Olympic Lifting Workouts for High School Football
Football Training Workouts Featuring the Olympic Lifts for High School Football Players Can Increase Strength and Speed on the Football Field
Olympic lifting in high school football workouts is always a controversial subject. There’s the strict Powerlifting-only crowd. Then there’s the Olympic Lifting camp. But, can the Olympic Lifts be used successfully in a high school football training program to increase speed and strength? Or, should it be Powerlifts only?
Critics say the O-lifts are hard to teach, hard to learn and can easily be replaced with speed, or Dynamic, work.
The Olympic Lift crowd proclaims that anyone who attempts a clean will be out sprinting the sprinters (for the first 10yds, anyway)
The truth, as usual, lies somewhere in the middle.
We’ll take on some of the myths, provide some truths, and I’ll show you how to use the Olympic Lifts in your football training program so everyone is happy.
Many argue Squats vs Power Cleans, but, both should be used!
They will still build explosiveness, but from a different path. They are hugely helpful in bulking the upper back and traps as well.
For the hip-explosiveness gained from Power Cleans alone the effort to learn at least basic form is well worth it. Use them as an alternative Speed exercise or use them as your heavy leg movement. Keep the reps low, the sets high and get the bar moving as fast as possible! Either way, Power Cleans are an excellent addition to your football workouts program
They Take Too Long to Teach!
I have to agree with the O-lift critics here. For many coaches, especially those with small budgets, who are primarily football coaches and strength coaches second, the act of teaching even the Power Clean can become daunting. Frankly, over the years I’ve seen players who, despite the best coaching efforts, just are too unathletic to pull off a clean. Now, they usually aren’t good football players either, so take that into account.
If a coach has done any of the Olympic lifts, or taken a USAW course, then have at it.
But, if you are unsure, then don’t teach it!
There’s a much simpler way to use these explosive lifts while avoiding the form issues.
Olympic Lift Variations for Explosive Football Power
The Olympic Lifts can be complicated, but their variations and assistance movements are not and produce much of the same effects.
Here are some of the top Olympic Lift assistance moves for high school football:
Snatch Grip Deadlifts
The much wider grip used on Snatch Grip Deads just force you into a lower position, thus making the hamstrings and glutes to work harder. Plus, the benefit of the work the entire back gets.This is excellent for any high school football player because of the concentrated work in the hamstrings and back.
Whenever you can involve the hamstrings more, the better off you are for building leg strength and especially for football speed! If your hams are weak, forget being fast.
I would use straps on a SnDL because of the wide grip.
This is a “go-heavy” exercise. Treat it the same way you would a regular Deadlift – heavy, low reps, multiple sets.
RDLs are similar to a straight-leg Deadlift, with the exception that instead of simply bending at the waist and pulling up on the bar, you have the hips travel backwards when bending over. These are widely used in O-lifting circles. For many, the SLDL neglects the hamstrings while overworking the lower back. This is especially true for short-leg, long-torso lifters. They are excellent for high school football training programs, again, because of their intense focus on the hamstrings!
The RDL will probably do more for your hamstrings and glutes than any other exercise, with the exception of Deadlifts. It really is a very underrated movement for both athletic performance and for aesthetic appearance. Remember that your hamstrings are largely responsible for your speed on the football field, so don’t slack.
Be sure to keep a flat back; you can use both clean and snatch grips for variation. This is a movement where you definitely want to keep the reps low. 4 X 6 is a good set-rep scheme to start with. Eventually you can turn this into a very heavy, low rep movement, but if you haven’t done much RDL’ing, then start with 4 x 6.
Really push those hips back, stretch those hams out, then pop up.
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