Freshman Off Season Workout Program

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Even before the helmets are collected and the washed, high school football players are thinking about the off-season—their opportunity to recover physically and psychologically and to work on improving their performance.  The winter months give football players valuable time to commit to a full off-season football workout program.

How you structure your off-season football workouts can be a huge factor in reaching your strength goals.  The key to your off-season training is to have a plan. Yes, any workout is better than no workout at all, but you will severely limit your potential gains if you fail to follow a program designed to maximize football strength.  The CHALLENGES are multi-sport athletes playing basketball or baseball.  A second challenge with freshman is the other curriculm demands such as state testing and now common core which is asking that reading and writing be incorporated into all other subjects.

That is why this lifting program is a 3-day lifting structure, allowing two other days for other stuff.  For example, a class could lift on Mon, Wed, & Fri while running the mile every Thursday and focusing on something academic (such as common core) every Tuesday.  Personally, I want to really focus on grades, nutrition, and character with our freshman so that I don’t lose them to the “dream stealers” (grades, girls, drugs, gangs) later on.  Additionally, basketball & baseball games tend to fall on Tue & Fridays for us….so I lift on Mon, Wed, & Thur while keeping them in the classroom on Tuesdays & Fridays.   To see what I do in the classroom for see……………

The program is divided into five phases, which build upon each other to increase your strength, size and power.

Phase 1: Stability and Endurance (3 weeks)

Phase 2: Strength and Endurance (3 weeks)

Phase 3: Muscle Building (3 weeks)…..try to time it so these 3 phases end at Easter Break.

Phase 4:  Strength Building (5 weeks)

Phase 5: Explosive Phase (4 weeks)

Phase 1: Stability and Endurance

Goal: Correct muscle imbalances caused by injuries sustained during a grueling season, and build a foundation for heavy lifting and more advanced exercises.

Overview: Focuses primarily on bodyweight and core stability exercises that improve flexibility, core strength and balance, and eliminate imbalances. Intensity (percent of your max) is low and reps are high. Although the weight used may seem easy, remember that the goal is to set the stage for subsequent phases.

Phase 1: Stability and Endurance Training Variables

  • Set / Reps: 3 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Percent of Max: 50-70 percent
  • Duration: 3 weeks
  • WARMUP:  “Lucky 7” to train them how to Power Clean and Snatch.  click here for explanation
  • WARMUP:  Tuck Jumps (Mon); Mini Hurdle Hops (Wed); Broad Jumps (Fri)

NOTE: Videos of every exercise are available on my S.S.X.: Freshman Program DVD and also on my S.S.S.: Exercise Library DVD

Day 1

1st SET OF EXERCISES or HALF OF THE CLASS

  • Bodyweight Squat with hands behind head
  • Knee-to-Elbow Plank
  • Dumbell Press on physioball, chairs, or edge of bench.  Lower Back should not be touching anything.
  • Single-Leg Bent-Over Row
  • T

2nd SET OF EXERCISES or OTHER HALF OF THE CLASS

  • Single-Leg Biceps Curl to Overhead Press (ideally on a Bosu ball….but standing on one leg is fine)
  • Assisted Pull-Ups
  • Glute Bridge
  • Single-Leg Squat With 1 leg on bench / chair / box behind the lifter
  • Plank Kick Throughs

Day 2

1st SET OF EXERCISES or HALF OF THE CLASS

  • Single-Arm, Single-Leg Plank
  • Push-Ups (on a physioball if available)
  • Inverted Row
  • Dumbell Step-Ups With Shoulder Press
  • Overhead Squat

2nd SET OF EXERCISES or OTHER HALF OF THE CLASS

  • Dumbbell Single-Leg RDL
  • Dumbell Shoulder Press while in Squat position
  • Power Clean
  • Dumbbell Pullovers  (on a physioball if available)

Day 3

1st SET OF EXERCISES or HALF OF THE CLASS

  • Seated Shoulder Press  (on a physioball if available)
  • Push Ups
  • Single-Leg Resistance Band Row (pull for four seconds)
  • Pull-Ups (slowly lower for two to three seconds)
  • Straight Leg Dead Lift

2nd SET OF EXERCISES or OTHER HALF OF THE CLASS

  • Dumbbell Bulgarian Split-Squat
  • Explosive Deadlift
  • Leg Rotations  (on a physioball if available)
  • Back Extensions  (on a physioball if available)
  • Dumbell Incline Press

Phase 2: Strength and Endurance

Goal: Continue building a solid foundation with strength exercises to prepare for more advanced workouts.

