How to train like a football player

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Do you want to be the very best? Like no-one ever was? Well, you’re in luck, because today we’re going to be taking a look at some drills we can do and exercises we can master to help give us a good advantage when it comes to standing out from the crowd. I’ll preface this by saying I’m not a high end NFL scout, I’m not a coach, or a player/ex player. So what we’ll be doing is scouring the web for some resources and pooling them into one easy to reach place, you don’t have time to be scouring the internet when you’ve got a career as an NFL superstar to chase, right?!

We’ll start with some Agility drills, speed and the ability to turn on a dime becomes increasingly important in sports as the speed of the game tends to slowly increase over time, while it’s true there are some roles on the field that don’t necessarily require you to be Usain Bolt, it’s always helpful, right? First up, the Box Drill.

Box Drill This agility drill for American Football requires four cones in a 10×10 or 5×5 yard box. Begin by standing at the bottom right cone and sprint forward to the cone straight across. Stay tight to the cone (don’t stop your feet) and turn in a 45-degree angle and sprint to the third cone. Stay tight to the cone and sprint forward to the cone straight across. Finally, stay tight to the cone and turn in a 45-degree angle to finish through the starting cone. Next up we’ll look at a popular drill known as the Run-Shuffle-Run.

The run shuffle run drill requires 4 cones placed in a straight line spaced 5 yards apart. Begin at the first cone (facing the cone) and sprint laterally to the second cone. As you pass the second cone, switch into a shuffle, staying square to the cones. As you approach the third cone, switch into a lateral run again. Break down at the final cone. Now we’ll take a look at some strength drills!


A good place to start when it comes to building strength is weightlifting, there are plenty of specific methods for building specific muscles and of course there are also exercises you can with a more football based focus, however, for me it’s going to be better in the long run to build general strength first, then hone it with different methods. So first things first, a few different weight exercises.

Firstly, deadlifts. Starting strength as a footballer, they help strengthen the posterior chain, building power and strength in the hamstrings, glutes, calves and all through your back. Like squats which we’ll get to next, Deadlifts are also really good at building strength in the hips, which some would say is the key to your power. A lot of people believe that a deadlift can help prevent injuries, what’s not to like? People will tell you loads of different ways to efficiently deadlift. But realistically, you want your feet shoulder width apart, hands about shoulder width apart, usually both palms facing towards you. You need to bend your knees until your shins are a few inches from the bar, once you’re set it’s time to pull, keep the bar as close to your body as possible, rolling it over your knees and thighs until your hips and knees are locked. Stand STRAIGHT and DO NOT lean back at the top. Head up, chest out. Once your legs are fully straightened out with your hips forming a line from feet to hips, it’s time to return to the ground, don’t lower the weight straight down, lower to the knees, then lower to the ground ready for a second rep or just a re-rack.


Then there’s the “prowler”, a fantastic exercise for conditioning for football. A movable rack, where you place weights upon it for pushing and pulling along a short track. Given the physical nature of the game itself, it’s always a super good idea to put some time into this exercise. Who knows if you guys put in the time, you could have odds in an NFL futures betting market. Why not?

Well, that just about does it for this one, do you do any of the exercises or drills listed above? Do you play football at any level? High school, college, beer league? Or do you just chill and play with your mates when you have time for it like people do in the UK for 5-a-side football (soccer)? I don’t know if “normal” people do that overseas, I don’t see why not though, other than safety concerns I guess. Anyway, as always, take care and stay safe! All the best on your futures (with or without football I suppose!).