The Best Lifts For Football Players

Everyone knows that strength is important for a football player. However, not everyone knows the specific steps and exercises that help to create a strong body for the gridiron. In this article, we will attempt to give you a better idea about the kinds of exercises you need to get pumped up properly.

Our Top Five Lifting Exercises For Football Players

While there are many exercises that can help a football player to build muscle in all the right places, here are our five favorites:

1. Dumbbell Football Squats

This is a version of the classic football squat, an exercise developed by and for football players. The football squat is a lot like a normal squat, except that you extend one arm out to the side while the other arm touches the ground between your feet. You end in a position that is reminiscent of a pre-kickoff 3-point stance.

For our variation on this classic exercise, all you have to do is add a couple of dumbbells. Then, you will be practicing the right type of motion while building strength, endurance, and agility at the same time.

2. Bench Presses

Bench presses are a time-honored way to get nice and big, but we aren’t going to settle for the standard option here. We want a type of bench press that is specifically suited for football players, and that’s what we are going to get!

We recommend using a type of bench press that simulates the motion of straight-arming someone as you push past. Obviously, being able to power your way past the competition is important, and you will often have to do that with one hand since your other hand may very well be holding the ball.

To simulate this motion, lay back on a bench with a dumbbell in each hand. Bring both of them up in a bench press, as if they were a barbell. Now, leave one dumbbell elevated while you do a press with just one arm. When that arm gets back up to the start position, do a press with the other arm. Repeat until you’ve reached your limit.

3. Trap-Bar Deadlifts

There are many kinds of deadlifts, and all of them work great for the development of explosive total-body strength. However, research suggests that one particular deadlift is better for those who are focused on maximum muscle power.

It was found that the hexagonal barbell, also known as a trap bar, produced a greater amount of velocity and power on each lift. This was mainly due to the fact that a hexagonal barbell allows you to lift while keeping your spine as straight as possible. That puts less stress on the spine and more on the quads.

4. Power Cleans

There is a good reason why this exercise is called a “power” clean as opposed to some other kind of clean. This exercise is known for its ability to build explosive power, and that’s just what a football athlete needs.

You just pick up the barbell from the ground, in a manner very similar to a deadlift. Now, use a fast and explosive movement to throw that bar outwards and upwards. As the bar comes up, you pop underneath the bar in a low squat, holding the bar with a palm-up grip. Then you drop the barbell back to the ground (be careful not to lose any toes!) and do it again.

5. Landmine Rows

There is mainly just one reason to do plenty of landmine rowing: Big lats. If you want a strong back (and you do), an exercise like this is one of the best and simplest ways to get it done.

You don’t have to have a dedicated rowing machine either, which is one of the reasons that we included this exercise on our list. This one can be done with any barbell. Just remove the weight from one end and stick the unweighted end in a corner.

How Important Is Weight Training For A Football Player?

Strength training is extremely important for football players, as this is a rough game that requires a rough person. However, we aren’t asking you to take our word alone on this matter. We have been able to find some good scientific evidence to show just how much difference strength training can make.

Let’s start by looking at this study. This study was performed on 37 P.E. students and involved a regimen of weight training combined with plyometrics. They threw some flexibility drills in there, but most of the training was strength-oriented weight training.

Bear in mind that this study was only done for six weeks. In just this short amount of time, the trained group showed some pretty notable improvements in running speed, kicking power, and jumping ability. They also showed improvement in lifting capacity and muscle activation. The non-lifting group showed no such improvements.

Let’s take a look at study number two. In this one, researchers were comparing two different weightlifting methods (traditional vs. Olympic) to determine which method was better-suited for football training. They found that the Olympic regimen was slightly more effective, but the differences weren’t all that large.

What is significant is that this study noticed the same improvements that were noted in our first study: Jumping capacity, kicking power, and running speed. Since we know that all three of these qualities are essential for a top football athlete, there is no doubt that weight training can make a big difference.


These five exercises do not represent the whole of your options, but we recommend that you make them the basis of your football weight training workout. We have based our choices on a mixture of science and experience. Using a combination of the above, you can most certainly improve in several key areas of your game. If you would like to thank us for helping you out like that, please follow us on Facebook using the link below.

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