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When a freshman steps onto the field in college for the first time, he'll be facing grown men five years older than him.
These guys are nearing their lifetime physical peak, and have been battle-tested on the college field.
They're bigger, faster, and stronger than almost any freshman can hope to be. So how can the youngster narrow the gap?
It all begins with strength training.
Once the high school football season ends, players typically rest for two or three weeks—until right around Christmas break. Then, it's time to start hitting the weights. Hard.
Many students will work closely with their high school coaches, especially at schools with a history of producing some top FBS talent. The college coaches don't get involved in training a player until the summer rolls around, so it's up to the student himself (and his high school coaches) to make sure he's as ready as possible for next fall.
Lifting four days a week is the norm, and any trainer worth his salt will implement a split routine, alternating between upper and lower body days.
Cleans and snatches are imperative for that explosive burst off the line. Following that with a pair of both chest exercises and shoulder workouts will add the muscle mass needed to compete at the next level.
The upper body day routine will usually conclude with a back and arm workout.
The exact type and duration of each workout will change depending on the position of the player, but the general scheme is the same for all.
Just like it is on lower body days.
Squats, leg-presses, lunges, leg curls, and calf extensions are part of every lower body routine, and strength is important for every football player on the field.