Wednesday, May 6, 2009

No BS In Season Football Training!

Today's blog post is a guest article from Strength Camp owner and Pro Strongman Elliot Hulse. I've mentioned Elliot on this blog a few times and have posted some of his videos, but here's a look into his view of in season training for football. Elliot's Gridiron Strongman Program has helped countless highschool and collegiate athletes pack on muscle mass, get brutally strong, and shave points of their 40 times!

No BS In Season Football Training

By Elliott Hulse, CSCS
Gridiron Strongman - The Ultimate Football Strength & Speed Program!

No BS In Season Football Training

The recent release of my Football Strength System has sparked some debate amongst football and strength coaches.

It seems that my bare bones, no BS - style of program design and communication has created 2 classes of people…

Those who think I’m full of it and those who KNOW I’m full of it! (*joke*)

Here are some great questions about My Football Strength Training System from Coach Billy Sexton, Strength & Conditioning Coach at Southern Nazarene University in Oklahoma.

One thing i disagreed with at the college level, athletes are smart enough to pick up Olympic lifting, pretty quick, i have realized if they cant they probably are not athletic enough to play, so we spend a year developing them anyways.

Billy, I make some bold statements about Olympic Lifting in The Football Strength System - but the truth is that I use them myself, especially in preparation for strongman events.

When training HS athletes I have simply found that it is more economical for me to use the the time allotted to get them lifting heavy and jumping. Performing exercises like Squats and Dead Lifts followed by Box Jumps or Hurdle Jumps elicits a similar response as a Power Snatch, but with 1/4 the teaching time.

Also, since it may take a few weeks to learn an Olympic Lift - the weights used will typically remain low until proper technique can be executed. (I hate wasting time with light weights) With in that same time, I can take a kid who has never squatted and have him using at lest his body weight for reps in a few days and double that in a 6-8 weeks.

#1. I have had some problems with AC joint injuries, I think from the Snatch exercise, what exercises would you recommend to correct these injuries?

AC joint injuries from the snatch exercise is typically due to a muscular imbalance in the shoulder joint. Namely the pec minors, sides and back of the neck (SCM and cervical extensors) and lats and traps are over developed or simply tight and the scapular abductors, deep cervical flexors (infra- and omo-hyoid sp?) are weak.

Some people might tell you that the upper traps are weak, but I disagree - I think that they may actually be too tight. Notice the over developed traps in the pic below, this causes the shoulders to round and the head to come forward during the shrug / snatch, the line of gravity moves forward, as indicated by the dotted arrow. Such faulty head and shoulder position predisposes the middle and lower cervical vertebra to excessive sheer forces because the fibers in this region (C3-C6) are optimally arranged to elevate the load from this position.

Try this: stretch the neck, lats and pec minor prior to snatches (ooh, did I say static stretch before lifting… damn right!) and add prone cobras, external rotations and bend over rows to the strength program.

Out of curiosity, ask the guys that are having shoulder issues with the snatch if they get headaches and/or their skull feels tight. Let me know.

(Since this email Coach Saxon has confirmed that many his athletes DO get headaches - this is due to the pressure created in C3-C6 region from cervical hyper extension created from an over developed upper back muscles in relation to the mid-back and scapular adductor muscles.)

#2. If you have time, i would like to see an example program for what you would do in the in-season. we lift twice a week Monday and Thursday. i would like to see your progressions on percentages as well with what exercises you would use. Your program is well designed with a lot of good things, I have implemented most of it in my program already. it really helped me out with the three stretches, best part of the program for me, really interesting.

As you know, the biggest benefit of an in-season strength training program is to maintain the size and strength that you developed through out the off-season. In-season is for football and you don’t want to over burden the nervous or muscular system with too many unnecessary exercises or sets.

Before I give you my opinion of a good 2-day per week in-season training program I’d like to offer you a point to consider.

1. Your guys need to EAT during the in-season. It is essential that their calories don’t drop too low or they may be at risk of severe weight loss. During my freshmen year at SJU I remember some of the 270+ lb linemen finishing the season at 190lbs. (I SWEAR). Our coach had us doing too much bullshit conditioning and the kids would just go home and fall asleep after practice. You don’t want weak skinny bastards at playoff time.

Here is a sample in-season program for 2 days per week following the principles stated in my Football Strength System. You’ll notice that I don’t follow percentages, sets 1-4 work up in weight until set 5 - maximal effort. I think percentages are BS! Train with max weights for 3 weeks and take the 4th week off. Many will disagree - I guess I am full of shit!

Day 1 Monday

1) Hang Cleans - 5 x 5
2) Squats - 5 x 5
3) Barbell Russian Twists 3 x 12

Day 2 Thursday

1) Bench Press - 5 x 5
2) Bend Over Rows - 3 x 10
3) Seated Front Plate Raise 3 x 10


Gridiron Strongman - The Ultimate Football Strength & Speed Program!

Elliott Hulse, CSCS
Author, Football Strength Program

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