Player Development: The Big Three Lifts

A far cry from my high school days!

A far cry from my high school days!

We all know the importance of a sound, year round weight training program. In fact, would I be fair in saying that outside of practice, weight training is the most important ingredient in the development of a football player? It’s the basic that all development is built around.  It hasn’t always been that way. I can remember way back in the sixties when I played, that weight training, at least in our neck of the woods, was practically a non issue. Our coach instituted a program in the spring of 1968 but it was such a new idea to us we didn’t take it as serious as we should have. Of course, I regret that attitude now. It really wasn’t much of a lifting program, he just got out some old barbells and put them out on some gym mats. But hey, it was a start! These days, even many high school facilities are state of the art with several power stations and first class equipment. Even as recently as 15-20 years ago there was still some resistance to my attempt to implement a year round weight training program. I remember my principal telling me that we only needed to lift 6-8 weeks prior to the season. No more than that. Yeah, he really believed that. That’s almost unimaginable now.

But why weight train and what program is best? Well, as far as the first question, that’s obvious to most. It helps make your players bigger, faster, and stronger. Also, research has shown that it helps prevent injuries. As far as the second question, which program is best? That’s up to each coach to decide but I’m of the opinion that just about any program is good as long as it’s done with correct technique, regularly, and with intensity. The key is to decide what you want, implement it, then commit to it. I like building my lifting program around three lifts; the squat, the clean, and the bench.

Parallel Squat - This lift has been called the “king of lifts” for athletes and for good reason. No lift takes care of so many of our largest, most powerful muscles as the squat. Done properly with good technique (YOU MUST GO TO PARALLEL), it builds leg and hip power, explosiveness, and speed, all essential for improving as a football player.

Cleans - I love cleans. This lift builds explosiveness in the hips. The large leg muscles and hips are trained to move powerfully and quickly. It trains the fast twitch muscle fibers which are essential for football. It’s a great lift and once learned, the kids really get into it.

Bench Press - Of course, this lift develops upper body strength and is the most popular with kids. “How much can you bench?” is a common question among high school athletes. It’s pushing motion simulates the blocking motion and is useful for the motion to shed and play off blocks. It’s a good lift but I also think the incline bench can be just as effective for football players. It should be noted that many in the field of player development do not consider the strength gained from the bench to be as important as speed, agility, and power, for playing the sport of football. But should we include the bench ( or 2016FootballLiftathon334incline) as a core lift? Heck yeah.

If I could only do three lifts for my program, it would be these three. But there are other good lifts as well, like the dead lift, or military press that may fit in also. It all comes down to time and space. How much time do you want to devote to weight training and what kind of facilities do you have? Depending on time, auxiliary lifts are a great addition to any program. Things like bicep curls, tricep extensions, quad extensions, leg curls, calf raises, lat pull downs, sit ups,…my goodness, this could go on forever. There are so many, just decide which are best for your team.

One last consideration, what about the multi sport athlete? What if the basketball coach has a different program? Or the wrestling coach, or the baseball coach? This can become a problem and that will be addressed next week. For now, let us know your thoughts on weight training and how you implement into your total program. We love to hear from you.

Coach L. Albaugh     DBLITY

Speaking of developing players… the staff at Dallas HS, OR is doing an incredible job building great football players.  Coach Andy Jackson left the room buzzing after his presentation on Developing An Elite Defense at Practice during the 3-5-3 Clinic 2017.  “I’m 100% confident that my team will play better defense next year simply because I saw this presentation.”  – Head Coach Nate Albaugh | Champaign Central, IL

Developing An Elite Defense at Practice

3-5-3 DrillsThis presentation is the game changer among a great video series.  It is clear to see that this is where Coach Jackson’s passion lies and they have truly made a difference in their defense simply from their practice style and philosophies.  Find out why practice is so important and how they use every minute to truly train their young athletes to play the game at a high level.  Learn how they drill pursuit, leverage, tackling, and fundamentals.  This video includes drill footage.  “I am leaving here humbled at how Coach Jackson and his staff are out coaching us.” Nate Albaugh.

53 Minutes  $29.95

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