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Football Conditioning Introduction to Weightlifting


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Every position on the football field requires different skill sets. Tight Ends and Linebackers need to have strong explosive legs, a tough upper body and muscular/bulky frame to take on defensive ends and offensive lineman. While at the same time needing speed and quickness to elude defensive secondary and guard 1 on1 wide receivers and running backs. On the other hand, Defensive Lineman and Offensive Lineman require big bulky frames, strong legs, brawny upper body and explosion/power for short distances. Finally, Quarterbacks, Wide Receivers, Running Backs and Defensive Backs, have to focus on developing their bodies to be lean, quick, fast, strong upper body and explosive.

Due to the unique nature of each position and different skill requirements, each group requires different lifting workouts. Therefore, I have developed workouts that will specifically address the needs of each position. These workouts are designed to enhance and strengthen the aspects of the each players needs, and if used correctly will greatly boost a player's ability to excel.

Remember! Proper technique is critical for this lifting program to function properly.

Explanation of Repetitions and Sets

The workout strategy that is taught in these articles is referred to as a “High Intensity" workout. Many NFL and College team use “High Intensity" workouts instead of the traditional power lifting where the sets and repetitions are based upon a 1 MAXIMUM REPETITION. In this strategy, the athlete will execute each lift based upon their ability to execute the recommended number of repetitions. NOTHING WILL BE BASED UPON A 1 MAXIMUM REPETION. For example, if the set requires 8-10 repetitions, the athlete will find the appropriate weight to where the 8th or 10th repetition becomes very difficult to lift. In fact, it should feel where it would be impossible to execute a 9th or 11th repetition. However, you do not want the weight so heavy you cannot even lift the 5th or 6th repetition. You are trying to find the right amount of weight for 1 set, all you can do is 8-10 repetitions.

Selecting the exact amount of weight for each set will take some time to figure out. The best way to find the correct weight is to do a full weeks worth of lifts and experiment with the amount of weigh for each lift. If you were able to do all the necessary repetitions, you probably need to add more weight. If the lifts were too difficult and you could not obtain the necessary repetitions, you may need to decrease the weight the next time. After a good 2-3 weeks of using these workouts you will find the appropriate weight.

Warm-up Sets

In each workout you will notice that for each lift, it is required to perform a WARM UP SET, and the lift itself. A WARM UP SET is where you will put a light amount of weight onto the bar to get your muscles “warmed up" for the actual lift itself. You want to do 8-10 repetitions during the warm up; however, you do not want to sacrifice technique. The world record holder in the bench press once told me that, “No matter the amount of weight you have on the bar, warm up or 1 repetition max, you should lift it exactly the same speed and technique each time. "

Casey Poppinga is a former NFL player. He is a writer for the football coaching site


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