Athletes for any sport are expected to perform. Plain and simple. NFL athletes are held to this standard and that requires great preparation.
Each athlete has to prepare differently. For example, the way a lineman trains and prepares is much different than the way a receiver would. Coming to training camp, many athletes could have the questions:
How much strength or explosive strength is needed?
What is an ideal size or weight?
What takes priority, strength or endurance?
The athlete then wonders, “So how should I train?”
These questions are unique for each athlete and each position but regardless of your position you want to exercise your whole body to be the best you can be. Besides your changing your diet for body composition, to train effectively for any position, the priority is simple: cover each of the planes of movement. This will allow you to not only be more functional for everyday life but will allow you to run faster, jump higher, hold back heavy opponents, etc. This is where the basic push, pull, squat, lunge, bend and twist movement patterns (compound movements) come to the rescue.
The best for athletic training, no matter your position are compound exercises. They cover the largest muscle mass and multiple muscle groups, therefore encourage the most muscular growth in the least amount of time making them very practical to a busy athlete. Compound movements activate and strengthen bones and joints, not to mention this also burns the most calories, keeping body fat levels down! Examples would be a chest press, dead lift, squat or the dreaded pull up.
1) Chest Press: PUSH MOVEMENT with Dumbbell or Barbell
Primary muscles worked – Pectoralis major and minor, anterior deltoid (front head of the shoulder) triceps, and the core.
2) Squat: SQUAT MOVEMENT with Dumbbell or Barbell
Primary muscles worked – Quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, spinal erectors, core.
3) Pull Up or Inverted Row: PULL MOVEMENT using Body weight and or weighted vest
Primary muscles worked – Latismuss dorsi, biceps, rhomboid, core
4) Dead Lift: BEND MOVEMENT Dumbbell or Barbell
Primary muscles worked – the entire posterior chain which is the back of the body. Lattismus dorsi, spinal erectors, glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, calves. Even the biceps, forearms, and core!
5) Lunge: LUNGE MOVEMENT Dumbbell or Barbell
Primary muscles worked – The whole lower body. From your lower back, your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, hip flexors and can’t the calves. (See: Train Like the Pros: Critical Calves)
Quadriceps are worked when pushing off the ground and returning to standing.
Hamstrings are worked as you resist and control your descent. Hamstrings directly influence sprinting speed. (See: Working the Hamstrings NFL Style)
Lunges equally work the quadriceps and hamstrings, creating balance. Imbalance results in knee and lower back injuries.
6) Twist: ROTATIONAL MOVEMENT No weight or medicine ball
Primary muscles worked – spinal erectors, abdominals (rectus abdominus and external + internal obliques)
Russian Twist, Paloff Press
In each of these exercises the core acts as a stabilizer, keeping you from bending a wrong way or falling over. Working full body and the core. Multitasking is a great thing. Also, I prefer using dumbbells as they isolate each side of your body evenly, giving symmetry.
Remember quality is better than quantity. Keep your form strict because rushing through a set and sacrificing good form and posture for an extra few pounds is not worth the set back of injury. If that isn’t counterproductive I don’t know what is.
For more on training like the pros and Francis Micheli visit his Pro Player Insider page by clicking here.
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