T Nation

Conditioning for Offensive Linemen?


Recently joined an American football team over here in England. Im 300lb and theyâ??ve put me in as an O lineman. I know how to get stronger but I need some advice about the conditioning side of things because I donâ??t trust my coaches (they know how football but I donâ??t think they know strength and conditioning as much as guys on this site)

What work to rest ratio should I be using? Some people say 10 secs activity, 30 secs rest. Ive also heard of very long rest periods like 5 minutes.

How many times a week? (I only have practice once a week)

What conditioning modality should be employed. I can only push a prowler for 10 feet (my gym doesnâ??t allow it to be used outside). I can use a rowing machine or do a bw or weights circuit or could just do a heavy powerclean every minute for an hour (Dan John suggested this as football conditioning in one of his articles)! Or maybe I should do zero conditioning and focus on getting stronger and more explosive with weights?


Run. Start doing a mile or two twice a week, and then on a third day, start running sprints.

Do eight or ten 100-yard sprints one day.

Another time, do suicides - run from the goal line to the 40, then back to the goal line, then back to the 30, then back to the goal line, and so on until you get to the 10.

Do four or five of those, puke accordingly. Work your way up to doing more.

Running is what's going to up your conditioning to the point where you'll be able to play a full game and not be winded. Combine that with practice and in two months, you'll be in great shape.

Don't just focus on weights unless you want to suck wind when the game's going on. Trust me.


I hate to say it after FightinIrish26 was so helpful but:

  1. My knees kill me when I run (Im 300lbs) and when I do sets of sprints after a few weeks (if Im doing 2 sessions a week of 10 sprints or so) my calves start killing me and I cant walk (probably due to improper sprint mechanics)

  2. Even doing sets of 100 yard sprints or those suicide sprits (200yards total distance) is surely a lot longer in duration and distance than an offensive lineman is required to move in a play?


How old are you? Do you have a history of knee or leg injuries? If you can't run, you've got some bigger problems than playing football, and honestly I've got to wonder if you playing football is really a good idea if you're in that bad shape.

Doing sprints on grass or a track should not hurt your knees like that, and if it does, football is going to be a fucking nightmare for you.

You sound like you NEED to start dropping some weight pal. Unless you're a solid 6'5", you shouldn't weigh that much.

If you were playing for one down, well yea, you'd be right. But it's the accumulated fatigue of playing every down, over and over, and running up and down and blocking and doing this or that... football is a tough, demanding game.

In order to not be sucking wind during a game, you've got to do conditioning that you think is well above and beyond what you would need to play - and that will probably just be enough.

Look at boxers, training for 8-12 weeks, running for miles and miles and doing hours of skillwork for a bout that last just 36 minutes.

Football is much the same. For you to play 12 minute quarters (like HS football is here), you've got to do months of work. We ran every day after practice for the first four months, and we didn't stop until maybe November. By that time, you're in total playing condition and playing the games and doing the practices was enough.

But we were also practicing every day, from July to December, from 3 p.m. until the sun went down.

You, practicing only once a week, are going to have to get your conditioning in other ways, because practice will not be enough.

Have you ever played before? I'm guessin cause you're calling it "American football" that you haven't hahaha.


The other thing is that running is going to help you get more acclimated to your body in a more athletic way. If you're a powerlifter, as shown in your avatar, "body awareness" isn't likely in your vocabulary.

But in athletic endeavors, your footwork is everything, and the more you run, the lighter on your feet you become. This, combined with practice, will teach you to be more athletic as opposed to simply able to lift heavy shit.


Thanks for the feedback FIghtin Irish

Im 6'9 so the 300lbs is kind of acceptable.

I need to get some cleats and try the sprints on grass. Im doing something funny where Im up on my toes and this means my calves start going funny after weeks of accumulated sessions of sprints. Its not my knees that have the problem with sprints.

Where can I learn about improving my sprint technique?? - I think I need to get some drills and start practicing them - and then build into doing sprints from there.
Is sprinting my only option?

Yup new to the sport - I have a lot to learn but I also want to get a whole lot stronger in the weight room so very divided.

I wouldnt say Im unathletic but I need a lot better relative strength and my vert and 40yd are poor.

Did a combine a few days ago and results are far from great

Weight 299lbs
Wingspan 216cm = 85 inches =7"1'(have thought for a long time it was 7 foot flat)
40yd dash - 5.68
Broad Jump - 7"3 (87 inches = lower score than what I can actually do because the rules were we had to stick the landing and I kept faulting)
Vertical Jump - 16" My reach is 8"8' and my jump was 10"2' (this is why I am useless at basketball!)
Bench 96kg (yes 96) on a shitty golds gym 6kg bar - 7 reps PR by 6 reps (did 90*6 back ON 29/11/11)
Cone drill ?
Shuttle run 5.?

(NB Ive also got a 42in box jump)

If you think these times are bad you should see what the other linemen were putting up!


hey ross - ever heard of this?

great for calves (and forearms) for getting all the knots out


Fair enough, but at your strength levels, it doesn't seem to be muscle?

