Strength Performance Network

How would you prepare LSU and Bama football players for the BCS National Championship?

There are 32 days before football players from LSU and Alabama face off in the BCS National Championship on Monday, January 9th in New Orleans, LA.  What type of strength and conditioning workouts would you put these athletes through to best maximize their performance for this game?

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Comment by Nate Harvey on December 9, 2011 at 4:06pm

Crossfit was sarcasm. Good post Mark

Comment by Alfredo Ibarra on December 9, 2011 at 12:03am

Mark, I think it's an important point to consider the opposing teams style demands. The players need to be in great shape in order to perform at their bowl games. Different S&C coaches may take different approaches or emphasize different methods of training, but it's all about performance and keeping your athletes healthy.

Comment by John Tyler Smith on December 8, 2011 at 8:19pm

I would treat these 32 similar in the way that I would a pre-season microcycle.  Shift from weightroom plyo and Olympic lifts to on the field athletic enhancement workout progressions.  Multi-directional agility, speed, quickness, and uni-lateral power production exercises/drills preceeded by a dynamic warm-up and wrapped up by a cool down and self-myofascial release.  Prowlers, overspeed pulleys, tractor tires, agility ladder, cone drills, etc.

Comment by Justin Andrushko on December 8, 2011 at 7:26pm

2 or 3 times a week with full body workouts in the weight room including O-lift, squat, bench or jammer, rotator cuff work, core, and pull ups/chin ups. Linemen and others that may have banged up wrists from all the hand fighting I would remove the catch phase on the O-lifts and just keep it to pulls. I would also keep the volume down and the intensity fairly high to keep them in a power cycle/phase of the year. I would do this by probably going 5x3 for the primary lifts. 

I would also keep the workouts relatively short. Get in get out and get healthy. Every workout would include a lot dynamic warm up and mobility exercises to try and get back a bit of ROM that could have been lost from all the contact made during the season. Finish with stretching, massage (assuming schools like LSU and Bama have access to these resources) and ice tubs.

On field work: Besides the systematic stuff coaches do during practice I would possibly do some speed work, lots of starts/get offs, and flying 20's (20 build up*relaxed - 20 full speed*smooth - 20 gradual deceleration). and Some cone drills specific to each position.

 I am not sure how much time I would spend on conditioning at this point. They should already be in great shape from the season and by focusing my time on conditioning I will be taking away from the anaerobic focus of my training/preparation. If I do any it will be short burst with 10 - 20 seconds between each burst of 20 yards and I will shut it down as soon as I see the athletes fatigue (form breaking down and unable to complete the drill with maximal force output).

The final week leading up to the bowl game I would seriously decrease the volume and have them perform 2 workouts early in the week with 3x2. I would still have a high focus on dynamic and mobility work. But the idea is for them to be fresh, recovered and ready to peak on game day.

Comment by Brock Daniels on December 8, 2011 at 7:05pm

Changing pace in the first week off to "shock the body" while introducing some new exercises (or exercises not performed since the summer per say) is a great idea though I would start to level off once the middle of the second week roles around and stick to keeping the athletes strong, powerful, and focusing on their core musculature, stabilization and dynamic flexibility. 

However the focus of getting the players conditioned for the opposing team and their style of play needs to be performed on the practice field. In doing so I would implement a conditioning drill that is sport specific such as this:

In order to prepare my team against a fast paced Oregon offensive unit I would have my Defensive unit placed in the middle of the field while my two offensive units (scout teams) placed on the 30 yard lines. Once the drill starts the defensive unit has to line up against Offense 1, snap the ball, finish to whistle, and then right away hurry up to set up against offense 2. This is a hurry up drill that will not only condition the players but also create a hurry up state of thinking while they will also have to stay focused on their assignments.

Of course I work with a high school team where I am also the offensive coordinator so I am able to set up a drill such as this. A college coach might not want to implement drill into his precious practice time, which is when the weight room can come into play a bit more... Let me know what you think =)

Comment by Patrick Wykes on December 8, 2011 at 5:15pm
I agree with Mark regarding not putting the athletes into a learning phase with a multitude of "new workouts" keeping what they have done during the season at each school would be key and changing pace would be another great tool.
I would take that first week and do more recovery work (ie, low stress cardio/lifting) to let the guys heal a bit.
The goal would be to just tweak volume and pace a small amount to taylor to the team you will play but not bog down the work with alot of new things.
Comment by Mark A. Reinke on December 8, 2011 at 4:52pm

well said Craig.  However, you aught to be able to infer the coaches expectations based on the twelve games each team has already played this season...  

How about this: 

using the same modalities that have been used by the respective S&C coaches, modify the rest periods to mimic the metabolic demands expected based on the other team's offense (obviously specific to the defensive players) and alter the strength/power work for the offensive players to "shore up" the weaknesses already gleaned from an entire season of game film and practice.  

The break affords two unique opportunities:

1. to "deload" as many have already mentioned, thus promoting tissue and nervous system recovery...


2. to illicit a few new metabolic or power adaptations based on player's weaknesses or the playing style of the opposing team.   

not taking advantage of either of these opportunities would be foolish, and introducing new training modalities to the players might be equally foolish.  

additionally, I find it difficult to tell whether or not some of the previous posts are serious or not... 

Comment by Craig Cheek on December 8, 2011 at 4:11pm

hard to say how i would do it without knowing the players, injury histories, coaches expectations, etc.

Comment by Val Ford on December 8, 2011 at 2:51pm

Either Crossfit or Interval Training!!! Something that has light weight with high repetitions or repetitions for time will also be successful.

Comment by Charles Weaver on December 8, 2011 at 2:33pm

That ass kicker that Nate was speaking about (below) would have some very aggressive burpee complexes in there, how about Jumping Jack to plank to explosive jump into a pullup (of course you'd be up under a pullup bar to pull this off right). So take it in this order, 2 mins on the rower/ or multiple short distance sprints into the burpee complexes / to 30-40 yard farmer's walks with dumbells adjusted per each player for their position. Now that will make one mean ass, mentally focused, cardio enabled, strong as an ox grid-iron monster.

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