T Nation

Athletic Training


I know that CT just released a program that encourages athletic performance...

Anyway, I was training with a friend today who played college football (cornerback I think), and he was telling me about how they'd train in the offseason. He said that they would lift heavy weights for an hour to an hour and a half, and also do sprints and conditioning drills EVERY day of the week. I was thinking about the difference between BB's and athletes of this type: it seems that the only thing they do differently is the High Intensity sprinting and drills.

He also told me that when they do lift, the coaches weight the players EVERY time they walk into the gym, and if they have lost any weight at all they make them sit there and drink 3 protein shakes and eat something. LOL. It seems like these guys are doing just fine, yet they're putting in some serious wear and tear on their bodies. A lot of people here on T Nation seem to think that HIIT and lifting is too much volume, yet football players do it every day, so what do you guys think?

I want to be athletic and still put on weight. These guys can do it, could I? Granted they must have great genetics, but is this too much too soon. I'm doing CT's old OVT program and doing 2 HIIT sessions a week (on my off days). Thanks guys.


You need to decide what your priorities are. Do you want to get big and muscular? Or lean, small and athletic...stop trying to do both at the same time (you very likely don't have the genetics for it). Bear in mind that you are posting on a bodybuilding forum where most are not concerned about performance other than getting stronger bigger (and leaner at times).

You are 6'2", weigh 175lbs, lean, and are young = very hard to put on weight.

You need to focus on getting your bodyweight up (eat enough), and do minimal energy work other than weight training.

This is bodybuilding 101 - if you don't think this is important, you're in the wrong forum :slight_smile:

By all means try out your HIIT for a while, but keep the sessions short, and if you're really stuggling to put on weight, drop them.


Yeah, I hear you...I guess these athletes are genetically blessed. It also sounds like they're playing around with the G Flux thing - eating a lot and working a lot. The guy I lifted with had a great mindset though - he lifted harder than most people I know and didn't talk on his cell phone or anything like that between sets



It's apparent that you don't know of the backgrounds of football players or athletes in general.

Why can't MOST casual bodybuilders - or even aspiring serious ones - tolerate HIIT and their weight training sessions? A few reasons.

MOST bodybuilders (you know, like 99% of them who don't make a penny from bodybuilding) have obligations in life they have to tend to, unlike top ranking college and professional football players (or any other top level athletes).

That is, athletes don't spend 90% of their waking hours at work, traveling to work, doing errands and chores, worrying how they're going to pay bills, and tending to children.

What athletes also have going for them is a gradual, LIFELONG buildup in physical capacity that has been explained on here by Jim Wendler.

They don't go from age 12 to 17 engaging in a lot of physical activity, then cutting down on that a bit or completely to study in school and/or party, and then going into the common man's sedentary real world in which he's sittign around in a car, train, or office all day, not to mention allocating some time to women, friends, and family members and all the other annoying shit above. This is the time of life when most people can reasonably fit in 5 to 10 hours of physical activity per week, with quite a few only being able to dedicate even fewer hours.

Does that sound conducive to tolerating grueling track and weight training sessions on a daily or bi- or tri-daily basis?

And no, the difference between athletes is not just a matter of doing some sprinting here and there. You do realize there are dozens and dozens of sports out there. Michael Phelps trains 36 hours per week, with much of that time in the pool, and he's not attending the gym for pec and bi sessions. Ben Johnson trained seriously with weights and on the track for 4 to 6 hours per day. Again-not just a matter of including some drills and sprints.

Perhaps when you say "this type" you're referring to team sports. Most of those people dedicate most of their time to the sport, not conditioning and strength training.

Also, most bodybuilders don't even know how to sprint properly and too out of shape FOR SPRINTING. (I make this clear, because they ARE in shape for other things).

SOME football players train like bodybuilders in the offseason. Why is beyond me, and would be beyond most serious strength and conditioning coaches. They don't weight train much or at all inseason. They should, and it's usually kept to 1 or 2 full body sessions.


How do they train in the offseason? From what I gathered it's a lot of BBing with added oly lifts, plus tons of sprinting


Depends what your definition of bodybuilding training is. I define it as muliple lifts per muscle group workouts focusing on tearing down muscle.

Athletes and bodybuilders do a lot of the same exercise (most exercises actually - rows, bench, overhead press, chinups, lat pulldowns). But athletes usually follow a full body or upper-lower split and perform 1 to 2 exercises per muscle group.

How they train is also dependent on the individual strength and conditioning and athletic coaches they have.


