Getting the Most Out of Your Football Endurance Drills?


Back when I played in college, we were asked to do in the off season football endurance drills our coaches asked us to do.

But I gotta be honest.

Even Barry Sanders had a hard time completing a session of Jerry Rice’s off season training regimen. (ICON Sports)

As I met other players from other programs, I always wondered why the off season conditioning program differed so much.

Today it crossed my mind again, and I said to myself,

“What if there were some basic principles that should be adhered-to when it came to conditioning for football?”

I did some research on-line, and wanted to let you know what I learned.

Related: The Truth about In Season Football Training

Football is an Alactic Sport


Before today, I never even knew what alactic meant.

But if you’re a football player, you should.


Alactic Anaerobic Energy System

Here’s how it works.

The muscle cells in our bodies store energy as adenosine triphosphate; commonly known as ATP.

Our cells can only hold about 10 seconds worth of ATP at a time.

Now that “10 second” number is important, so keep that in the back of your mind, because I’ll show you the importance of that number in a sec.

Creatine phosphate in our bodies replenishes the ATP.

Together, the ATP and creatine phosphate form what’s referred to as the alactic anaerobic energy system.

Still with me?  I’m about to tie this in shortly.

This stuff is fascinating to me.

Related: 13 Interesting Facts About Carbohydrates Every Athlete Should Know – Part One

Why is Football is an Alactic Sport?

The average football play is anywhere from 2-to-10 seconds or so.

…that’s 2-to-10 seconds of intense activity.

Remember when I told you our bodies only hold 10 seconds worth of ATP at a time?

Well since football plays are so short, your main fuel system in football is your alactic anaerobic energy system.

Related: POWER Football: How to Increase Energy Levels Naturally – Part One


Distance Running Doesn’t Help Football Players?


Alactic vs. Aerobic Energy System

You might’ve already knew this, but long distance running doesn’t train you for alactic anaerobic activity, like football.

It trains you for aerobic activity.

Your aerobic system uses carbs, fats, proteins, and oxygen, and it’s slow at producing energy.

Remember in football you need energy fast, so you rarely use your aerobic energy system in football.

Related: What Every Serious Football Player Should Know About Protein – Part One


Is your off season training regimen preparing you for games, or just your team’s conditioning test? (Image: NYCMarines)

Joint Problems

Did you know that long-distance running puts a lot of unnecessary stress on your joints?

I was always conditioned (no pun intended) to think that long-distance running was good for football.

I guess the question is, if it’s not helping you as a football player, why do it?



Does Long-Distance Running Actually Hurt Your Ability to Make Plays?


Feel free to do your own research on this, because I know what you just read above might be a shocker.

But from what I’ve read, long-distance running can actually hurt your ability to perform as a football player.

Apparently, this is because long distance doesn’t put you in the higher heart rate zone that you experience during most football plays.

So in a nutshell, if you’re training in the lower heart rate zones all the time (like you are in long-distance running), you’re hurting your ability to play at the higher heart rate zones that you’re going to experience on the field.

Crazy, right?


Aight, family, I’m gone for now, but click here for part two, once I get a minute to do it.

What kind of conditioning training do you (or your team) do during the off seasons?  Leave a comment.

Follow me on Twitter!  @alvingrier

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Web References:

Energy System Training (Sport Conditioning) (via
Alactic vs. Lactate Training (via
Long Distance Running for Football??? (via
Conditioning for Football (via

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