Why Football Players Need to Squat Deep
Football players are known for being big meatheads. They just throw on weight, yell and scream, and do arm workouts. For any football player, legs are the most important exercise because everything you do on the field involves your legs. One of the biggest concerns I have training football players is mobility. Typically it is awful, and most of the time it is not genetics. Most of the time it is because no one has ever forced them to squat deep and get the stretch reflex they need. Squatting below parallel in every lift is very important for the stretch reflex, mobility, and explosiveness in football players.
The stretch reflex is a very important factor for weight training and sports in general. At Garage Strength, we always say lengthening is strengthening and that is exactly what this is. It stretches your muscle to a point of contraction which then helps your nervous system fire. Everything in football relates back to your nervous system firing properly. From getting out of your stance fast, hitting someone, or reacting to plays, it all comes back to the nervous system and the strength of your muscles.
Mobility might be the most important factor that most football players are missing. Mobility is not only important to gain strength, but it also is an injury prevention tool for all sports. The less tight you are, the less tension is on the surrounding tendons and ligaments. Also, having good mobility will also help with minor pulls and aches in your muscles. Maintaining good mobility through deep squats is one of the best ways to ensure a fully healthy and productive season.
Explosiveness is what football is all about. Whether it is the first step on the snap, exploding to get to full speed as fast as you can, making one guy miss to score a touchdown, explosiveness is key to every great football player. From lineman to the skill positions, everyone has to be explosive. Having good depth in a squat, controlling the weight as you go down, hitting that bottom position and then exploding up is exactly what football is. Controlled explosiveness is the game, you have to know when to control yourself to make sure you are in a good position to make a play and then you have to explode to go make the play.
Mobility, explosiveness, and the stretch reflex ties it all together to be a successful football player, and it all in the weight room. Starts with being disciplined and busting your butt every day, and learning how each movement transfers to the field. Squatting deep is the first thing every football player should learn.
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Dane Miller is the owner and founder of Garage Strength Sports Performance. He works with a select handful of clients on building comprehensive programs for fitness and nutrition. Several times a year he leads a workshop for coaches, trainers, and fitness enthusiasts.