Football S&C – If I had a Time Machine, Part 2 – Explosive Training

BEAST is posting a short series on Strength and Conditioning for High School and College Football; Here is Part 2:

Mike Curley explodes through the resistance of a “Banded” Box Jump at BEAST

I don’t know much about Yoga. Never tried it. Never studied it.

I have an acquaintance who owns his own Yoga Studio in New York City; he suggested Yoga is a discipline that teaches one to better control his/her mind. The training utilizes breath control, simple meditation, and specific body postures. He suggested most people spend much of their lives mentally reviewing/regretting the past or worrying about the future; we forget to enjoy the present. I’m definitely guilty of failing to enjoy the present consistently, except during certain instances when spending time with my children/family and certain instances at Beast.

One of the fantastic aspects of training at Beast is the intensity forces trainees to live in the present. When an athlete has 300lbs, 400lbs, (pick a number), on his shoulders during a box squat, he’s not worrying that he may have offended his uncle at the last family function or what he’s going to buy his girlfriend for his two-month anniversary (or any of that other nonsense); he’s basically worried about standing-up with the weight, keeping his back arched, pushing his knees outward, and keeping his spine intact; he’s worried about the number of reps he needs to perform – sometimes at Beast it’s just about survival; surviving the set and surviving the workout!

When an athlete is preparing to perform a box jump at near-maximum height, he’s focused on the explosion off the floor, the landing, and not whacking his shins on the box (which is a real “treat” – trust me, I know).

Let’s momentarily break-away from our focus on living-in and enjoying the present to discuss another important aspect of Football Strength and Conditioning; another training modality, I wish I’d employed back when I was training for the gridiron.

Explosive Training / Explosive Jump Training

Football is an explosive collision sport. To be able to move rapidly or explosively an athlete must specifically train to become explosive. This is a major tenant of the SAID principal (Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands) or perhaps better known as specificity training.

When I was training to play high school football I did very little in the way of explosive training. For this, I have no explanation/excuse, other than I didn’t know then what I know now. Incidentally, I also threw the shot-put in High School Track and Field, and although I did incorporate some bounding (mostly over low boxes or cones) in my training (my Track and Field Shot Coach was very knowledgeable), comparable to my high school box squatting effort, I didn’t train explosively with enough focus, frequency, and/or consistency.

If I was able to use my machine to go back in time, I would incorporate more dynamic training in my workouts, which is exactly the way we program at Beast.

Phil Terio powers through a “Banded” Box Jump with a large amount of Tension at BEAST


We have incorporated:

  • Standing Box Jump Training (with no resistance or against stretch bands or while holding medicine balls)
  • Seated Box Jump Training – no rocking on the seat, just explode from a seated position onto the box
  • Broad Jumping
  • Weighted Jumps (holding dumbbells or a hex-deadlift bar)
  • Hurdle Hops
  • Lateral Jumping (candidly, we need to incorporate more of these)
  • Explosive Prowler Pushes
  • “Beasters” – more on these later
  • Dynamic Effort Box Squatting (Squatting with 50-60% of max weights for 10-12 sets of 2 repetitions performed explosively off the box)

Here’s an example of how we put it together at Beast in our preseason Strength and Conditioning:

3 Training Sessions per Week

  • Week 1: Max Effort Lower Body – Max Effort Upper Body – Max Effort Lower Body (some upper mixed-in)
  • Week 2: Max Effort Lower Body – Max Effort Upper Body – Dynamic Effort Lower Body

Example of a Dynamic Effort Lower Body Training Day:

Standing Box Jumps w/ no resistance – athletes start with a very low box (i.e. ~30 inches and 2 sets of five reps to warm up) and continually increase the height shooting for a total of 5 sets of 5 jumps (with the last couple of sets at ~80% of max jump height)

Standing Box Jumps w/ banded resistance – our trainers place a light stretch band around the athletes waist and the athlete explodes onto the box against the banded resistance (box height may need to be reduced to 60-70% of max jump height for this exercise)

Barbell Split Squats – 3 sets of 10 reps with each leg

Glute Ham Raise (you need a special piece of equipment for this exercise and good ones aren’t cheap) – target 50 total reps and employ banded resistance if the athlete is able to handle the additional load

“BEASTERS” – this is a special Prowler variation (that I think we invented); using a fairly heavy load on the Prowler, we have athletes explosively drive into the sled and then come to a complete stop as soon as they achieve momentum (i.e. five or six driving steps and then a complete stop), and then immediately repeating the drive and again coming to a complete stop – we then have them rest for approximately ten seconds and repeat the process; we are trying to simulate the drive off the line in a football game, with specific focus on the energy systems required to perform this athletic activity – we typically perform 2 to 4 sets of 30 yard BEASTERS

As a side note, we’ve also employed jumping on our Max Effort Days, prior to Box Squatting, as we believe they assist with getting the CNS and the body ready to handle heavy loads. Jumps can also be employed before practice or a game in an effort to prepare your central nervous system for battle.


Jeremy Lewis hitting the “Banded” Box Jump for multiple sets of 5 repetitions at BEAST


Please follow the link below to read the next part in the series:

Football S&C – If I had a Time Machine, Part 3 – Unilateral Leg Training

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1 Comment to "Football S&C – If I had a Time Machine, Part 2 – Explosive Training"

  1. July 22, 2011 - 10:05 pm | Permalink

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