T Nation

Meeting HS Football Requirements

I have a coworker whose son is a 15-year-old high school student. He is your basic ectomorph, but his coach told him he can play on varsity if he hits the following requirements in the weight room:

10 rep deadlift of 275
10 rep powerclean of 175
10 rep incline bench of 175
10 rep normal bench of 175

He has one month to hit these targets. I used to be a personal trainer, so this guy's mother asked me for advice. I feel like punching someone, because making 10-rep performance the standard for making the varsity squad makes no sense to me. However, complaining isn't going to help anybody. Right now, this guy's P.R.s are:

8 reps deadlifting at 275
3 reps powercleans with 170
1 rep incline bench of 180
6 reps regular bench with 175

Any of you football guys got any advice? It sounds like he needs strength endurance, but I feel hesitant to recommend it, since I don't feel like it'd actually help him on the football field.


Can the kid can play jv football and get into the football/lifting class if available? A 15 year old who has never lifted will see some rapid gains but I doubt he will meet the varsity standards in a month. The coaches are probably trying to keep the smaller players from getting hurt. Tell him to start eating, sleeping and lifting and next year the coach will be recruiting him for the varsity.


I would say he is SOL except on deads and possibly flat bench. As far as training I would just worry about him getting stronger... if he ups his one rep max significantly his 10RM should go up decently as well. From his numbers he should be able to reach those goals, just not withen 1 month.


Bullshit, he can make that. Just have him bulk up for the next 4 weeks and lift hard. Work a lot on the incline and power clean, those obviously need the most work.

You guys don't think putting on 10 pounds in the next 4 weeks will get his lifts where they need to be?


OK I'm going to play with a 1RM calculator... yes they arent the most acurate but it could be off by 10% and still show my point...

SO plug in 10 reps with 175 (for incline) and the calculator pops out a max of 233lbs... like I said this could be off by a great deal and still show you how the chances of going from 1rep @ 180 to 10reps @ 175 is not likely to happen in 4 weeks. Based on the calculator it would require a 50lb gain in 1RM, a huge stretch even for a total beginner.


I haven't seen any skinny high school athlete put on 10 lbs in one month. I have seen it in three months, especially if they will keep a food log and lift/sleep like they should. Most of these guys weigh in around a buck fifty and a 7 percent gain in a month usually won't happen. You are right though, the key is to get bigger-the faster and stronger will follow.


Given the deadline I think it might just be impossible to make the requirements. How does he go from 1 rep to 10 in the incline Bench in one month? Not to mention the other movements like the Powerclean. 10 reps with 175 is not happening in one month.

What could happen is injury! Be careful.

Try to get an extension.


In one month? No way, maybe in 3 months Two lifts would have to go from a one rep max to a ten rep max. Is there an exact time when you must make the team? Like if he fails does he have to wait a whole year rather than like another 2 or 3 months?


Am I the only one who sees a strength requirement like that as bullshit? If the kid can play, he can play. A five rep or ten rep 175 incline does not matter. Then again we are talking about high school football coaches, many (not all!) of whom don't know jack shit.

I'd say you definitely work on the kid's strength but tell the coach he's wrong for setting a strength standard and ask for the chance to run with the big boys. The kid should have an opportunity to try out for the team if he's good enough, not because he benched a certain weight.


Completely agree...Thats rediculous that the coach has strength reqs. for the kids. Skill is what its about. Another thing that gets to me is its basically all upper body stuff too...where is the squat stuff? Since when did the upper body start playing a larger role than the lower body in football? Regardless good luck to this kid...hes gotta lot of work ahead of him.


what he can do in the weightroom shouldnt mean as much as what he can do on the field. if he is damn good, dont worry about how strong he is. if he can play, he will play. if he cant, rather be playin jv games then sittin watchin varsity games.


CT had some suggestions for improving strength endurance last night in his Prime Time thread:

If you respond best to higher weights and lower reps, that's how you should train (I'm like this myself). When you want to improve muscle endurance you can either:

1) Gradually reduce your rest intervals (something like a 15 sec. reduction every two weeks) and do more sets while keeping the weight heavy.

2) Use rest/pausing techniques like extended 5s... use a load you can lift 5 times, and do 10-12 reps with it, taking 10 sec. pauses during the set when you need them. Do not reduce the weight.

3) Use GPP work (sandbag, sledgehammer, wheelbarrow, farmer's walk, sled dragging) with relatively heavy weights performed in "sets" of 1-2 minutes.

It might be worth you looking up Joe DeFranco's site and/or articles as I believe he has done lots of work with HS players and is an expert on passing football tests.


I hope this is of some help.



Another couple of suggestions:

  • use heavy negatives as these are proven to increase strength

  • use potentiation technique as per the below article:


This would be useful as a 'warm-up' technique on test day as it would temporarily make him stronger and the test weights appear 'light'

  • make sure he is fully rested before the test day as this can make quite a bit of difference to performance especially as he could be overtrained after training hard for 4 weeks to make these lifts.

  • alternatively re-post this adding something like 'CT, CW, EC advice needed' and I'm sure one of the coaches will pick it up...or ask them on Prime Time.


Thanks for all the responses.

I, too, see the requirements as arbitrary. In fact, they seem so arbitrary that I wonder if something isn't getting lost in the translation. These requirements got passed from a HS football coach to a young guy who doesn't know much about weightlifting to his mother and then finally to me. Lots of opportunities for something to get misunderstood.

That's one reason why I am a little wary of making any recommendations.

I passed on a couple of DeFranco's articles. And gave him the basic advice - lift heavy, eat heavy, sleep heavy. If the coach sees the player making an effort and packing pounds onto his lifts and his body, I gotta believe he will get a shot.

Thanks again!


Wow! One month? Thats insane! However,if this kid has enough work capacity, I would suggest putting him on CT's 8 Weeks to a record bench program. Instead of following it exactly, take the underling concepts and put it to work towards his weakest lift. I have heard many success stories from people using this program. Just my take.




give him steriods lots and lots of steriods


Well, there goes my ability to print out the thread and give it to his mom! Just kidding. Thanks for the ideas, everybody.


Those are some pretty harsh reqs for a 15 year old. 90% of the starting receivers and all of the kick returners on my hs team could not do most of those lifts once.


I can't think of anyone on my schools football team that could do that.

Then again, they didn't their record was 0-15.

Food for thought.

Seems ridiculous high though the requirements.