The Best Football Workouts to Train Like a Top Athlete

If you want to get in peak physical condition, pro football players are the guys to emulate! These impressive athletes spend hours perfecting the ideal physique–plenty of muscle mass for grappling and tackling, incredible stamina for running with the ball, and strong arms! Whether or not you’re a football player, training with the best football workouts is a great way to get your whole body in shape. In this article, we’ll share the best weekly workout plan to get you training like a top athlete.

Key Takeaways:

  1. The best football workouts include upper body, lower body, full body, and speed and agility workouts.
  2. You’ll need great equipment to train like a football player–barbells and dumbbells are must-have items.
  3. Don’t neglect nutrition and stretching in your football training plan; they play essential roles in your fitness!

Your Weekly Workout Plan

Before we break down the ins and outs of each exercise, here’s an overview that will help you incorporate the best football workouts into your week.

Day 1: Upper body. 

Today, you’ll focus on your arms, shoulders, chest, and back. You’ll use weights and presses to bulk up your muscles and prepare you for grinding days on the gridiron.

Day 2: Lower body. 

The best football players don’t just have jacked biceps–they also have strong legs that give extra oomph to their tackles. On Day 2, you’ll focus on your legs and lower body to build and tone muscles and give you explosive strength to rival any pro athlete.

Day 3: Full body. 

On Day 3, you’ll focus on explosive strength–a hallmark of hard-working athletes. Great football players can go from 0 to 60 in a few seconds due to their hours of training in full-body explosive strength.

Day 4: Speed and agility. 

Despite their impressive bulk, football players must be quick and agile to run with the ball, dodge opponents, and fall just right to get that first down. You’ll want to include a day of speed and agility training to train like a football player.

Why is our plan only four days long? The workouts that football players complete are grueling and strenuous. To avoid muscle fatigue, it’s essential to get plenty of rest. We recommend that you complete days 1 and 2, take a rest day, and then complete days 3 and 4, giving yourself two days of rest before you start the cycle again. However, you can organize your schedule differently depending on your available time. Just remember not to pack all your days together without rest time–you might find yourself experiencing injury and burnout!

Upper Body Strength Workouts

On Day 1, complete the following exercises for the number of sets and reps indicated. If you can’t do that many at first, don’t worry! Focus on doing fewer reps but with good form. Don’t push too hard and sacrifice form. You can work your way up to the recommended duration and sets. You’ll be completing pro football athlete-style workouts in no time!

Bench Press

  1. Start on the bench with your feet flat on the floor. Tighten your core in preparation.
  2. Squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  3. Make a slight (not exaggerated!) arch in your lower back.
  4. Grab the bar tightly, as far down your palm as you can. Use a narrower grip.
  5. Breathe in, unrack your bar, and breathe out.
  6. Breathe in again, lower your bar, and breathe out as you drive it up.
  7. Bring the barbell down to touch your chest, then use your whole body (legs and feet, too!) to drive it up again.

Go for 5 sets of 3 reps each.

Neutral-Grip Floor Press

This press isolates your pecs and tris for targeted muscle building. You’ll need a pair of dumbbells for this exercise.

  1. Grab a pair of dumbbells, one in each hand.
  2. Lay down on the ground, feet pulled in close and flat on the floor.
  3. Tuck your elbows in and press straight up with both hands at once.
  4. Bring them down, pause, and press again.

Aim for 3 sets of these. Go for 8 reps in the first set, 6 in the second, and 5 in the 3rd. Give yourself 3 minutes of rest in between.

Dumbbell Row

For the dumbbell row, you’ll need a dumbbell and a bench.

  1. Start next to your bench, with a dumbbell resting on the floor on the side you want to row.
  2. Place your stabilizing hand and knee on the bench with your other foot on the ground.
  3. Flatten your back and reach down to grab the dumbbell.
  4. Row it up, focusing on using arm and elbow strength rather than your shoulder.
  5. Lower the dumbbell back to the floor.

Complete 2 sets of 8 reps each.

Seated Dumbbell Lateral Raise

Work your shoulders with this exercise, which uses a pair of dumbbells and a bench or chair.

  1. Sit down on your bench or chair with a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Raise the dumbbells to your side at shoulder height.
  3. Lower and repeat.

Go for 3 sets of 10 reps each.

