Get Stronger for Football: 3 Steps to Massive Strength Increases for Football Players

If you need to get stronger for football, here are the 3 easiest methods to do it! Remember, how strong you are determinds how fast and exposive you are, so, getting stronger is a must! If you’re weak, you won’t be fast or hit hard, it’s that simple. I know a lot of shady salespeople try to get you to believe otherwise, but, the strongest survive in football.

If you’ve read my article Westside Training for Women or any of the writings of Dave Tate or Louie Simmons, you’ve no doubt been exposed to max effort (ME) training. The main objective of this kind of training is to get as strong as possible.

ME training will strengthen both the muscle fibers and the connection between the muscles and the central nervous system. The CNS can vary the strength of a muscular contraction by involving the number of fibers at work and by changing the strength of the impulse sent.

ME training allows you to work with near limit weights to build super strength. Weights will range from 90 to 100 percent of your max for that day.

Re-read that. It’s your max for the day, not your all time max.  We will refer to this as your training max (TM).

If there’s one aspect of ME training that confuses athletes the most, it’s figuring out how many reps and sets to do. The great majority of emails I get is questions about setting up the ME work. I remember Joe DeFranco saying that after his Westside for Skinny Bastards series, he got hundreds of emails asking him to explain how many sets to use!

It’s actually quite simple. We use the term “work up to a max.” But, how exactly do you this?

How to Work Up to a Max

This is easy to do, but it can be confusing if you’re doing it for the first time; so, let me walk you through it. Let’s use the bench as an example. We’ll assume you’re working up to a 3-rep max for the day.

Start off with just the empty bar. That’s 45 pounds x 3 reps. Then try another rep with just the bar.

Now, if you’re new to lifting and don’t know what you can do, increase the weight in 10-pound increments until you get 3 reps, but the fourth is nearly impossible.

If you’re more experienced and you know that you’re going to be shooting for, say, 135 x 3, try this:

  • 45 x 3
  • 65 x 3
  • 85 x 3
  • 105 x 3
  • 125 x 3

Then either 135 or 140 x 3.

If you break your record, use more weight the next time around.

As a general rule, working up should take five to six sets. If you’re very strong, it’ll take more sets. Obviously, going up to 600 pounds will take more sets to reach than 95 pounds!

Another quick example from one of my recent ME Lower body sessions. I performed snatch grip dead lifts, and the working-up process looked like this:

135, 225, 315 x 3
405, 455, 475, 505, 525, 555 x 2

2. Sub-Max Effort to Get Stronger

There will be times when you just don’t have it in you to hit over 90 percent. This is a great time to use sub-max training.

Basically, you’ll work up to a heavy weight (80 to 85 percent) and hit multiple sets with a low number of reps.  There’s no pre-set number of sets; you just have to listen to your body on this one.

Recently, a football player I train was feeling run-down by classes and his training, so I had him ditch his ME Upper work for the day and instead focus on SME. On his normal ME day, he probably would’ve worked up to 315 to 320 for a single on the bench. Instead, he did this:

45, 135, 225, 250, 275 x 3
300 x 7 sets of 2

He’s obviously still working heavy, but backing off just enough to allow for recovery. With sub-max work, the main goal is to work hard, but don’t overextend. Keep the rest periods strict and to a short 60 to 75 seconds.

3. Eight x Three

This is a classic Waterbury-esque method of both training heavy and getting a good amount of volume.

This is super easy to set up. Use 80 percent of your max and try to get 24 reps. If you fall short, repeat the process the next time around until you get 24. Once you do, add weight.

Some confusion sets in with 8 x 3 when it comes to warm-ups. Don’t include warm-up sets in the 8 x 3! Take a few lighter attempts and then you stay with the same weight for all 24 reps.

I’ve also had guys tell me that they used some insane weight with this method, then I find out they only used the heavy weight on the last set! That’s totally missing the point!

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