All football players have to endure intense training in order to improve their games.
What’s needed physique-wise, you ask? You need a strong core and hips, not to mention strength and endurance. Here are three moves that achieve all of those criteria—courtesy of Michael Seril, the founder of the Excellence Through Exercise Foundation. Now’s the time to get ready for flag or touch football. Do three sets, 12-15 reps, of each movement.
Medicine Ball Wood Chop
Benefit: Seril says this is “one of the best exercise[s]” for developing powerful hips and a strong core, both of which are “key” to football fitness.
Set-up: Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart. Begin with the ball held outside and above your right shoulder. The movement is initiated by your right hip—not your arms.
Action: Lower the ball diagonally across your body, bend your legs while in motion, and pause when it is just below and beside your knee. Reverse direction to the starting position, completing your desired number of reps. Repeat movements on the other side.
Ab Twist with a Bar
Benefit: In addition to building strength and endurance, Seril says this movement will improve flexibility, all of which are “very important for athletic power and injury prevention.”
Set-Up: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent, with the bar on your shoulders.
Action: “Initiate the movement with your hips,” advises Seril, not your waist or lower back. Look straight ahead. Rotate your torso not quite 90 degrees in one direction, pause for a second, and return to the center position. Then rotate in the other direction. Keep the movement under control—don’t use momentum from the bar (the pause at each side and in the center position helps prevent this).
Hanging Knee Raise
Benefit: Seril says this exercise “improves abdominal, lower-back and hip flexor muscles.” The movement is triggered by the abs and core, not the legs.
Set-up: Grip a high bar, palms facing forward, and ensure your body is hanging freely (your feet shouldn’t be touching the floor). Before you initiate the exercise, make sure your arms are fully extended and you have a slight arch in your lower back.
Action: Raise your knees toward your chest, rounding your back and pause when your knees are slightly above your belly button. Your thighs should be slightly above parallel to the ground. Then slowly lower your legs back to the start position. Control your movement with your core by moving at a slow pace. Don’t use momentum to swing your knees up. When you’re ready for a new challenge, keep your legs straight instead of bent.