When looking at football strength training we often see people that simply use programs that are designed for Olympic powerlifters. The problem is that the football athlete is not preparing for a strongman or a powerlifting competition. Ryan Grigson noticed many improper strength training programs that are implemented by coaches from all around the world.
A much better way to train is to stimulate an actual game while focusing on increasing strength. This is where huge sandbags come into play. The sandbag can allow the player to work from much odder positions while performing movements at angles that are awkward. Bags are always loosely packed. This means that no matter what exercise you do, there is a change happening at every single rep. You do not get into a pre-determined grove and simply perform easy reps since the body needs to constantly adapt to changes.
Using sandbags becomes really important in football training because there are no 2 tackles or blocks that are exactly the same. In many cases the football player needs to jump, spring forward, block and tackle in highly improper positions. This is why it is a very bad idea to focus a strength training workout on weights alone.
Using really good sandbag workout routines can help the football player to:
- Drastically increase core strength.
- Increase strength leakage.
- Teach the body to transfer power.
- Increase shoulder strength so injury possibility is reduced.
A couple of examples of wonderful sandbag exercises that are really good for football athletes are presented below.
Duck Walk And Bearhugs
A sandbag bearhug exercise is considered to be old-school but it is really good for football players. It is really good for grip, pectorals, legs and back. Using this exercise in a combination with a duck walk better recreates the situation of an actual game. As opposed to the regular bearhug exercise, you grab your bag with handles and you hold it closer, not with arms around it. You start in this position and then you start doing a duck walk. For the first training session you normally start with three sets and ten yards. Then, you gradually increase to 6 sets. The back needs to remain really tight and you have to avoid going forward. This helps you stay on your feet when being tackled in a game.
High Repetition Clean And Press
The high repetition C&P (clean and press) is a really good conditioning exercise for all football players. You cannot really perform such an exercise with the use of the barbell. Also, barbell form will always remain the same.
By using the sandbag for the exercise you end up wrestling with the bag as you are working out. Form becomes irrelevant and you need to be much more focused on the actual movement. You end up building mental toughness and physical strength at the same time.
This type of exercise should be used at the end of the football training routine. It puts some extra finishing touches, allowing you to push your limits.