Training Programs for College Athletes
By Space Coast Daily // June 20, 2021
College athletics is big business these days and can be an entrée into the world of fame and fortune at the professional level. But whether the athlete is a D-1 star running back or a D-3 gymnast, training programs for collegiate athletes are imperative but the specific regimens can vary depending on the sport and the position the athlete plays.
As we reach the beginning of training camp for college football, we will focus some of our attention on that particular sport. The NCAAF odds for this season are already being offered at many of the best online sportsbooks and it will only be a short time before all of this rigorous training manifests on gameday.
Without further ado, let’s talk about some of the more popular training regimens not only for college football players but all the elite athletes competing at the collegiate level.
General Training Becomes Custom Training
Regardless of position, football training generally focuses on power, speed, and agility. Once the general training is completed there will be more specific programs catering to passing for quarterbacks, kicking for punters and kickers, and technique drills for the rest of the positions.
The same can be said of athletes in other sports playing various positions. Below is one of the most popular routines for offseason conditioning with an eye towards improving overall fitness and avoiding injury.
Offseason Program (4 days per week)
■ Alternating upper and lower body training to give the muscles at least a day off to rest is standard for all conditioning programs.
■ Squats – 4 sets of 10 reps
■ Leg Press – 4 sets of 10 reps
■ Leg Curls – 4 sets of 10 reps
■ Box Jumps – 4 sets of 10 reps
■ Dead Lifts – 4 sets of 6-8 reps
■ Lat Pulls – 4 sets of 10 reps
■ Flat Bench Press – 4 sets of 10 reps
■ Incline Bench Press – 4 sets of 10 reps
■ Pec Dec Flys – 4 sets of 10 reps
■ Shoulder Shrugs – 4 sets of 10 reps
■ Preacher Curls – 4 sets of 10 reps
■ Straight Bar Curls – 4 sets of 10 reps
These are normally supersets where the athlete will take a 45 second to one-minute break between sets and repeat the same exercise. As you can see the emphasis is on reps and not pushing the maximum weight. It is important athletes do not get too bulked up entering the season but we should note that there are different goals for different athletes. If we have an undersized linebacker looking to beef up then a training program will be customized toward that end.
But overall, this is a general training regimen that does not include jogging, biking, stomach and core work, as well as flexibility routines. As the season approaches, the regimens will become more finely tailored to the individuals’ goals. Strength training may take priority for some while course work will be critical for speed positions.
Hydrate, Sleep and Eat Right
The college athlete is akin to an exotic car that needs the right fuel and care to reach its peak efficiency. There are several good habits that an athlete can embrace outside of the weight room and below we will review a few of them.
■ Hydrate – Make sure to carry a water bottle with you as you would your cell phone. Whether your liquid of choice is a sports drink or spring water, it is never a bad thing to take a sip when the spirit moves you.
■ If you have somewhere to go the following day, make sure you tuck into bed at a time that will allow you at least eight hours if you were to fall asleep 45 minutes after you hit the sheets.
■ Today’s athletes are much more knowledgeable about healthy food than ever before. An athlete doesn’t have to be a vegan to be nutritionally disciplined and getting the right amount of protein mixed with a balanced diet is essential. Bring a healthy snack along with you wherever you go so the urge to visit a fast-food establishment doesn’t overwhelm your desire to eat right.
There are few athletes in history more equipped to expound on the benefits of taking care of one’s self than future NFL Hall-of-Famer, Tom Brady. Brady has championed a unique approach to training and eating healthy while stressing the importance of pliability which focuses on muscle strength, endurance, and, of paramount importance, flexibility.
Below is a snippet of what Brady had to say about his ability to play football at an elite level well into his 40’s.
“I feel like I have to work really hard at the recovery part of the sport. So, it’s not just the physical training to prepare for it. It’s the preparation for the performance, the performance, the recovery of the performance … Inherently, we’re taught that hard work is gonna get you everywhere you want to go. So, if I can work out once a day, if I work out twice a day, I’ll be better.”