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Summer Training

We are almost to the end of June, which means that all you high school ball players have had a month off from school to rest up and have some fun.  But with the high school season only two months away, it’s time to get to work on strength, fitness, and conditioning.  The hard work you put in now during the summer is the stuff that can elevate your game to the next level during the football season.  Or maybe you play another sport, like soccer or la crosse.  For this first month, follow these summer training tips for strength and fitness and then I will provide you some football-specific workouts for the second month of training.  I recommend following these tips 6 days a week, with the 7th day devoted to your rest and recovery.

1. Start Running - Ok, this is very important for your aerobic fitness, your body composition, and your overall athleticism.  Running may be the fastest, most time-efficient, activity to boost your fitness.  I recommend starting your day with a small breakfast such as a Lean1 shake, or fruit and yogurt, or oatmeal, followed with 20 to 30 minutes of running in the morning.   If you can, do most of your running on a soft surface such as dirt trails, grass, or a track to prevent injuries.  You can mix up your running program by incorporating different speeds, such as jogging for 10 minutes, followed by intervals of 30 second sprint/30 second recovery for another 10 minutes, and then another 10 minutes of jogging.  When you finish your running, your muscles are warmed up and limber so use this as an opportunity to stretch very thoroughly.  This will help you feel fresh every day and prevent injuries.  Be sure to immediately follow your daily run with another breakfast, or recovery meal, to refuel your muscle glycogen (the carbohydrate stores in your muscles) and prepare for your next workout.  This time of year, your running program is about your aerobic fitness but soon we will turn to speed and power which is more important for football.  When do you ever see a great player jogging through a play?  Never.  If he did, he sure wouldn’t make my football team.

2. Focus on Your Core - I was 14 when I read an article by Herschel Walker about how he started his strength routines with push-ups, sit-ups, and pull-ups.  I started doing the same, and I believe several of Walker’s tips in this article were the foundation of my success in high school.  You can do the same by committing to a core routine on a daily basis.  Be sure to work your abs with sit-ups, side-crunches, bicycle crunches, leg raises, and any other ab exercise you know.  Also, strengthen your opposite muscle group with back extensions.  I recommend 50 reps of each of these core exercises.  Then move on to pull-ups, both forwards and backwards.   I recommend 2 sets of 10 for each of these exercises.  As for push-ups, I recommend 3 x 10 for both forwards push-ups and backwards push-ups.  Finally, I also recommend taking an extra few minutes for lunges and squats.  Try 2 x 10 lunges for each leg, and another 2 x 10 squats.  You do not need to use weights and you can do these anywhere.  For all these core-related exercises, remember to focus on your form and technique.  It is more important to execute the exercises in a strong and controlled manner rather than doing a thousand sloppy exercises!

I recommend doing your running and core workouts back to back in the morning and then taking a break for some fun, rest, or work, during the middle the day when its hot.  You can do the next two exercises in the early evening.  If you don’t have a time schedule that lets you split workouts, then go ahead and finish your training straight through. 

3. Sharpen Your Skills - This will vary quite a bit depending on what sport you are playing and what position you play.  For football, it important for everyone to do some passing and ball handling.  Also, you should all be focusing on your agility with fast feet drills, jumping, and backpedaling.  Here is one of my favorite drills: mark off or envision a Line of Scrimmage and a 20 yard line.  Drop back off the Line of Scrimmage into a back pedal as fast as you can for 20 yards.  As soon as you reach the 20 yard line, break as fast as you can and sprint back to the Line of Scrimmage.  Give yourself 25 seconds rest between each set and do atleast 10 sets.  It’s great to sharpen your skills by training with your friends or teammates.  You can help push each other together. 

4. Weight Training - Again, this will vary depending on what sport and position you play.  However, I am confident that most high-school aged athletes can really benefit from hard work in the weight room.  If you have never lifted weights before, please find someone who can show you how to lift properly to prevent injuries and maximize your strength gains.  You need to do lifting exercises to work both your legs and upper bodies.  Squats, leg press, hamstring curls, and calf-raises are incredibly important for your power and speed.  For upper body, you need to do bench-press, a row exercise for your back, and medicine ball lift and throws.  Be sure to follow your lifting with a solid protein recovery shake or meal.  I like Lean1 the best, since it is based on all my favorite aspects of a recovery or meal replacement. 

Use this workout program as a guideline to get your summer training started .  You will build the strength, fitness, and agility you need as a foundation and then soon I will give you some very specific exercises for football season.  I want you to focus on quality over quantity, on speed over distance, and raw power over weight lifting numbers.  You may need to make changes to this program to work with your schedule or other training you already do.  Depending on your current fitness and strength, this training program may not be easy for you.  To really make the strength and fitness gains required to take your sport to the next level, you need to take care of your body by getting atleast 8 hours of sleep a night, taking your vitamins and minerals, and eating a well-balanced diet with lots of protein, fruits, and vegetables.  Drinking, smoking, partying, and neglecting your body will hold you back from reaching your goals - so don’t do these things.  Good luck and please write in if you have any questions and I will do my best to get them answered.

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4 Responses to “Summer Training”

  1. Grant Fanning said:

    Romo

    I’m just turning 40 this year. I’m a former college LB who is a current high school coach. I still like to train, but as I’ve gotten older I don’t bounce back like a used to. I have two questions. What are some ways I can recover better. What’s your training routine these days?

    I really enjoyed your book and I’ve suggested it to many people. Your webite is great. Thanks

    Grant

  2. Michael Johnson said:

    Romo,

    Ive read your book a couple times front to back and its really a great source of information and a great story. I followed ure supplement program in your book with great sucess. I play college football and in the last year have had a string of injuries that have been keeping me off the feild and out of weightroom. At the end of the season we ran condo in the cold with no warm up and I pulled my right high hamstring. I played on it for two weeks and it got real bad so I had to sit. That was 4 weeks ago and that hamstring is healing but its real stiff and painful. What can I do for my leg so this heals faster and never happens again? What was ure routine as far as strecthing, core work, hip mobility and just keeping you fluid and in tune? Thanks for everything! Your book was a real inspiration for me.

  3. Andi said:

    Hello Mr Romanowski,

    I was wandering if you could help me improve my workout and answer a few questions. Firstly I try to get to the gym at least 3 times a week but was wandering if you could help me or give me some guidence. Mainly I have been wandering if I move up to 6 times a week would there be any problems in my body being able to cope or should I take it slowly. I was also wandering if it’s fine to work out when you still feel a bit tight or sore from the previous days workout?

    I was also wandering about whenever you say power is more important than the number of reps, normally I try to do the highest weight I can complete 3 sets of 12 reps at, does that sound like a decent way to train. I was also wandering about people like James Casey who completed 28 reps of 100kg in the drafts so was wandering if I was training wrong (less reps) or weither this is not a training method and purely to try and impress coachs and in which case what is the best way to train if 30 reps of 100kg is a goal?

  4. Andi said:

    Continued…

    Just for clarification I’m a 16 year old guy. I was wandering what you mean when you say strech out after a run? Do you mean stretch out your hamstrings ect? And I was also wandering if you knew any good streches for your calves? Mine seem to pull quite a bit on long runs or sprints over 40m

    Finaly I was just wandering if you have any idea of what sort of weight I should be able to bench/ curl/ squat etc if I wanted to be at NFL standard in a few years time and what I should aim for over the next few years? I’m 85kg for reference.

    I would like to finish saying that you have been a great inspiration to me and most of the guys I hang about with and I have found slot of your tips sofar invaluble, Thanks alot, Andi

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