A good routine would incorporate both. A couple mile long runs, interspersed with a couple days of sprints. Sprint are necessary, yes - they're necessary for the sport, forget even training for the sport.

There are a lot of running websites, I suggest you find one and try to analyze what is wrong with your form. I'm far from an expert on it so I don't want to give you any wrong info. But as far as I can tell, you should be landing on your mid-foot - not on the toes, and not on the heel.

Yea that's some pretty awful combine numbers. But what the fuck, you're not trying to be a pro.

But it still means you've got some very, very significant weaknesses as far as... well, every facet of strength and conditioning.

My advice to you is to go buy Jim Wendlers' 5/3/1 program, and start lifting, following that program to T.

The nature of it allows for conditioning, as well, and he offers many suggestions and examples of how to structure it.

I can't advise this highly enough - and you really, really need improvement in your bench and your overall athleticism.


Ros, just listening to some of your problems you've described it sounds like you need to reevaluate your training program entirely. Football is a great sport but a demanding one. In order for you to train, perform successfully and decrease injury you have to have a program that incorporates Strength/power, flexibility/mobility, speed/agility/conditioning, and not to mention "mental activation". In football the risk for injury is very high and is only compounded when not approached form a serious and knowledgeable standpoint. Your very tall and weigh a considerable amount so we have got to give your joints, especially in your lower region, a significant amount of TLC.

First lets talk about your training in the weight room. Warm-up is one of the most crucial parts of your workout in terms of injury prevention. On your lower body days you have got to work on your lower back, hips, knees, and ankles. Your warm-ups for starters need to incorporate stretching (static & dynamic), mobility drill variations, as well as some drill that gets your blood pumping. Not only will accessing these areas enable you to perform your lifts better, but they will also decrease the potential for injury. You really need to incorporate some type of warm-up (that's not just jumping jacks) into every training session you do no matter if its practice, workout, or conditioning.

As for as what these past few posts they are right. If you play the majority of the game, and do not get "sub'd" out every few downs You have got to take on some type of aerobic exercise into your training. Having a good conditioning foundation aerobic/anaerobic enables you to hone in on your sprint work and mechanics. I'm not saying you need to be able to run five or six miles but being able to run a couple of miles without throwing your toes up just makes you that much better. Because of your knee pain you might want to get on a stationary bike and ride your ass off until the knee problem subsides. This way you get the aerobic exercise you need and its a hell of a lot easier on those knees. The deal with running is to get better at it (sprints or distance) you have to do it all the time. Break up your running throughout the weak. Do your long distance (or your bike) on your "off" day preferably spaced out from your heavy leg day. then take two days, spaced apart, to work on your sprints/agility. You also need to pay attention to the food you put into your mouth. Being so big I recommend you take some sort of supplement for joint support. All this heavy movement stacked on top of football can take its toll quickly on your joints so you have to take care of em.

As for sites good for sprint mechanics http://defrancostraining.com/ has some interesting philosophies on the subject as well as articles on pretty much every aspect of football training.


Here some advice if your still looking

In an average game an o-lineman is going to play about 60-70 plays. Each play will last about 4-6 seconds an have a rest time of about 30-35 seconds between plays and several minutes per seris. A long series will run about 12 plays. So you need to condition yourself to be able to to do 12 or so maximal exertions with 30 seconds rest. Aerobic ability plays a role in recovery and if you feel your lacking in that area by all means ride a bike for 30 minutes a few times a week but most likely it won't do much to make you a better football player.
Things that would help would be a westside barbell style DE lower body day (12 doubles at 60% cut your rest to 30 seconds), loading that prowler up pushing, then taking a 30 second break and resting for at least 12 reps would, If your used to powerlifting I'd throw in some higher rep sets after your main work. One of the parts of your body to likely fatigue will be your lower body's ability to stay low, the best way I've found to condition for that is to static work throughout the day for 30-60 seconds (wall sits, in your stance, in a low squat) it takes time but it will get you playing lower. As far as running a couple of 40-60 yard sprints with short rest periods will also help.


Helpful - thankyou


I'm a former college o-linemn, sprinting will be the best thing for you to do. Work on some high DB Power Cleans with a short break in between. If you access to a prowler I think that would be the best thing for you to use. It mimics the drive you would use on the line. Work up to about 30 sprints of 10 seconds each.


What team have you just joined? I play also although am out this season due to a sports hernia


NO NO NO i play football these guys are all saying to do long distince...THATS PARTLY CORRECT. I go to a great highschool with one of the best football programs around. If you want to be better especially for a linneman run hill sprints push yourslef. Hold yourself low in a type of squating position to help you push away other linneman. If you have a wrestling program use it it'll help you get low. basically run hills, sprints, practice jumping your vertical, and and do lifts such as cleans, hang snatches, and all the powerlifts. If you do these along with the drills that your coaches provide you will be great.


Sussex Thunder (Division 1 champions 2012!)


It's been a month. What have you been doing?


I'm interested in knowing this too. I have been wondering the same as I stand 6'5" and solid but want to improve my conditioning. great info by the posters BTW.