Football Template

A program is a program is a program is a program, right? Nah, that ain’t me. We know that programs aren’t created equal, but it’s not because one is necessarily better than another. It’s because one is better for an individual or group of similar individuals. This is one concept I teach when I travel to do 70′s Big Workshops along with providing the thought process behind programming.


Peter Upham of Shire Speed and Strength hosted a workshop again, and on Tuesday I was working with one of his athletes. Sean is a “gridiron” (AKA American football) player who is on an interesting training template. It’s a template that fits his available schedule and needs. Peter is unique in that he is the head coach of his gridiron team in addition to owning a gym that coaches many different types athletes. He likes to utilize the Olympic lifts for football players, and it is clearly paying off since Sean’s older brother, Blake, started at left tackle as a freshman at the University of Hawaii. (On a side note, I saw Blake lift last year, and he’s pretty impressive).


These athletes aren’t doing the full Olympic lifts to compete in the sport, but instead to improve their explosiveness and flexibility for football. In other words, they aren’t specialist. The program that Sean is on still has him low bar back squatting and benching along with two days of conditioning that prepare him for the sport. Watch the following video for a description of the program:





The first conditioning day is more focused on all out efforts with complete rest. The second day is more of a work capacity day, and as it gets closer to the season it emulates the intervals of a football game (resting 35 to 40 seconds between sprints up a sand hill, for example). Notice that the program is simple, trains the whole body, and accomplishes the goal of turning a young, lesser experienced fella into a powerful, strong football player. The only thing I suggested as an addition was some more posterior chain work (perhaps in the form of good mornings with the band around the neck — more on these later).


Programs don’t have to be complicated to do well. This is an example of one for a specific individual in a specific situation with specific goals, yet the program could be followed by general strength trainees with equal success.