Seated Dumbbell Clean

While working your traps, tris, and middle back, you’ll target your shoulders here. Grab a pair of dumbbells for this football-player-worthy exercise. You’ll also need a bench or a strong chair.

  1. Sit down on your bench or chair with a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Lift the dumbbells to your shoulders, keeping your palms out and making a 90-degree angle with your elbows.
  3. Press the dumbbells above your head.
  4. Bring the dumbbells back to your side.

Complete 3 sets of 10 reps each.

Zottman Curl

Grow your biceps and forearms with this challenging exercise! You’ll need a pair of dumbbells.

  1. Stand with a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing each other.
  2. Curl to your shoulders, turning your hands as you do so that your palm is facing out/upwards.
  3. Lower the weights very slowly to your starting position.
  4. Turn your palms so that they’re facing each other again.

Complete 3 sets of 8 reps.

Lower Body Strength Workouts

These exercises strengthen your glutes, calves, hamstrings, quads, and other muscles. The best football workouts incorporate lots of lower-body strength training, so don’t miss Day 2 of your training regimen!

Box Squat

For the box squat, you’ll need a barbell and a box.

  1. Start in a wide stance.
  2. Get under the bar and position it in the groove of your upper back. Go for a wide-hand grip.
  3. Set and tighten your core, then lift the bar from the rack.
  4. Descend slowly down onto the box, keeping your head and chest high and your core tight.
  5. Ascend again, keeping everything engaged and tight.

Do 4 sets of 2 reps each.

**Optional Workout: Squats can also be done with resistance bands of various sizes and resistances.

Woman using resistance bands to do a squat.

Bulgarian Split Squat

This challenging squat targets your quads, glutes, hamstrings, and more. You’ll need a bench or a solid chair to get started.

  1. Stand in front of the chair, shoulders back and feet hip-distance apart.
  2. Pick up one foot and place it on the chair/bench behind you. Ensure your elevated foot is still hip-distance apart rather than directly behind your other foot.
  3. Bend your stabilizing knee into a squat, ensuring that most of your weight is in the front (not on your elevated leg/foot).
  4. Press back to standing.

Do 2 sets of 6 reps on each side.

Barbell Back Squat

This compound exercise engages hamstrings, glutes, and lower back muscles, helping you burn calories and build gridiron-worthy muscles. For the barbell back squat, you’ll need a bar and plates. 

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Take a deep breath in and unrack your barbell. Hold it on your upper back.
  3. Hinge your hips and knees to perform a squat, ensuring you keep your shoulders and chest open.
  4. Push out of the squat and return to a standing position.

Go for 3 sets of 4 reps each.

When doing barbell-based exercises like this squat, it’s crucial to have the equipment you need to train at a pro level. That means using equipment that keeps you safe while allowing you to move forward in your fitness journey. Hampton Fitness offers the best bars and plates in the business, plus safety equipment like bar pads and lock collars that will get you training like a top football player.

Man wearing a "Rare Breed" shirt lifting a barbell with weights on it.

Weighted Back Extension

Weighted back extensions strengthen your spinal extensors and promote a strong back. This exercise requires a barbell or dumbbell and a glute-ham bench.

  1. Lay face down and use a lower leg brace and thigh pad to distribute your weight on the bench evenly.
  2. Starting with your whole body parallel to the bench, hold a weight above your shoulders at the neck.
  3. Bend your waist until fully flexed (aim to make a 90-degree angle with your body).
  4. Lift and repeat.

Try 2 sets of 5 reps each.

Dumbbell Side Bend

Strengthen your core with this exercise, which requires a dumbbell.

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and a dumbbell in one hand. Your knees should be slightly bent, with good posture.
  2. Place your free hand behind your head, keeping your chin tucked.
  3. Using just your spine, slowly bend, letting the dumbbell move down the outside of your leg to just above your knee.
  4. Squeeze your muscles on the engaged side as if performing a crunch.
  5. Slowly raise back to a starting position.

Do 2 sets of 10 reps.

Sprinter Situp

This body-weight activity will give you a core worthy of any football player!

  1. Sit down on the floor, knees bent and feet flat.
  2. Slowly lean your torso back to a 45-degree angle from the floor. Keep your core engaged.
  3. Lift one leg a few inches off the floor.
  4. Quickly lift your torso back to sitting, pulling your lifted leg towards your chest as you do so and pushing your opposite arm forward.
  5. Repeat with the opposite side.

