Being in great shape for two-a-days is the single most important thing a football player can do to give himself an opportunity to land a starting job.
It doesn't matter how strong you are; if you're bent over trying to catch your breath on the field, you can't make plays.
Don't wait until it's too late to start preparing. Start your conditioning at the beginning of the summer. This will enable you to slowly progress your training and allow your body to adapt to the increased stress from the workload.
To be in peak condition for football, it's important to work the correct energy system. Football primarily draws upon the anaerobic energy system, which supplies energy to the body for bouts of intense exercise lasting up to 30 seconds. For football conditioning, this equates to repeated sprints with a 1:3 or 1:4 work-to-rest ratio.
Conditioning drills such as 110s and Half-Gassers meet the requirements to tax the anaerobic energy system. These drills are popular among major college football programs to help prepare their players for camp. (Watch video of the Tennessee Vols running the 110 conditioning test.)
For 110s, start in the back of the end zone and sprint to the opposite goal line. Skill players (WR, RB and DB) should try to finish in 15 seconds, medium skill (QB, FB, TE and LB) in 17 seconds, and big skill (OL, DL) in 19 seconds. Rest for 45 seconds between reps and repeat. (Get tips from former NFL FB Heath Evans on how to prepare for the 110 conditioning test.)
For Half-Gassers, start on one sideline and sprint to the opposite sideline and back. The distance is similar to 110s, but Half-Gassers require you to decelerate at the opposite sideline and accelerate again from a stop. Skill players should try to finish in 16 seconds, medium skill in 18 seconds, and big skill in 20 seconds. Rest for 45 seconds between reps and repeat.
For both conditioning drills, start with four reps the first week and add two reps each week until you can perform 20 reps under the targeted times.
Whether you choose 110s or Half-Gassers, the most important thing you can do is to start now! Starting with a low number of reps and slowly progressing each week is the smartest way to approach summer conditioning. By starting to put the work in early, you'll ensure you will be in great shape for camp.
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