T Nation

Maintaining Gains During Football

I am leaving for camp in a couple days and wanted to know both a good workout program and dietary tips for maintaining the muscle I have put on this summer. As those of you who know, it is incredibly hard to maintain the same type of lifting intensity during the season as out of season, the body is simply not able to do it. I plan on dropping a bit of body fat during camp as it’s pretty much inevitable, but I really don’t want to lose the muscle I’ve worked so hard to put on. Any suggestions/work outs??

  1. Eat like a horse.

  2. Drink as much water as you possibly can, and then drink some more.

  3. Do just enough volume of higher rep stuff to serve as prehab against injury and maintain your size.

  4. Try to lift heavy once per week. As long as you’re above 90% for a few reps, you should be okay. Don’t miss any reps, though.

Obviously, these are general guidelines, but they’re a starting point. I’d need to know exactly what you’re doing in camp to say for sure.

[quote]TheTank123 wrote:
I am leaving for camp in a couple days and wanted to know both a good workout program and dietary tips for maintaining the muscle I have put on this summer. As those of you who know, it is incredibly hard to maintain the same type of lifting intensity during the season as out of season, the body is simply not able to do it. I plan on dropping a bit of body fat during camp as it’s pretty much inevitable, but I really don’t want to lose the muscle I’ve worked so hard to put on. Any suggestions/work outs??[/quote]

Here is Joe DeFranco’s response for in-season football players:

Q: Joe, We’re 4 weeks into our high school football season and I’ve already lost 8 pounds! I feel like I’m getting weaker also. What can I do? I only have time to lift about 2 days a week. Is this enough? I’m having a good year so far but if I continue to lose strength and weight, I think my performance will suffer at the end of the year. Please help. Jimmy

A: Jimmy,
You are experiencing a common problem. Most athletes gain size and strength in the off-season only to see their gains disappear when it really counts. I always ask my football players, “What good is it to be big, strong and fast in May, if you are going to let yourself get small, weak and slow in November?” This question usually helps them realize the importance of a properly designed in-season strength & conditioning program.

It is appropriate that you said that you’ve lost 8 lbs and that you feel like you’re “getting weaker also.” I say this because the #1 limiting factor in maintaining your strength during the season is your ability to maintain your bodyweight. If you lose weight during the season, chances are your strength will be lost as well. Basically, the best way to maintain your strength during the season is to maintain your muscle mass. The in-season programs I design for my high school football players keep this in mind.

You also mentioned that you could only lift 2 days a week. The good news is that’s all you need! I think one of the reasons that high school kids give up on their in-season strength training is because they set unrealistic training goals. They say that they’re going to lift everyday and then when they don’t have time, they get frustrated and quit training all together. Remember that you now have to go to school, football practice and meetings. All three of these are of utmost importance. So we must set realistic goals.

You must know that you can maintain your size and strength by lifting only 2 days a week. I feel the best way to go about this is to lift the day after the game (usually Sunday) and then again mid-week. The day after the game I would focus mostly on muscle mass maintenance. Warm-up and then perform 2 work sets of 6-10 reps for all the major muscle groups of your body. This workout will help you recover from your game as well as prevent muscle mass loss. A sample workout is as follows:

A. Barbell Squats ? 2 sets of 8-10
B. Flat Dumbell Bench Press ? 2 sets of 8-10
C. Chin-ups ? 2 sets of max reps
D. Standing lateral raises ? 2 sets of 8-10
E. Dumbell Curls ? 2 sets of 8-10
F. Swiss ball crunches ? 2 sets of 25
*After you warm-up, this workout shouldn?t take you longer than 35 min.

You would perform your “explosive” lift(s) during the second workout of the week. This is the day you can also work on your “weak links” (usually upper back/external rotators). Here’s a sample workout for Tuesday or Wednesday:

A. Hang Cleans ? 3 sets of 3
OR
A. Box Squats with chains (50-60% of 1RM) ? 6 sets of 2
B. Reverse Hyperextensions ? 2 sets of 10
C. Bent-over Dumbell Rows ? 2 sets of 8 each arm
D. Cable external rotation ? 2 sets of 12 each arm
E. Abs (choice)

Just another idea for you to consider, here.

I know that Joe Kenn uses a 3x3 tier with this football players that utilizes a max effort lift, dynamic effort lift and a volume lift for the day. His players actually get stronger during the season so it maybe something to check out.

What do you mean by a 3 by 3 tier? Also, would it be stupid to use camp as somewhat of a cutting cycle, eating a reduced amount of carbs while keeping protien intake high? Making a good impression isn’t what I’m worried about (position alraedy solidified) I’m worried about being in shape the rest of the season, and I think dropping some body fat would help (althought it certainly isnt too high, but lower could be better)

If you cut carbs you’ll probably get tired. If you diet stays the same and you start doing more work you’ll start loosing weight anyway.

Tank, here is a link concerning the tier system.

http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=432787

To adjust this to an inseason program you might want to cut out the GPP warmup that BM talks about and also nix the push pull combo that is done after the 3 main exercises.

There is a link at the Elite site, to Joe Kenn’s inseason tier program that you might want to check out as well.

I went to the elite website and didn’t see the link to an in season program. I saw a program for the front 7, which I happen to be, but I couldn’t open the PDF. Am I just not seeing the link?