How to get faster for football...a question filled with gimmick answers and hucksters trying to stick you for your papers. Forgetting all the cones and parachutes that you have to get past, you also have "coaches" giving incorrect info on how to effectively use plyometrics to get faster for football and decrease your 40-time.
How do we really go about increasing football speed?
- Strength is the basis for speed. Cones and gimmicks are an enormous waste of time...unless your goal is to get faster at running cone drills and not football.
- You need to develop explosiveness through high speed exercises
- To really get faster for football, you need to add Plyometrics to your Strength Program
People love to complain when I write about strength's effect on football speed...they really do get angry when I tell them that to get faster for football you have to get stronger!
Usually it's talking about how some big guy on the team Squats "like 400lbs" and is "mad slow" but there's a small dude who isn't that strong but runs fast. It then goes on to explain how my program sucks and SPARQ training rulez cause NFL flavor of the week endorses it.
Bullocks, I say.
One, your "big" friend isn't strong if he's only squatting 400lbs. Let's say the guy weighs 285. That's about 1.4 x bodyweight. Now, when sprinting we sometimes produce 2, 3, 4 or even 5x's bodyweight in terms of force. Looking at those numbers, do you think your big friend will be fast?
Now let's look at that smaller guy who is fast. He only squats 365. But, he weighs 180. He's using twice his bodyweight. While he's not as "strong" as the big guy in terms of weight on the bar, he is relatively stronger...he lifts more weight in relation to his bodyweight than the big dude.
So, in order to get faster for football, we need to figure out just what strong is. Mr. 285lb'er should be Squatting between 550 and 600 to even begin to realize his speed potential. This is why I constantly harp on strength!
But, even if you are able to get this much stronger, many complain that they don't have that explosive start. This is because they lack starting strength and need to do more Deadlifts and Box Squats.
What they lack is reactive ability.
Reactive Ability is displayed when your muscles and tendons react to force and are stretched just before doing something explosive. When training for football agility or to get faster for football, we have to focus on training your reactive ability. We often refer to reactive ability as explosiveness.
And, when training your Reactive ability, you must keep several points in mind:
- The speed of the pre-stretch is key
- More Speed of pre-stretch (eccentric) = More Force Produced
- Luckily, this aspect of strength is highly trainable
One of the best ways to train this ability is through Plyometrics.
Yes, yes, we finally get to the damn plyos. I'm always hesitant to give Plyometric advice to young players or inexperienced coaches. They take what is a fairly straight-forward training tool and turn it into something Stephen Hawking couldn't figure out.
Born in the old Soviet bloc, Plyos helped those damn commies dominate almost every sport. Despite their lack of resources (and sometimes lack of food) the Russians, East Germans, etc. absolutely kicked some American asses in the Olympics. They were bigger, stronger and faster.
They even produced a boxer who killed Apollo Creed!
Eventually, some Western coaches found about plyometrics and began to apply it to American sports. Of course, they became fascinated and all went overboard...coming up with jump programs with insane volume and advanced exercises that should've only been used by those with years of experience at an elite level...and using them on High School kids.