Today we’ve got a few elite football players back in the gym for an NFL speed training session. Check out the workout we did to work on some change of direction plyometrics, agility, and a short lower body lift:
Warmup / Muscle Activation
A lot of guys go into their warm-up thinking a few quad stretches and butt-kickers will get them ready.
In reality you should be including an extensive warm-up that not only warms and prepares the musculature for movement, but helps activate the nervous system. This is key for reacting faster on the field, supporting quick feet, and beating your opponent to the end zone. We typically begin with a basic full warm-up like this one and then eventually get into muscle activation with low-level plyometrics like these…
- Banded lateral / forward / reverse monster walk
- Forward + reverse pogo jumps
- Backpedal run
- Lateral shuffle
The goal of these drills is to get the lower body moving fast to develop quick reaction skills. As a football player you’re constantly needing to respond to quick changes within the game These are super intricate drills that require you to stay present and keep your mind in the movement using a combination of cones and hurdles to test your stability and footwork.
Once you’re warmed up, try a few rounds of each of the following plyometrics drills to develop with NFL speed training:
- Crossover run
- Lateral cone hops
- Reactive lateral cone hops
- Single leg forward hop to lateral bound (add hurdle)
- Single leg hurdle hop to lateral hop
- Hurdle two-steps to sprint / turn and sprint
For this workout I like to think of your reactive agility work as the final extension of plyometrics drills.
For this portion of the workout you’ll need a coach or partner to call out signals. You’ll go through a series of sprints looking over one shoulder, running a few paces and then on call flipping to look over the other shoulder. You might also shuffle side to side on command before taking off in a sprint.
This is something we see often in elite football where your line of sight will often change following the field of play and looking for the ball. The higher level your game is, the more intense your training should be as all of these commands are simulating instant changes that happen on the field.
- Reactive “look back” sprint
- Lateral reaction steps to sprint
Lower Body Strength Training
Finish off with the following strength circuit to build lower body power and support your speed potential.
- 1A. Goblet lateral lunges w/ KB
- 1B. Crossover sled drag
- 2A. Goblet forward lunges
- 2B. Reverse sled drag
- 3A. Lateral wall ball power toss
- 3B. Med ball rainbows
This workout is a great example of how to progress a workout from low level plyometrics into advanced speed training. Starting out with foundational movements not only helps to activate your nervous system, but throughout the workout you advance each movement to help integrate the patterns into second nature movement. Adding in reactive agility work is in my opinion one of the best ways you can take your sport to the next level, starting with your work in the weight room.
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