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Suspension Training Applications to Football Training

Updated on January 4, 2012

Football demands a high level of strength, agility and power from its athletes, and football training programs have always reflected this. Heavy lifting combined with conditioning and agility drills help player’s bodies withstand powerful impacts practice after practice, game after game. Suspension training, which utilizes bodyweight only, is now being incorporated in to many football training programs and is extensively used by athletes like Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints.

Benefits of Suspension Training

The most visible product on the market, the TRX, will enhance athlete’s activity in the weight room in several ways. First, as a pre-cursor to compound exercises like the squat or snatch, the TRX can prime the body’s neuromuscular system through an exact range of motion. This reduces the chances of injury and improves the performance of the lift.

The suspension trainer adapts to the individual, while helping them correct instabilities in the motor pattern of the exercise. Players can use the TRX without fatiguing the muscles prior to heavy sets, and will benefit by enhanced performance of the movement, resulting in new personal bests.

Suspended exercises are scalable to the level of the athlete and the desired results. These exercises require specific strength and coordination from multiple muscle groups, and transfer well to performance on the field. The constant stabilization of the load (bodyweight) throughout suspended exercises improves total core musculature. In turn, the execution of primary lifts and complex movements (often against resistance) during a game are also improved.

Strength Specific

TRX movements that transfer directly to the game of football include single-leg exercises through all three planes of motion for enhanced explosiveness off the line. These moves also improve single leg reactivity by improving the ability to decelerate suddenly and accelerate in an opposite direction.

Suspension training conforms to individual training programs for specific positions. Conditioning the shoulder of a quarterback is the perfect example of this. The high stresses placed on the shoulder while throwing a ball with force for hours at a time, combined with the potential impact from other players, can be a recipe for injury.

A quarterback benefits from TRX exercises like “bilateral internal rotations” which strengthen the rotator cuff, and suspended scorpions which emphasize the motion of the hips during a throw. These motions incorporate the whole body, enhancing the mechanics of the throwing motion. At the same time, a suspension trainer can train the specific loading phase of the throw, strengthening the shoulder to withstand impact.

Suspension training improves core strength for all players to withstand impact through twisting movements and standing positions, and is beneficial for all body types. The training transfers directly to the field, where the players with the greater explosiveness, agility and “strength/power-to-weight ratios” are better prepared to achieve victory. Utilizing training to improve football specific movement patterns will ultimately result in an improvement of these attributes.

The split suspension trainer Jungle Gym XT
The split suspension trainer Jungle Gym XT


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