Overview: Workouts are structured into supersets, each consisting of a strength movement followed by a stabilization exercise. Weight, sets and reps are moderate, but challenging enough to increase your strength and muscular endurance—an essential step before performing heavy lifts.

  • SUPERSETS & Reps: 3 sets of 12 (week 1); 3 sets of 10 (week 2); 4 sets of 8 (week 3)
  • Percent of Max: 70-80 percent (increase by 3-5 pounds per week on each exercise)
  • Frequency: 2 to 4 times per week
  • Duration: 3 weeks
  • Exercise Selection: Superset strength (S) and endurance exercises (E)
  • WARMUP:  “Lucky 7” to train them how to Power Clean and Snatch.  click here for explanation
  • WARMUP:  Seated Box Jumps (Mon); Single-Leg Lateral Mini Hurdle Hops (Tue); Seated Broad Jumps (Fri)

Day 1

1st SET OF EXERCISES or HALF OF THE CLASS

  • (S) Bench Press
  • (E) Pull-Ups or Chin-Ups
  • (S) Dumbbell Plank Rows
  • Balance Single-Leg Skater Squat
  • Supermans

2nd SET OF EXERCISES or OTHER HALF OF THE CLASS

  • (S) Dumbbell Push Press
  • (E) Push-Up (four-second count on way down)
  • Barbell Squat
  • Barbell Rows
  • 1-arm, 1-leg planks

Day 2

1st SET OF EXERCISES or HALF OF THE CLASS

  • (S) Dumbbell Close-Grip Bench
  • (E) Single-Arm Chest Flies (four-second count on way down)
  • (S) Dumbbell Lateral Step-Up and Shoulder Press
  • (E) Alternating-Grip Pull-Ups
  • Power Clean

2nd SET OF EXERCISES or OTHER HALF OF THE CLASS

  • (S) Barbell Bent-Over Rows
  • (E) Single-Arm DB Rows (four-second count on way down)
  • (S) Single-Leg Good Mornings
  • (E) DB Side Lunges
  • Side Plank Holds (hold for two seconds and switch sides)

Day 3

1st SET OF EXERCISES or HALF OF THE CLASS

  • (S) Barbell or Dumbbell Incline Bench
  • (E) Close-Grip Push-Ups
  • (S) Single-Arm Dumbbell Snatch
  • (E) Reverse Flies (four-second count on way down)
  • Explosive Deadlift

2nd SET OF EXERCISES or OTHER HALF OF THE CLASS

  • (S) Single-Arm Dumbbell Rows
  • (E) Pull-Ups
  • (S) Single-Leg Physioball Hamstring Curls
  • (E) Dumbbell Lunges
  • Single-Arm, Single-Leg Plank

Phase 3: Building Muscle using Hypertrophy Training

Goal: Build as much muscle as possible, increase strength to enable you to tackle harder, block better and overpower opponents.   Decrease body fat to increase speed.

Overview: This is where the meat of the program begins. Three full-body routines with two exercises per major body part are designed to achieve a high volume of reps with each muscle group—essential for building muscle. Sets and intensity increase as reps decrease.

