WSBB Blog: Max Effort Lower Exercises for Football Players

WSBB Education
Mon Oct 11, 2021

Tags: Neck, Grip, Low back

Football is a sport that not only requires an athlete to be fast, players need to be strong as well. No matter if you are a lineman, linebacker, running back, or defensive back, having the ability to physically overpower your opponent will only make you a more effective asset to your team. Max effort training allows the football player to focus on the development of absolute strength. When absolute strength is increased, all other types of strength will follow. This means that not only will max effort training make you physically stronger, you will have the ability to become faster and more agile.


To guarantee you are getting the most out of your max effort lower training, it is imperative that you select exercise variations that focus on developing the muscle groups responsible for sport performance on the football field. Below, we will go over a few of the max effort lower exercises we recommend for football players.


Anderson Style Cambered Bar Goodmornings


This exercise is one of the best exercises for offensive linemen, defensive linemen, linebackers, and running backs. The Anderson style cambered bar goodmorning is a goodmorning that focuses on the concentric portion of the lift. This forces a lifter to exert high levels of force to get the bar moving, while starting from a disadvantageous position. The positioning you will find yourself in when performing this lift is very similar to the position you would be as the ball is snapped and you are raising up to hit your block.


This lift will help develop the strength necessary to raise up from your stance with great amounts of force, landing a powerful initial strike to your opponent. You will also develop strong hamstrings, giving you more horsepower in your legs to drive your opponent off of the ball. If you want to increase your initial contact strength, while having the hamstring and calf strength necessary to drive your opponent five yards backwards, then Anderson style cambered bar goodmornings are your answer.


Sumo Deadlift


The sumo deadlift is the most optimal deadlift variation for any athlete, especially football players. This movement focuses on the development of hip, glute, mid and lower back, and hamstring strength. The sumo deadlift places the athlete in what would be considered an athletic starting position, with the feet spread apart as they would be if you were blocking or driving through an opponent. Becoming proficient in the sumo deadlift will provide an athlete with a stronger base, and sense of stability when engaging blocks, or breaking down to tackle an opponent.


Additionally, stronger hips, glutes, and hamstrings, and quads will provide you with the strength necessary to change direction, backpedal, and shuffle faster. Sumo deadlifts can also be performed in a variety of variations. The best variations for football players are traditional sumo deadlifts, deficit sumo deadlifts, and sumo deadlifts versus minibands. Focus on using as much leg drive as possible, keeping the spine in as neutral a position as possible.


SSB Squat


The SSB squat is a great way to target the quads, low back, and hamstrings. The SSB places the bar in a position that requires the lifter to maintain a strong trunk brace to avoid any bend forward placing stress on the lumbar spine. This is important because it teaches a football player how to properly engage their trunk to maintain neutral spine positioning, allowing for greater amounts of lower body strength to be exerted.


Not only will this exercise lead to increased levels of strength, the increased ability to brace will create stronger, more stable athletes. Having a set of strong legs with a strong trunk provides the athlete with the ability to create a solid base, making it difficult for the opponent to force the player out of position.
If you want to be the strongest, fastest, and most athletic player you can be you cannot ignore your lower body training. Developing strong legs and a strong lower back will lead to increased levels of speed, power, and strength endurance that will carry over to success on the field. Remember, increases in absolute strength leads to improvements in all other forms of strength. Train hard, maintain proper technique, and reap the benefits of added amounts of absolute strength.