By Steve Konopka of the Las Vegas Gladiators Arena Football Team www.criticalbench.com
I learned a lesson about how strong I really was training
for my sophomore football season in college. I was at
World's Gym by my school, all pumped up feeling good about
myself doing my ego booster exercises like Smith Machine
bench and squat. Out of nowhere this mountain of a man
came up to me and said, "That looks pretty good but what
is it going to do for you on the field?" Now this guy
was big but he didn't look like a bodybuilder so I didn't
pay much attention to him.
He took the weight I had on
the Smith Machine and put it on the bench. Now instead
of 8 reps I struggled for 3. At the squat rack it was
even worse, and getting buried was a humiliating experience.
After I picked myself up he said, "What's the use of all
those muscles if they can't move any weight?"
He challenged my manhood, and told me to train with him
and find out where it would get me. Well six months later
it go me all conference in Division I-AA football as a
sophomore and three years later it helped me get to the
pros. That one month turned into a whole summer of blood,
sweet, and tears with my new friend screaming,
"Dig in, dig in. It's time to be a man. Big and strong
baby!" That summer changed the way I trained for the
rest of my life. I continue to use powerlifting movements
as the basis of my training. Here are some examples of
what these movements can do for your game.
When dead lifting you are in a football position, back
straight, head up, and ready to explode through your legs
and hips. Dead lifting boosts your strength through your
entire body. It also increases your explosiveness off the
ball. Dead lifting all summer, I felt like a loaded spring
ready to explode through someone's chest!
Once you explode off the line you shoot your hands into
someone's chest plate, read the play, disengage from your
blocker, and get to the ball. To disengage you have to press
your opponent off you and lock your arms out to keep him off
you. What movement is this? The bench press! Not the
Smith Machine bench or the Cybex press, just the good old
straight barbell bench press. Raw power at its finest.
The stronger my bench got the quicker I could disengage from
my blockers. I found it easier to split double teams
as well. Think about it, if you can lock out on lineman
coming to block you they won't be able to get into you,
never mind block you.
For lineman strong, powerful legs are a must. In the
fourth quarter of the game the man with the most left in
him will win. Squatting will get your legs and glutes
strong and conditioned. With strong quads and glutes you
increase your speed and balance, making it harder for
blockers to move you. Squat till you drop and you'll be
snapping off the ball in the fourth quarter, the same as
you were the first! Mentally when you're getting under
the bar to squat 600 lbs you have to be focused and intense
or you will get buried. Squatting isn't the same as some
leg press machine that everyone loads up and reps out on.
Doing powerlifting exercises will not only increase your
power and explosiveness but will also prepares you mentally
for big challenges like the one's you'll face on game day.
Here is a brief work out program for a lineman to try.
It may not be what a powerlifter would do, but for a
lineman who is also doing sprints and agilities four times
a week this is plenty, trust me.