T Nation

Problem with Lifting for Football


Hello everyone I have quite the problem right now. I'm doing Madcow 5x5 at the moment and am loving it. I've put 45 lbs on my squat,25 on my bench about 65-70 on my deadlift,20lbs on my shoulder press and about 15 on my clean. My point is that it's working great.

My problem is that I also have to lift for football and quite frankly its retarded. It's Monday,Tuesday,Thursday and the "lifting" we do is whatever the coaches feel like having us do. I really want to continue Madcow because it has given me great gains and I'm only on week 8. I tried to just do the program as written and still go to football weights and take it easy but that was a disaster. I barely made reps and felt awful.

I need to continue lifting at home because that is the only way I can get stronger for football because the coaches lifting plan is not well put together. Any help as to what I should do is GREATLY appreciated. Really guys if you have anything that could help me out please say it. If it's switching programs,doing stuff for better recovery,or anything that could help please say it. I'm really in need of some help right now and would really appreciate it if someone could help.Sorry for the long post. Thanks for the help


I had the same issue in high school, during wrestling season I was cutting so much weight and training so hard I had nothing left for any kind of lifting. I ended up not lifting at all and I regret it. Killed me for football, and killed my desire to lift at all until a year after I graduated. If you are in high school, talk to your coach. A high school football coach is not likely to have much idea for weight training.

If you are in college/semi-pro, I'd still talk to the coach. The strength coach will at least hear you out, and can't ignore good results. Keep in mind though, powerlifting numbers don't necessarily have 100% carryover to football, so you may have to reconsider your own goals, as well.


Try talking to your coach. State your case and make sure you let him know several times that you are just trying to be a better/stronger player to help the whole team. It would be great if he said yes and let you do your own thing. The problem with a lot of football coaches (at the high school and college level) is they try to mimic the things pro teams do or they follow some plan laid out in some motivational book they read, written by some ex-coach. They think any deviation from the "plan" will cause negative results. The problem is most pro teams do a horrible job managing the football aspect of their players, hence the lockout right now, and those books they are reading were only written to sound cool so that more books get sold.

Anyway, even if neither of those scenarios are not the case, don't be surprised if he says you have to stick with the team lifting program. That's one of the prices you pay to play football: you have to be a member of the team. Even when the stuff the team does is stupid.


Trust me, I've been where you are, actually, just this season. My team's lifting program was completely retarded. My coach was an ex-powerlifter and even benched over 600 in competition, yet, he has this stupid ass program that has us doing 8 exercises in one workout. So, don't feel like you're alone.

What I did last season, was follow 5/3/1 and I got stronger than everybody on the varsity team (as a freshman, I made the biggest gains). This year, I followed WS4SB and guess what? I made the biggest gains out of everybody; again! So, what I and STB are saying, the programs laid out for you by your coaches are usually shit. I just went off and did my own thing because my strength coach was only there 2 out of the 4 days a week. He didn't really even care about our lifting, and that's what pissed me off the most.



I had this problem as a thrower in HS as well. Only difference is my sport isn't entirely a "team sport". (yes it is but not like football is)

I talked to my coach and he said as long as I make gains do what I need to do. Just had to keep a log for him since I wasn't following his workouts. If your coaches are any decent they will realize different things work for different people and should let you continue your workout as long as you keep making gains. Just have a good argument ready and some proof!


It's imperative that you find a compromise with your coach. First, is he going to cut you if you don't follow his program? If not then do your own program untill manditiory workouts.

I had the same problem too when I was your age. There was a powerlifting coach in town who I wanted to work with. But my football coach called a meeting and said we weren't part of the team unless we lifted with team. So not knowing the difference, I lifted with the team. There I learned how to do the behind-the-neck overhead press, the behind-the-neck lat pull down, and the elbows-out-flat-backed bodybuilding style bench press, etc. In other words, a recipe for disaster!

That was a long time ago. Now as I'm learning proper powerlifting form, I'm thinking, "this is exactly what that powerlifting coach said. if only I lifted with him, I wouldn't be a washed-up has-been with chronic shoulder problems."

Your coach knows that most guys, if left to their own devices, are only going to hit "the beach muscles." But that's not you. You know you can't shoot a cannon out of a row boat!


Thanks for the help everyone! Much appreciated! So I talked to my coach today and he said that I could do WS4SB as long as I still came to the weights sessions but that I could either take it easy and lift at home or do my own lifting alongside the other guys. My question now is, does WS4SB work as well as it says it will? I'm planning on following it exactly as laid out. If you guys wouldn't mind telling me what you guys did on the program and the gains you made I would be very grateful. CSEagles1694 I think that you and I are almost the same height and weight and play the same positions. 5'6 160,Middle Linebacker,possibly moving to Strong Safety because of my size. I'd be very interested to hear how you fared on the program. Again thanks for the everyone!


Well what I can tell you from my experiences with the program so far, it's awesome. Since I've been on the program, I went from 160 to 185 and all of my lifts have improved. It's a great program. It's not complicated at all and I never ran into any problems. Hope you get to where you wanna be. Good luck!



You should tell your coach about your progress, and, in private, maybe suggest that he begin a similar strength program with the rest of your team. He can make it look like it was his idea or whatever so you don't come off as "teaching the teacher", but if he honestly cares about his teams ability, and you're routine is providing great results, I see no reason why you shouldn't at least approach him about making it a full team program.

EDIT: I realized you already did this.... nice work.


One last question CSEagles1694. How much did your lifts improve by? The good weight you gained while on this program is reason enough alone but I'm just curious as to how much your lifts improved on this program and with the extra weight. Also just another irrelevant question but which variation of WS4SB did you do? I'm currently on III because it just looks phenomenal. Again thanks so much for the help.


My bench went from 210 to 260 in about 5 months, and I'm going to test my max in about two weeks here.

My deadlift haven't improved that much because of a back injury that prevented me from doing the exercises, but I can say that my deadlift has improved 20 lbs from 365 to 385 and I'm hoping to hit my first 405 deadlift in two weeks.



Don't go to a school that sucks? I unno.


Dude, I'm originally form Indiana. Where do you go to school? My son has the same issue with his coach, the coach says that Back Squats are unimportant and only focuses on Bench and Power Cleans. My biggest issue aside from the obvious is that he doesn't teach them good form. Three kids got hurt in the weight room this year because there form was bad. The only thing I can suggest is keep a good log and show him your strength improvements and maybe attend one session to show him your strength. I got my son a gym membership and he lifts with me, I don't want him even lifting with the coach because he's horrible.


I agree and disagree. It is a team sport but this isn't baseball or basketball, one can get seriously hurt if they're not physically prepared for the game. Also, if the coach isn't teach proper form and nutrition the chance of injury increases as well. Even though being a team player is extremelly important, for football I suggest you make a case to not follow the coach's program, get your parents involved if you must.


In College we lifted at 6 am 4x a week. Then after spring practice we went in and lifted again in the evenings and did our own workout. I suggest just going to a two a day system, eat more, sleep more, and dont worry about it.


Has everyone noticed that OP's coach gave him the go ahead?


I think some people just want to vent about this subject. It seems to be too common!

Glad to hear that it worked out for you, Claybear. You've shown commitment to the team and leadership. That's the stuff football coaches fall asleep at night dreaming about.