Important Upper Body Exercises For A Great Football Lineman
Being an offensive or defensive lineman in football is no easy task. While quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers are out avoiding defensive players; offensive linemen, full backs, and tight ends are left with the job of making a lane for the ball carrier to run through, or stalling a defender long enough for a pass to be thrown.
On the other side of the football, defensive backs and linebackers fly around getting sacks, interceptions, and fumbles, the defensive linemen is stuck with the job of filling those running lanes and occupying offensive linemen so blitzes and stunts can put pressure on the quarterback.
The thing that offensive and defensive linemen have in common is control. Both of these positions require massive amounts of upper and lower body strength to both move opponents, and to maintain your ground.
Exercises like the Ballistic Bands Squat and Press, RDL, and Single Leg Squats will be great exercises to help football linemen build strength in their legs, hips, and lower body. Building a strong upper body requires the football lineman to focus on strengthening their shoulders, chest, back, and arms.
The chest can be strengthened with any pushing exercise which originates at the chest, and then extends away from the body. This includes Bench Press, Pushup Variations, and Chest Fly’s. The shoulders will gain strength during the chest exercises, as the shoulders aid the arms in extension and flexion. Athletes can isolate the shoulders with exercises like the Standing Shoulder Press, Lateral Raise, or Front Raise. The back can be strengthened with a wide variety of parallel or vertical pulling exercises. Vertical pulling exercises for the back would include things like Pull Ups, or Lat Pulldowns. Good parallel pulling back exercises include the KB Duo Rows, Standing KB Powerband Rows, or Reverse Fly’s.
Football Linemen Need Strong Arms
The arm muscles are composed of two main muscle groups the biceps and triceps. The bicep is made up of two muscles which help control flexion at the elbow and help to rotate the forearm. Athletes can isolate the different muscles of the bicep by altering their hand position. Athletes can work the lateral bicep muscle (on the outside of the upper arm) by turning their hands in and performing hammer curls with the KB Powerbands or Ballistic Bands. This hammer curl motion will help build thickness and strength in the arm. Turning the palms up and performing a more traditional bicep curl will target the “ball” of bicep muscle that every athlete is looking for.
Tricep exercises work much the same as bicep exercises. One of the main differences between the two muscle groups is in their name. “Bi” means two and “Tri” means three. This means there is an extra muscle which makes up the groups of tricep muscles, this also means there is an additional third hand position athletes can use to train the different tricep muscles. For the Ballistic Bands Tricep Extension athletes will exclusively use the Neutral Tricep Grip. This grip is great for building strength and size in the tricep muscles, while the varying resistance from the Ballistic Bands forces greater Time Under Tension and control from the tricep muscles.
Additional tricep exercise grips which can be used with the KB Duo or KB Powerbands include the Pronated grip (both palms facing down) and the Supinated Tricep Grip (Palms Face up). While a tricep extension with any of these grips will help build strength in the arms the different angles target different individual muscles within that group.
Athletes can go to the Training Section to learn about different hand positions and arm exercises which can be combined in an upper body workout.
Overloaded Tricep Extensions
To complete the Ballistic Bands Overloaded Tricep Extension athletes will need 2-3 different levels of Ballistic Bands, and a pull up bar or other overhead stationery anchor for the Ballistic Bands. Athletes can perform the Ballistic Bands Overloaded Tricep Extensions from two different body positions. The hand positioning for both tricep extension positions will remain neutral (palms facing each other).
An athlete can position their body in one of two ways. The first is the traditional standing tricep pulldown position. Athletes grab the Ballistic Band with each hand on one side of the Ballistic Band. Athletes should grab high enough on the Ballistic Band so they feel tension at the top of the tricep pull, but are also able to fully extend their arms at the bottom of the tricep extension.
During these standing tricep extensions athletes should work deep into the extension motion, and then slowly resist the Ballistic Bands as they pull the hands about 60% of the way back up. Elbows should stay stationery in the side. Not coming all the way up allows for athletes to keep tension on the triceps and keep them from resting and recovering. This increased time under tension allows for more muscle activation in the arms. Once athletes are a little over half way up they will repeat the motion and push the hand to the floor, working to extend their arms.
Overhead Tricep Extensions
The second body position is more advanced and means athletes will need to pay more attention to their elbow positioning so they do not injure their neck or shoulders.
For the second tricep position athletes will place one hand on each side of the Ballistic Band, turn and step away from the anchor point. Athletes will then bring their chest forward, bending at the hips, and split their legs (one leg in front of the other). Athletes will lock their back and elbows so their elbows say in line with the shoulders, as they extend their arms out in front of them. Remember this is an arm exercise so bending and flexing at the elbow and not the shoulder is essential to having success with these tricep extensions.
Complete 6 sets of 10-15 repetitions using either the Traditional Standing Tricep Pushdown, or the Overhead Tricep Extension. Allow 30 seconds of recovery between sets of the arm exercise.