet shoulder width apart (inside of foot is as wide as shoulders). Lower the body by bending at the hips first pushing the butt out. The knees should not move forward over the toes. The chest should be upright or in proper posture. The eyes should be looking straight forward not up at the ceiling. Descend until the tops of the thighs are parallel to the floor. Press through the heels of your feet, do not elevate your heels off the ground. Your shoulders should travel in a straight line when lowering and raising the bar.
- Leg Presses -- Depending on the machine that you can utilize, this is an adequate substitution for the squat. I still feel the squat is a better lift because of the body movement involved in the lift. The individual has to balance the bar and control the entire movement. When you run nothing is controlling your path or direction. I encourage athletes to train one leg at a time. This will simulate the running motion of one leg being fixed on the ground at one time.
- Dumbbell Push Press -- The push press is a shoulder press with a jump. The main context of the press is the lower body pushes the weights upward, not the arms. Place the dumbbells at the shoulders, lower the body to a ¼ squat. Push the hips upward as if you were jumping and controlling the dumbbells overhead. Finish with a straight arm press overhead. Lower the weights to your shoulders and repeat.
- Stiff Leg Deadlifts -- This is a simple movement that strengthens the hamstrings and lower back while stretching them at the same time. Stand erect with feet together and knees slightly bent. Bend over at the waist and reach towards the toes. Holding dumbbells in your hands will add to the resistance and stretch. Hold the lowered position for a count of 2 then return to starting position.
- Calf Raises -- This movement can be done with a leg press machine or as a standing calf raise. The seated calf raise works the soleus of the
lower leg which lies under the belly of the calf muscle. It is strengthened in a bent leg position. The gastrocnemius muscle is the calf muscle that is on
the surface of the lower leg and is strengthened in a straight leg position.
These resistance exercises are specific to running style. The lunges and step-ups duplicate the stride. The squats and leg presses increase the strength in the hips and lower body. The push presses incorporate an explosive action in the leg muscles. The stiff leg deadlifts stretch the hamstring to assist with stride lengthening.
This workout program is based on a light and a heavy day routine. The heavy day consists of lower reps with increased weight, and the light day is moderate to light weight with high reps. The workout should be done 2 days per week. (The competition day can be classified as a heavy workout day.) The ideal weekly workout step-up would look similar to the following.
|Mon ||Tues ||Wed ||Thu ||Fri ||Sat ||Sun|
|Light Workout ||Meet ||Practice ||Heavy Workout|| Light Practice ||Meet ||Active Recovery|
|Exercise ||Sets ||Reps ||Recovery|
|Squats ||2-3 ||8-12 ||45 seconds|
|Step-ups ||2-3 ||8-12 ||45 seconds|
|Walk lunges ||2 ||10-15 ||30 seconds|
|Stiff deads ||2 ||12 ||30 seconds|
|Calf Raises ||3 ||15 ||30 seconds|
|Exercise ||Sets ||Reps ||Recovery|
|Squats ||2-3 ||6-8 ||90 seconds|
|Step-ups ||2-3 ||4-8 ||90 seconds|
|Walk lunges ||2 ||6-10 ||90 seconds|
|Stiff deads ||2 ||8 each ||90 seconds|
|Calf Raises ||3 ||10 ||45 seconds|
This program is designed for the in-season conditioning of a sprinter.
This is the strength component of a sprint training program. There are speed training techniques that can enhance the speed and performance of the sprinter as well. These items are not discussed in the article but are vital to the program for a sprinter and need to be addressed in the off-season conditioning of a sprinter or other athlete.
The information, including opinions and recommendations, contained in this website is for educational purposes only. Such information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. No one should act upon any information provided in this website without first seeking medical advice from a qualified medical physician.