From Jim Wendler:

Well, I have to say that I admire your drive and your goals, but let's look at this another way:

You're trying to compare yourself and your training to that of a professional football player. That, kind sir, is absolutely retarded. But I'll give you a free pass, just because I feel a little sorry for someone as hopelessly delusional as you appear to be. Just don't send me any of your "Elvis helped pull off 9/11" conspiracy theories, okay?

Anyway, I'm going to take a wild guess that you're probably frustrated by your declining strength over your current training cycle (which, for most people, is about two weeks before you get frustrated and move on to the next big program you read about online) and don't realize that it's going to take some time for your body to adapt to the increased work load you're imposing on it.

Listen Corky, NFL players (or any professional athletes for that matter) don't just decide to try out for the big leagues the day they graduate from high school or college. There's an extremely lengthy, almost life-long building-up process that allows them to knock heads with the biggest and the best.

Allow me to use myself as an example, so you can get an idea of what more than five years of college football is like, in terms of training load.

January â?? March: Morning conditioning, usually a series of grueling circuits done over the course of an hour. Most people puked and got run into the ground. This goes on three days/week. You also lift four days a week.

Spring Ball season: Practice begins at 6 AM and lasts for about two hours. Conditioning performed after each practice. Lifting three to four days/week.

Spring Ball to end of School: Lift four days/week, running three to four days/week.

Summer Sessions: Lift four days/week, run four days/week, 7 on 7 drills every day.

Pre-Season: Two to three practices/day. Lifting is minimal due to heavy practice schedule.

In Season: This depends on the coaches and the school. We lifted three days/week. Hard practices (hitting) on Tuesday and Wednesday, Thursday was half-pads but you still ran a lot. Conditioning was hard on Tuesday and Wednesday. Sunday was usually a one-mile run and some pool work. Every practice started with a 10-15 minute dynamic warm-up.

Now, most people that played college ball obviously played in high school first. Many times, the running was more intense and crazy in high school. Most football players also played another sport. So for about 10 years they have built up this incredible base of conditioning and work capacity. In other words, their bodies have adapted to it.

So my frustrated friend, my advice to you is to give yourself 10 fucking years of the above if you want your body to react like a pro athlete's. Until then, choose ONE goal and go for it. Serving two masters isn't going to get you where you need to be.


great article - thanks brick


I'm the kind of person that trains because I like training, and view getting bigger/stronger/leaner/faster/whatever as secondary benefits. I enjoy just about every type of training with the exception of distance running, so I do a lot of Olympic lifts, heavy compound moves, and cross fit/HIIT STYLE (I say style because I take what I like from these training principles and use them, rather than actually following them as programs). I may not be as big or strong or gain size or strength as fast as others, but I HAVE FUN and think I do pretty well for myself in terms of size and strength and I've never had any type of exercise related injury.

Point of the story, if you want to train like an athlete, do it. You're young (as am I), your body's resilient, and you've got PLENTY of time to get HYOOGE, brah. Figure out what you want to accomplish and what you like about training and just go for it.


What do u do for a living brick


what do you do for a living brick?


What do you do for a living by the way Brick?



People who think like this will never get "hyooge" because you do NOT have "plenty of time" for it. The age from about 18 to 30 are your best years for gaining and I would say most might see a drop off if they wait too much past 25 before they even start working on that goal. gaining that type of muscle mass takes YEARS of serious training and does not happen overnight.

You need to pick a goal. We agree there, but don't fool yourself into thinking you can spend a few years fucking around and not gaining anything and make it up later. It doesn't work like that. You are on a running clock just like everyone else and your "20's" will fly past you way quicker than you think.


hlss09 - not sure if my messaging service is working (not showing in the sent folder), let me know if you didn't get my reply...


I agree with this. Either pursuit will take YEARS to be "good" at it. No one becomes either HUGE or on the level of a pro athlete or even collegiate level overnight or even with just one year of training. Even if you have the genetics for this, unless you are starting this weighing over 200lbs, it may take you 5 years to gain enough size for others to recognize you as "really big".

In your 20's is when you need to decide what your goal is going to be. Wasting that time thinking you have time in the future to do it will leave you NOT.

Also, while just about all of us enjoy weight lifting and training, if you are not making progress, you are wasting time. No one who stands out in this is just going to the gym just because they like to be there.


hlss09 - not sure if my reply got through to you, let me know if it didn't...


No new posts seem to be showing up since last night.


Site is apparently experiencing massive failure.


^^Yeah it pretty much shut down at 3PM (my time) Looks like it might be starting to get back up and running again?


Ya got ur pm, thanks
And sorry for the triple post lol