Football players need a tremendous amount of lower-body power, particularly linemen when they drive another 300-pound lineman backward. To get this amount of power, you need to build up your strength, flexibility and explosive thrust in the glute, hamstring and lower-back muscles around your hips. Big, muscular hips will allow you to explode quickly and propel yourself forward against your opponent's resistance, which will improve both your blocking and tackling.
Things You'll Need
- Barbell (optional)
- Dumbbells (optional)
- Kettlebell (optional)
Perform barbell or dumbbell squats to build up your glute and thigh muscles. Squats are an effective compound weightlifting exercise that targets all the muscles responsible for hip and knee flexion. By building these muscles up together, rather than via isolation exercises, you also work the smaller connector muscles and ligaments that make explosive hip propulsion possible.
Perform barbell or bodyweight glute bridges to build up the core strength in your hips. The glute bridge requires you to thrust and hold your hips in the air as your shoulders and feet are planted firmly on the ground, simultaneously building up your ability to control and stabilize your pelvis, even while you extend your hips forward. This exercise can be done with just your body's weight as resistance or with a barbell draped over your pelvis for an added challenge.
Perform glute-ham raises to simultaneously strengthen your hip extension and knee flexion. Hip extension is the motion that will give you the most drive as you block or tackle, and good knee flexion allows a solid range of motion from a lower and more advantageous position on the field. Glute-ham raises work your hamstring muscles at both ends, giving your lower body explosive power and flexibility.
Perform kettlebell swings to build up an explosive forward-hip action. The basic kettlebell swing is a deceptively simple motion of moving a heavy cast-iron ball forward by standing up as you thrust your hips forward. This exercise not only builds up your core muscles, but trains your hips to be quick and forceful.
Tips & Warnings
- Focus on exercises that target your posterior chain, which are the muscles running down the back of your body -- namely your glutes, hamstrings, erector spinae and trapezius. This is where most of your driving force will come from.
- High-intensity hip exercises may not be for you if you've recently suffered an injury to your knees, hips or lower back. Consult with your doctor or physical trainer before starting any new exercise program.
- Photo Credit Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images