The training needs of an offensive lineman are very different from other skill position players. But, the sad truth is that when it is off-season O-linemen tend not to be the centre of focus. Instead of offensive line drills that help protect a pass, drive block, tackle or explode off the ball, they are made to do generic power-lifting or bodybuilding. With every other day articles on www.si.com/ expounding the athletic built of the latest offensive line draft, simple weight training is not enough.
This primer was written for offensive linemen to up their games with just two simple changes. The changes help the athlete build stamina, size and strength. Therefore, make them more capable of blocking, tackling and guarding. The first trick is to practice more explosive medicine ball throws. There are two variations of the chest throw that should be practised. These position-specific med ball exercises are – repeated chest throws an explosive chest throw.
• Repeat Chest Throw Exercise
Begin with a half-squat position near a wall. You should be facing the wall at this point while holding a bouncing med ball. Now throw the medicine ball explosively towards the wall continuously. One rep can be made of six to twenty throws all done in six to twelve seconds. The tip here is not to forgo technique for faster throws.
• Explosive Chest Throw Exercise
This form of chest throw position also begins in a half-squat pose. Keep this position for five to ten seconds. Then jump forward while throwing the ball. Be as forceful as possible when you explode forward. Throw the ball as hard as possible for you. The exercise is meant to better your defensive tackle. Do three sets of the exercise with four to six repetitions in each.
This tip helps practice the movements an offensive lineman makes while on the field. The next trick is to learn to create as much force as possible from a dead stop. The one goal of an O-lineman is to prevent the competing team member from reaching the goal. To resist the force, you need to be able to have a stronger might. Spending time squatting can build this strength. There are few variations of the squat exercise that should be practiced.
• Front Squat Paused Pose
Start by standing in a squat rack with a bar secured across the shoulders. Use lighter weights for this position. Move down to a full squat and hold the position for three counts. After the third count, move upwards as explosively as you can. Remember to use as much force as possible and keep the muscles of the legs engaged while holding the bottom position. Repeat this exercise three to six times and do the entire set for four times.
• Dead Stop Squat Exercise
For this exercise position yourself under the bar of the squat rack so that the thighs are a bit above parallel in the squat pose. You will have to set the pins in the squat rack accordingly. Engage your muscles by tensing against the bar and move upwards forcefully. Reset the pins and then repeat the exercise 2 to 6 times for 5 sets.