Now that the NFL season has come to an end, it is time for players to start their offseason football training program. Unfortunately as I predicted in Part 1 and Part 2, the injury rate for the NFL hit an all time high. Even if Greg Williams hadn’t been paying for HITS, the injury rate was extremely high. Now that may just be my perception, because it is the outcome I expected. However, I am relatively sure the numbers are there. I know here in Jacksonville, the home team placed a total of 27 players on the injured reserve list during the 2011 season, more than half of an active NFL roster. I find it hard to believe that it is just a coincidence. The complete lack of an offseason football training program, and the reduced work during the season cost a lot of players a lot of playing time.
How Important is Conditioning in a Football Training Program?
More importantly, how does this apply to you? Well besides killing your fantasy football teams chances, you should learn from the high priced athletes mistakes. Sometimes less work is not better. When they negotiated the new CBA, the thought was that reducing the workload would prolong players careers. Unfortunately, when you reduce it too much it has the opposite effect. Players did not put in enough time to build their conditioning level to a point where they could withstand the season.
So how does an NFL player’s offseason football training program apply to you?
What can you learn from football conditioning drills to improve your athleticism and conditioning levels. Well if you have been a regular at this site you have learned that there is a new trend in strength and conditioning. The implementation of strongman training has had a direct carryover to the field of play. Football players regularly use strongman training in their football training program. Again, how does that apply to you? Pretty simple, if you want to increase your overall strength and conditioning level you should add elements of a strongman workout to your training.
Top 5 Conditioning Exercises
- Tire Flip
- Sledgehammer Swings
- The Prowler Sled
- Farmers Walk
- Keg Carry
Tire Flip: This is a staple of any strongman workout. Flipping a huge tire requires strength and explosiveness. For football players is also better mimics the sport they play. The best part about the big tire is that you can find it for FREE. Tire companies in your local area will be glad to give you as many huge tractor tires as you can find a place for, otherwise they have to pay to have them disposed of.
Sledgehammer Swings: This is another great strength and conditioning exercise. Now that you have your big tire, go out and buy a sledgehammer and beat the hell out of it. Sledgehammer swing build your grip, forearms, abs, as well as increasing conditioning and work capacity. It is best to do them for time, not for reps. 30 secs of work to 30 secs of rest is a good place to start.
The Prowler Sled: This is one of the best pieces of equipment for conditioning. Entire articles have been written on the many different uses of this very versatile piece of conditioning equipment. It builds your posterior chain while increasing your work capacity. If you want to take your conditioning levels to new heights this is a must have for your toy box.
Farmers Walk: This is another staple of a strongman’s workout. It works the grip, shoulders, traps, as well as strengthening your core. Farmers walks can be done for distance, or can be done for time. It really depends on your goals. Just make sure that you have ample area to do them, and be sure to track your progress so you can continue to improve.
Keg Carry: This is similar to the farmers walk, except with the keg you can carry it many different ways. Find a keg is pretty easy, then fill it with water and or pea gravel. Using water makes it unstable, and increases the difficulty. Again, like the famers walk you can do the keg carry for time or distance. Be sure to mix in some overhead carries with the keg. Carrying things over your head is one of the best ab workouts ever. Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself.
There you go, 5 of the best conditioning exercises that you may or may not already be doing. If you training is getting stale and you need something to break you out of your rut, one of these exercises might do just the trick. Summer is almost here, so get outside, and get some much needed vitamin D. You always wanted to play professional football, and if it wasn’t for that high school coach that had it in for you, you would. Well now you can at least train like an NFL player. Unfortunately it doesn’t come with the healthy pay raise, but it will increase your strength and conditioning levels. Let’s hope, for my fantasy football team’s sake and for their own, the players get serious about their offseason football training program.