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Training for Football: A 30-minute SAQ Workout

ISSA, International Sports Sciences Association, Certified Personal Trainer, ISSAonline, Training for Football: A 30-minute SAQ Workout

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To improve performance in any sport, you must follow a proper strength training program. Strength training is a huge part of football and helps improve many athletic abilities. These include explosiveness, speed, agility, and conditioning. Learn how to optimize your client’s performance on and off the football field

Improving Athletic Performance for Football

Speed, agility, and quickness (SAQ) are critical skills to improve, especially if you play football. It’s important that on every set, rep, and exercise you produce maximum effort. This will ensure you get the most out of every workout.

SAQ training is a major component to improving overall athletic performance. To improve these abilities, you must use strength training to your advantage. Resistance training allows you to increase speed by improving a wide range of abilities. One of the most important being force production. 

Exercises such as barbell back squats, power cleans, and split jerks can increase force production through improving power output. On the other hand, agility drills such as ladder drills and cone drills help with speed, footwork, and quickness.

There are plenty of drills and exercises that improve the athletic abilities that football requires. Before we dive into the actual workout, it's important for you to understand the difference between speed, agility, and quickness. These terms are sometimes used interchangeably because of their similarities. Although the way you train for each component is different.  

  • Speed is how fast you can move from point A to point B. 
  • Agility is your ability to move fast and change direction at the same time. 
  • Quickness is how fast an athlete can react as they change body position.

30-Minute Football Workout

This workout will include speed and agility drills, power exercises, and strength training. We’ll offer different variations for each of the SAQ components. This will ensure proficiency in many areas leading to improved football performance. You will need 30 minutes to complete the entire workout.

The Warm-Up

A proper warm-up helps prepare the body for strenuous activity while also reducing the threat of injury. It also dilates the blood vessels, which ensures the muscles are getting enough oxygen to perform the workout effectively.

#1 Walking Knee Hugs

ISSA, International Sports Sciences Association, Certified Personal Trainer, ISSAonline, Training for Football: A 30-minute SAQ Workout, Walking Knee Hugs

Starting on the goal line pull one knee into your chest. Return your foot to the ground and repeat on the opposite leg. As you switch legs make sure to continue moving in the forward direction. Complete walking knee hugs for a total of 10 yards forward and 10 yards backward. 

#2 Walking Quad Stretch

ISSA, International Sports Sciences Association, Certified Personal Trainer, ISSAonline, Training for Football: A 30-minute SAQ Workout, Walking Quad Stretch

At the goal line, bend one leg up behind your body. Grab the top of your foot and pull it into your glutes. Hold for 1-3 seconds while stretching your quad, then bring your foot back to the ground. When you rotate to the opposite leg be sure to take a step forward. Continue moving in the forward direction for 10 yards.

#3 External and Internal Hip Rotation

In a standing position, lift one leg up out to the side of the body. In a circular motion bring that leg forward, rotating it internally. This is internal hip rotation, as you bring the leg from out to in. External hip rotation is the opposite of internal hip rotation. For external hip rotation, bring your leg straight up and in front of the body. Now rotate out and away from the body back to where you started. Repeat 10 internal hip rotations and 10 external hip rotations on each leg.

#4 Lateral Step Shuffle

ISSA, International Sports Sciences Association, Certified Personal Trainer, ISSAonline, Training for Football: A 30-minute SAQ Workout, Lateral Step Shuffle

Start with your right foot on the stepper, begin shuffling over the platform to the right. As you shuffle laterally to the right and back to the left, always keep one foot on the stepper. Repeat for 30 seconds. 

The Workout

#1 Box Jumps

Stand in front of a box and snap your arms down to your side. At the same time, bend at your hips and knees. Quickly bring your arms forward and extend at the knees and hips jumping up onto the box. 

Repeat for 3 sets of 3 reps. Rest for up to 1 min in between sets.

#2 Ladder Drills

Begin at the end of the ladder with your knees bent. Step laterally into the square with each foot and step out with the outside foot. Continue this as quickly as possible until you reach the end of the ladder. 

Repeat for 6 sets. Rest for up to 20 seconds in between sets. 

#3 Speed Barbell Back Squat

Position yourself underneath the bar. Rest the bar in the correct position on your back, not your neck. Lift the bar off the rack by driving your hips forward. Take one step back and position your feet shoulder or hip width-apart. Squat down by bending at your knees and hips. Maintain a flat back and keep your chest up. Look straight ahead throughout each rep. When you reach the bottom of the squat, stand back up and explosively extend your hips. 

Perform 3 sets of 5 reps. Rest for up to 2 minutes in between sets. 

#4 Barbell Bench Press

Lie on the bench with your eyes under the bar. Grip the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart. Unrack the bar and bring it right above your mid-chest. Lower the bar until it reaches your chest and explode back up. 

Perform 5 sets of 3 reps. 

#5 Split Squat Jumps

Begin in a standing position with your feet together. Jump into the air and land in a split squat. One leg should be in front of the other. The front leg will have the knee bent, while the back leg balances the body on the toes. Repeat consecutively by jumping in the air and switching both legs. 

Repeat for 3 sets of 6 reps on each leg. 

#6 Sled Pushes

Start by gripping the sled up high with your arms extended. Your body should be positioned at a 45-degree angle. Begin moving the sled by driving your front leg forward and pushing through the back leg. Rotate and increase your speed. 

Sprint for 3 sets of 25 yards.

The Cool Down

#1 Hip Flexor Stretch

In a lunge position, allow your back leg to stretch as far back as possible. At the same time, let your back knee drop toward the ground. Be sure to keep your front leg bent at the knee to support your positioning. Sit up tall and hold for 20 seconds on each leg.

#2 Foam Roll - Hamstrings

Place a foam roller underneath both legs. Use your arms to move your body back and forth. Be sure to foam roll from the glute and stop right before the knee. Perform for 30 seconds.

#3 Overhead Triceps and Shoulder Stretch

ISSA, International Sports Sciences Association, Certified Personal Trainer, ISSAonline, Training for Football: A 30-minute SAQ Workout, Overhead Triceps and Shoulder Stretch

In a standing position, bring one arm overhead and drop your forearm behind you. Grab right above your elbow and pull across the back of the body. Hold for 30 seconds then repeat on the other side. 

Great work! You have completed the football workout in 30 minutes!

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