  • Sets / Reps: 3 x 10 (week 1); 3 x 8 (week 2); 4 x 6 (week 3)
  • Percent of Max: 75-85 percent (increase by three to five pounds per week on each exercise)
  • Duration: 3 to 4 weeks
  • Exercise Selection: 2 to 3 exercises per muscle group

Day 1

  • Chest
    • Barbell or Dumbbell Bench
    • Physioball Dumbbell Incline Bench
  • Legs
    • Barbell Parallel Squat
    • Dumbbell Single-Leg Skater Squat
  • Shoulders
    • Dumbbell Push Press
    • Bent Over Rows
  • Back
  • Explosive
    • Barbell Snatch
    • Single-Leg Seated Box Jumps (hold landing for one second)

Day 2

  • Chest
    • Dumbbell Close-Grip Bench
    • Side-to-Side Push-Ups
  • Legs
    • Explosive Deadlift
    • Dumbbell Single-Leg Step-Ups
  • Back
    • Barbell Row
    • Alternating-Grip Pull-Up
  • Explosive:
    • Hang Clean
    • Lateral Box Jumps

Day 3

  • Chest
    • Dumbbell or Barbell Incline Bench
    • Dumbbell Reverse-Grip Chest Press
  • Legs
    • Front Squat
    • Good Mornings
  • Shoulders
    • Physioball Jackknife and Push-Up
    • Dumbbell Front Raise
  • Back
    • Dumbbell Shrugs
    • Dumbbell Single-Arm Row
    • Physioball Plank
  • Explosive
    • Box Jumps

Phase 4: Maximum Strength Training

Goal: Develop as much muscular strength as possible so you can outmuscle and overmatch your opponents.

Overview:
 The max strength phase is again centered on a full-body routine, but now you begin to lift heavy weight. You perform two to three exercises for each major body part at 90 to 100 percent of your max. Sets increase, but due to the high intensity, you perform fewer reps, sometimes only one rep per set.

Phase 4: Max Strength Training

  • Sets / Reps: 6×5 (85%);  6×5 (90%); 5×4 (95%); 4×5-4-3-2 (85%-100%); 3×3-2-1 (95%-105%)
  • Percent of Max: 85-100 percent (increase by three to five percent per week on each exercise)
  • Duration: 5 weeks

Day 1

  • Chest
    • Barbell or Dumbbell Bench
    • Single-Arm Dumbbell Incline Bench
  • Leg
    • Barbell Parallel Squat
    • Bulgarian Split-Squat
  • Shoulders
    • Dumbbell Push Press
    • Dumbbell Reverse Deltoid Fly
  • Back
    • Barbell Bent-Over Row
    • Weighted Chin-Ups
  • Explosive
    • Single-Arm Dumbbell Snatch
    • Single-Leg Hurdle To Low Box Jump

Day 2

  • Chest
    • Single-Arm Dumbbell Close-Grip Bench
    • Plyo Push-Up
  • Legs
    • Deadlift
    • Stationary Lunges with weight
  • Shoulders
    • Barbell Split Press
    • Dumbbell Upright Row
  • Back
    • Single-Arm Bent-Over Alternating Dumbbell Row
    • Single-Arm Lat Pulldown
  • Explosive
    • Hand Clean
  • Core and Reactive
    • Depth Jump to High Box Jump

Day 3

  • Chest
    • Dumbbell or Barbell Incline Bench
    • Dumbbell Single-Arm Reverse-Grip Bench
  • Legs
    • Barbell Front Squat
    • Single-Leg Back Extension
  • Shoulders
    • Side-to-Side Jackknife Push-Ups
    • Dumbbells Deep Shoulder Shrug
  • Back
    • Reverse Grip Bent Over Rows
    • Single-Arm Inverted Row
  • Explosive
    • Tire Flips
  • Core and Reactive
    • Weighted Windshield Wipers
    • Short Hurdler Lateral Jump to Linear High Box Jump

Phase 5: Power Training

Goal: Transfer strength into game-speed power so you can apply more force in faster bursts.

Overview: Perform a strength exercise followed immediately by a power exercise that works the same muscles. Strength exercises are low rep, high weight;  Power exercises are high reps, less weight.

Football is a game of strength, however, the man who has an ideal combination of strength and power will win out. A football player must be able to apply more strength in a faster burst.

