The goal of conditioning is to train your heart and lungs to work more efficiently. Start these drills slowly to get a hang of the form. After that, you want to push yourself just beyond your threshold to improve your aerobic condition.
This drill uses the length of the field in 20 yard increments. The players sprint for 20 yards, stride for 20 yards, sprint for 20 yards, etc.
During the sprints, players should focus on quick acceleration and maximum speed. The strides are slower and work on increasing stride length. Focus on extending your leg as far forward as possible. Your typical running won’t usually involve this long of a stride, but it’s important to work on the flexibility and strength that can increase your average stride length.
Each 100 yards is a set. Rest for 30 to 60 seconds and repeat 5 times.
This drill from Stack works on maintaining energy and endurance through the finish of the game. The drill is divided into 4 yard lengths: 10, 20, 30 and 100 (using the sprint/stride technique above). With each, you’ll complete 4 reps.
Start with 4 x 10-yard sprints with 10 seconds of rest in between each sprint.
Next do 4 x 20-yard sprints with 20 seconds of rest in between.
Then do 4 x 30-yard sprints with 30 seconds of rest in between.
Finally, perform 4 reps of the Sprint/Stride drill.
This completes one set. Aim for a total of 3 to 4 sets with 3 minutes of rest between sets.
This drill works on getting a quick burst of speed while in the middle of a run.
Have 5 or so players stand in a line at the end zone. The players all start off running at 50% of their maximum speed. After the first 20 yards, the coach calls out the number of the last player, who then sprints ahead to overtake the leading player. At the 40-yard line, the coach again calls out the last player.
Alternatively, you can simply have the players run at 50% speed for the first 20 yards, then have all of them sprint at 100% speed for the next 20 before slowing down to 50% again.
This is a drill used in the U.S. Army Physical Readiness Training program.
Much like a regular skip, you’ll be hopping down the field. However, you’ll be stressing explosive power and vertical height. Aim to get your knees up until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Raise your opposite arm until your elbow is at shoulder height.
For this move, you should start slow to get the hang of the exaggerated form. Maintain that speed for 20 yards, and then pick up the pace. Continue maintaining this faster pace for another 20 yards and then go even faster. Keep up this 20-yard increment across the field.
100 Burpee Challenge
Burpees are a great total body strength workout, but they are also perfect for aerobic conditioning.
A burpee is performed by squatting down, jumping your feet back, performing a push up (optional) and then jumping your feet back in. From this squatting position, leap straight up in the air with your arms high above your head. This completes one rep.
Start with sets of 10 burpees. Rest for a minute between sets until you reach 100 burpees (or 10 sets).
Steven Morris’ Simulated Conditioning
This drill was designed by Steve Morris from Elitefts to include realistic practice all of the steps necessary to move down the field. The drill can be modified for each position to maximize their training and to truly simulate game day.
A few of the steps included are base steps, scoop steps, angle steps and pulls. If you’re interested in this simulated conditioning, check out Morris’ regimen here.
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