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Power to the People

I want to dedicate this article to all of my freshman football players; it’s time that I showed them some love. The back bone of most football programs are the freshman teams, these guys come out and pretty much have no idea as to what to expect, get blasted everyday in practice and yet they still do everything they are asked to do to the best of their abilities.

I have had the opportunity to work with some really good coaches and the one thing the good coaches don’t do is micro-manage, they bring people in to do a job then they let them do it. One coach did something I thought was kind of strange at first until he told me why he did it. This coach put one of his top assistants in charge of the freshman team, now I always thought the best people worked with the varsity, until the coach explained to me that the freshmen were the future and he needed them to be ready just in case. So I thought ok, maybe there is something to this way of thinking, so I am writing this is to let them know that granted most of them may not be ready to compete on the Varsity level; I think that the time for the greatest improvement in strength and ability is after their freshman season. Once they have been in the system for a year it doesn’t seem as foreign to them, they can grasp the concepts a lot better and now that they don’t have to learn it they can start to thrive in it. With that being said let’s get on with the work of turning freshman into monsters.

The key to this improvement will be the in-season training protocol, sometimes this part of the season is overlooked by coaches who feel pressed for time and may not know how to create the space to make this happen. Well you are in luck, my staff and I have done it for you. The system that we most believe in is a circuit; a circuit system is just another way to say interval training. It is made up of a series of strength training exercises where the athlete moves from station to station in a predetermined sequence. At each station an exercise is done for a predetermined amount of time or reps. The athlete, upon completion will move to the next station and perform the prescribed exercises and this is repeated until the circuit is complete.

Training this way is a very good way to increase work capacity, develop strength and more importantly enables large groups of athletes to train at one time. It doesn’t require a lot of supervision, which frees up other coaches to do things that may need to get done. So now you may ask that how can this be implemented, time is still a concern, what we did was to get the physical education department involved. Now our players can lift during their gym classes and the results are inspiring, we went from training one day a week in season to training twice. To some that one extra day may not mean much but we noticed a drop in our injury rate, and we have not lost any man games to injury in two years. Another way to implement this is to open the weightroom before school, one of the programs we work does this and once again the results have been awesome. The biggest benefit we’ve seen from opening the room in the morning is that attendance for the football team has improved a great deal. Players who were once showing up to school or maybe not even going to school regularly are now some of the first people there in the morning.

When putting the circuit together there are a couple of things to keep in mind, first if you don’t have a strength coach find one, every staff has a “guy who works/worked in a gym” that’s all well and good but for this you need someone who has a little more experience working with athletes. This person has to have an eye for details, this person should be able to create a protocol that will be effective and time efficient so that everyone that comes through will get a training session that will add to their ability to compete. This person must care enough to pay attention to the flow in the room so that there will be no mishaps and once the flow is setup monitoring this thing becomes a piece of cake.

Depending on the desire of the athlete the greatest strides will be made in the strength training facility, our freshman come in and most of them have little strength training knowledge or ability, it is the job of the strength staff to create an atmosphere that will promote success, and we feel that a properly designed circuit is an important weapon to have in our training arsenal. Below is a sample circuit that we use, try it and let me know how it works for you.


  • Push Up I
  • Incline Press
  • Bent over Row
  • Clean into the Push Press
  • Triceps Extension on the Physic-ball
  • Dumbbell curls on the Bosuball
  • Romanian Deadlift on Airex pad
  • Body weight squat
  • Lunge
  • Calf Raises


  • Medicine ball twists
  • Push ups (one hand on a medicine ball other hand on the floor)
  • Ice Skaters
  • Wave Squats
  • Scorpions
  • Medicine ball squats
  • Medicine ball triceps extensions
  • Hammer curls on the Bosuball

This circuit is generally done for 30 seconds work; 15 seconds rest one to two times through depending on the circumstances.

Graig can be reached at 856-225-2743 or email at