Football Strength & Programming Considerations

Appropriate strength training programs are a crucial component in maximizing strength and evaluating positive and negative effects on anaerobic performance. Furthermore understanding these concepts can help to create procedures to ensure the safety of these athletes during the off-season. Factors such as periodization and exercise sequence must be understood to develop a proper strength-training program. Provided only significant differences were observed between traditional and circuit style training during the hang clean exercise, further research is needed to better understand the difference in strength gains when utilizing each of these exercise sequences. (Johnson, Burns, & Azevedo, 2012).

Overreaching, a technique used during off-season training, is implemented by significantly increasing training volume to maximize adaptation. Organized into three phases, beginning with only strength training, progressing to strength training and high volume conditioning drills and tapering off with 15 football practices over a 30-day period. Significant decreases in squat and power clean were observed following phase II, as well as decreases in sprinting performance after phase I (Moore & Fry, 2007). A lowered training volume may be more beneficial for adaptation for these athletes.

This knowledge of exercise programming can translate to the evaluation of anaerobic power and capacity in comparison to contractile strength. According to (Kin-İsler, Ariburun, Ozkan, Aytar, & Tandogan, 2008), there is a significant correlation between knee extensor strength and anaerobic power and capacity. Correlation between knee flexor strength and anaerobic power can only be seen at large angles, in this particular study, 240 degrees. In addition, no strength measures were correlated with single or repeated sprint ability (Kin-İsler et al., 2008).

Heat acclimation and tolerance have been hypothesized to play an important role in performance during off-season training. The greatest amount of physiological strain occur during the first two days of practice (Yeargin et al., 2006). Though directly having no significant correlation with performance, safety procedures should be implemented due to the rapid exercise progression and clothing and environmental stressors (Yeargin et al., 2006). Uniform and equipment variations during offseason training may have a negative effect on some performance measures. Eliciting metabolic and thermoregulatory responses, helmet and shoulder pads are significantly correlated with decreases in VO2max, when compared to just shorts or helmet alone.

These decreases in VO2max were most predominant when recovering in between drills (Hitchcock, Millard-Stafford, Phillips, & Snow, 2007).


Hitchcock, K. M., Millard-Stafford, M. L., Phillips, J. M., & Snow, T. K. (2007). Metabolic and

Thermoregulatory Responses to a Simulated American Football Practice in the Heat. Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research (Allen Press Publishing Services Inc.), 21(3), 710–717. Johnson, S., Burns, S., & Azevedo, K. (2012). Effects of Exercise Sequence in Resistance-

Training on Strength, Speed, and Agility in High School Football Players. International

Journal of Exercise Science, 5(4), 126–133.

Kin-İsler, A., Ariburun, B., Ozkan, A., Aytar, A., & Tandogan, R. (2008). The relationship

between anaerobic performance, muscle strength and sprint ability in American football

players. Isokinetics & Exercise Science, 16(2), 87–92.

Moore, C. A., & Fry, A. C. (2007). Nonfunctional Overreaching During Off-Season Training for

Skill Position Players in Collegiate American Football. Journal of Strength &

Conditioning Research (Allen Press Publishing Services Inc.), 21(3), 793–800. Yeargin, S. W., Casa, D. J., Armstrong, L. E., Watson, G., Judelson, D. A., Psathas, E., &

Sparrow, S. L. (2006). Heat Acclimatization and Hydration Status of American Football Players During Initial Summer Workouts. Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research