Football Drills And Exercises For Defensive Linemen

Four Drills for Defensive Linemen

By its very nature, football is a physical sport. While every single player on the field needs to be in prime physical and mental condition, few positions are quite as grueling as defensive lineman.

Athletes that play defensive lineman are subject to repeated hits throughout the game. On each play that they are on the field, they smash into and attempt to grind their way through the offensive line to take down the player with the ball. The best d-men are incredibly strong and fast. They perform at the highest level from the opening kickoff to the very last drive.

What it Takes to Be The Best

But becoming the best isn’t easy. To become a strong and fast defensive lineman that can help your team win the game, you need to spend a lot of time at practice and in the gym.

Below are a few of the top football drills and exercises for defensive linemen. These will help you work on your:

  • Mental State
  • Football Stance
  • Bull Rush Push
  • Push-Pull

Incorporate these drills into your workout routine and you’ll greatly improve the chances that your team takes home the win.

Mental State

Football is not only a physically grueling game. It is also a mentally grueling game.

Improving your mental fitness starts at practice and at the gym. Perhaps the most important thing you can do is stay motivated. Stay motivated to train, knowing that results will come with the effort.

Create actionable and measurable goals so that you can track your progress. Staying in a positive mindset during training will ensure that you remain in a positive mindset on the football field.


The backbone of any lineman’s abilities starts with his stance. Without a solid stance, defensive linemen won’t be able to get the powerful jump they need to explode forward towards the action.

The standard stance is the three-point stance. One hand goes on the ground, one goes behind you in the air, and your weight is leaned forward. When the ball is snapped, this stance allows you to explode forward, propelling yourself towards offensive linemen, and pushing them backwards.

Stance and start exercises – where you simply get into your starting stance and explored forward – are the most effective way to improve in this area.

Bull Rush Push

After exploding forward from their starting stance, defensive linemen need to rush directly into the opposing team’s line. Making first contact is critical as creating as much havoc as possible is the goal.

Focus should be put on building hand, forearm, and upper body muscles. However, lower body exercises are equally important. Squats, deadlifts, and other compound exercises are all very effective.

Drills to work on at practice should include explosive drills involving sleds and weight belts. Spending a lot of time with tackle dummies is key to improving timing and force.


The best football defensive linemen do more than just strike their opponents. They create havoc by using techniques to throw offensive linemen off balance, creating openings for themselves and other defensive players to squeeze through.

The push-pull is one of the best moves for this. Give the opposing player a quick hard push, suddenly grip them, and pull them. The best way to improve at this maneuver is by practicing it on offensive linemen at team practice. Continue to work on upper body strength while practicing the move for the best results.

Drills and Exercises for Defensive Linemen

Defensive linemen are among the most important players on a football field. To be the best lineman you can possibly be, you need to practice constantly while continuing to improve both your physical strength and your mental toughness. Combine all of these factors together by utilizing the drills and exercises discussed above, and you’ll come out with engines raring on game day.



Hi, I'm Zayn. I am a personal trainer and blogger living in Miami, Florida. Welcome to my blog! Zaynez follows my life and my interests in sports, fitness and healthy living.

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