Sets / Reps: 10×5; 8×3; 6×31-5 (Strength) (Decrease by two reps per week)
• Sets: 8-10 (Power) Decrease by two reps per week
• Percent of Max: 85-100 percent (Strength) / 10-45 percent (Power)
• Duration: 4 weeks

DAY 1

Chest

  • Bench Press (3×5 at 85%; 3×4 at 90%;  3×3 at 95%; 3×1 at 100%)
  • 2 Knee Medicine Ball Power Chest Press  (4×6; 3×8; 3×10; 4×10)

Legs

  • Barbell Parallel Squat (3×5 at 85%; 3×4 at 90%;  3×3 at 95%; 3×1 at 100%)
  • Lunge Jumps  (4×6; 3×8; 3×10; 4×10)

Shoulders

  • Dumbbell Split Press (3×5 at 85%; 3×4 at 90%;  3×3 at 95%; 3×1 at 100%)
  • Resistance Band Standing Reverse Deltoid  (4×6; 3×8; 3×10; 4×10)

Back

  • Dumbbell Alternating Row (3×5 at 85%; 3×4 at 90%;  3×3 at 95%; 3×1 at 100%)
  • Medicine Ball Soccer Throw-ins  (4×6; 3×8; 3×10; 4×10)

Explosive

  • Kettle Swings  (4×6; 3×8; 3×10; 4×10)

Core and Reactive

  • Medicine Ball Front Oblique Throws  (4×6; 3×8; 3×10; 4×10)
  • Depth Jump to 10-yard Sprint  (4×6; 3×8; 3×10; 4×10)

DAY 2

Chest

  • DB Close-Grip Bench (3×5 at 85%; 3×4 at 90%;  3×3 at 95%; 3×1 at 100%)
  • Total Body Plyo Push Up  (4×6; 3×8; 3×10; 4×10)

Legs

  • Explosive Deadlift  (4×6; 3×8; 3×10; 4×10)
  • Seated Medicine Ball Box Jumps  (4×6; 3×8; 3×10; 4×10)

Shoulders

  • Dumbbell Front Deltoid Raise (3×5 at 85%; 3×4 at 90%;  3×3 at 95%; 3×1 at 100%)
  • Power Shrug (3×5 at 85%; 3×4 at 90%;  3×3 at 95%; 3×1 at 100%)

Back

  • Plank Dumbbell Rows (3×5 at 85%; 3×4 at 90%;  3×3 at 95%; 3×1 at 100%)
  • Power Pull-Ups Alternating Grip  (4×6; 3×8; 3×10; 4×10)

Explosive

  • Hang Clean  (4×8 at 85%; 4×6 at 90%; 3×6 at 95%; 3×4 at 100%)

Core and Reactive

  • Depth Jump to Lateral Jump and Sprint (4×6; 3×8; 3×10; 4×10)

DAY 3

Chest

  • Barbell Incline Bench (3×5 at 85%; 3×4 at 90%;  3×3 at 95%; 3×1 at 100%)
  • Medicine Ball Rotational Side Chest Pass  (4×6; 3×8; 3×10; 4×10)

Legs

  • Barbell Front Squat (3×5 at 85%; 3×4 at 90%;  3×3 at 95%; 3×1 at 100%)
  • Good Mornings (4×6; 3×8; 3×10; 4×10)

Shoulders

  • Side-to-Side Jackknife Push-Ups
  • DB In & Outs (4×6; 3×8; 3×10; 4×10)

Back

  • Upright Barbell Rows  (3×5 at 85%; 3×4 at 90%;  3×3 at 95%; 3×1 at 100%)
  • Medicine Ball Overhead Throws on Stability Ball (4×6; 3×8; 3×10; 4×10)

Explosive

  • Barbell Snatch (4×8 at 85%; 4×6 at 90%; 3×6 at 95%; 3×4 at 100%)

Core and Reactive

  • Back Pedal Turn and Sprint (4×6; 3×8; 3×10; 4×10)

 

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About Me

Coach Stewart has coached football for 27 years, winning championships with 6th graders, 8th graders, high school freshman, and high school varsity. He coached 9 years at the youth and freshman level, always serving as head coach. After completing his college at age of 28 he has coached 21 years at the varsity level, 13 as the varsity head coach.

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