Maximizing winter workout schedules for high school football players

By Annemarie Blanco | Posted 2/16/2018

Photo via T Nation

For high school football players, now is a prime opportunity to make big physical gains. Below is a two-week training regimen, courtesy of Volt Athletics performance specialist Jace Derwin, to help maximize winter workout schedules. Volt Athletics creates specialized workouts for athletes, including personalized programs tailored to specific sports, including football.

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According to Derwin, every training day should include the following elements:

  • Explosion: “An explosive lift or plyometric work to develop jumping power and quick hip extension – hang cleans, box jumps, medicine ball throws. Reps should be low, to focus on maximum power output and speed of movement. Don’t try and gas yourself out, the goal is to train being explosive and fast.”


  • Full body: “A compound barbell lift works large movement that recruit the entire body – squats, deadlifts, bench press. Training reps ranging between eight and 12 reps at roughly 70  to 75 percent of the athlete’s one-rep max will help develop baseline work capacity and help increase lean muscle mass.”


  • Injury prevention: “Core strengthening and accessory work focuses on injury prevention work to strengthen smaller muscle groups that help stabilize the knees and shoulders – RDLs, lunges, planks. It’s important to focus on the mechanics of the movement and to prioritize achieving a full range of motion. Higher rep ranges and lower weight help to keep the larger muscle groups from overpowering the smaller stabilizing muscles and help to reinforce proper mechanics.”


Below is a simple way to help you organize your weekly weight training schedule.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Box jumps

Barbell hang clean

Med ball throws

Barbell squat

Barbell bench press

Barbell deadlift

Dumbbell single arm row

Dumbbell RDL

Dumbbell standing press

Dumbbell lunge

Banded shoulder external rotation

Banded good mornings

Things to remember 

For optimum results, train three to four times a week, leaving enough time to recover between workout sessions. Quality trumps quantity.

“This training program is part of a much greater whole," Derwin said. "While you can train this cycle repeatedly, it’s more advantageous to train on a full periodized calendar that appropriately adjusts in volume, intensity and movement selection so that athletes can be at their most prepared come season start.”

Things to avoid

There are benefits to portion control, but combating carbs can hurt in the long run. Derwin stresses that athletes avoid spending too much time on cardio during this phase of workouts.

“You’re not going to be stronger, and you’re not going to be faster, you might be able to move at a slower intensity for a longer time, but that’s not ideal toward actual participation in football,” he said. “You’re going to come back and be lifting hard, that’s what you want to prepare for.”

If you must add a bit of cardiovascular time to your workout, go outside where you’re not bogged down to a machine and you can focus on short sprints.

“Running is different than being on a machine. Don’t get caught doing long slow run. It’s better to be doing shorter sprint-based workouts or intervals at higher intensities with short recoveries,” Derwin said. “Don’t be a marathoner. Be a sprinter.”

Every athlete knows his or her own body limitations. While this training program can be a successful starting point for an offseason training itinerary, it’s a small fragment of what a year-round competitive training schedule should look like. Keeping active during free time makes athletes more prepared to join teammates and face coaches at the start of offseason training. 

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