Try 3 rounds of 10 reps.

Weighted Sprints

You’ll need a weight, like a loaded sled or bag, for this exercise. Using your weight of choice, complete short sprints.

A versatile weight that’s perfect for sprints is the HeroStrength “Rescue” Bag. Its handles make it easy to carry, and you can use it in various exercises that will help you get in football-ready shape.

Man running up stairs while carrying a "Rescue" bag on his shoulders.

Full Body Explosive Strength

You’ll focus on developing explosive strength for Day 3 of your football workout routine. Football players use these exercises to power short bursts of intense movement on the field.

Plyo Pushup

Work your chest, tris, and abs with this workout while developing explosive power.

  1. Start at the top of a standard pushup position.
  2. Lower yourself to the floor like you would in a standard pushup.
  3. Use enough force to lift your hands off the ground and clap when pushing yourself up.
  4. Land lightly and perform your next rep.

Plyo pushups are challenging, so don’t do more than your body can handle! Aim for 2 sets of 5-10 reps.


You know how to do a standard chin-up. Add an explosive element to this basic move by briefly letting go of the bar at the top of your pull-up! Grab it again on your way down. This movement is challenging, so make sure you’re a pro at regular chin-ups before trying it.

Start with 2 sets of 5 reps.

Incline Dumbbell Bench Press

You’ll need dumbbells and an incline bench for this exercise.

  1. Set your bench’s incline to 45 degrees.
  2. Sit on the bench with a dumbbell in each hand.
  3. Keeping your dumbbells at chest level, lift them straight up above your head, doing a press.
  4. Lower to the starting position.

Do 2 sets of 8 reps.

Face Pull

Strengthen your deltoids with this exercise, which requires a cable pulley machine.

  1. Position the pulley system slightly above your head, using two hand holds.
  2. Grab the handles, palms facing in.
  3. Extend your arms, engage your core, and lean back slightly.
  4. Pull the rope towards you to lift the weights just slightly, engaging your shoulders.
  5. Pull the handles straight towards your forehead.
  6. Extend your arms to return to the starting position.

Do 2 sets of 20 reps.


You’ll need a pair of dumbbells or two kettlebells for this exercise.

  1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, standing with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Breathe out and let your shoulders shrug up. Keep your torso and wrists straight.
  3. Breathe in, lowering the dumbbells back to the starting position.

Do 3 sets of 8 reps.

Hammer Curl

You’ll need a dumbbell for this curl, which builds arm strength and explosiveness. Hammer curls are identical to regular bicep curls, except that you’ll perform them with your palms facing in (towards each other). These curls develop your grip strength, something that’s important for football players when holding or catching the ball or grappling with other players.

Do 2 sets of 12 reps.

Speed and Agility Training

Congratulations! You’ve made it to Day 4 of your football workout routine. On this day, you’ll focus on speed and agility, allowing you to run, jump, turn, and fall like an expert football player.

Speed & Agility Functional Football Workout

3-Hurdle Drill

You’ll need three hurdles for this drill, which improves your agility.

  1. Start outside of the hurdles.
  2. Shuffle over each hurdle, keeping your feet apart.
  3. Reverse directions at the end and go back through the hurdles.

Do 3 sets of 2 reps.

Box Blast

You’ll need a Jump box for this exercise.

  1. Start with one foot up on the box, knee bent.
  2. Jump up, raising your arms above your head, and land lightly with your foot still on the box.

Do 3 sets of 10 reps on each side.

The HeroStrength “Jump” Box is the perfect tool for this football workout, providing stability with soft, high-density foam and an anti-slip surface. This box won’t tip, no matter how much power you give it!

Woman jumping onto "Jump" box.

Lateral Bound

For a simple but effective agility exercise, try the lateral bound.

  1. Start on one leg.
  2. Jump laterally to your other leg.
  3. As soon as you land, jump back.
  4. That’s one rep.

Rather than doing reps, set a timer for 30-60 seconds.

Base Rotations

Sneak some cardio in with this exercise, which requires no special equipment.

  1. Start with your knees bent, hips back, and feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Keep your chest facing straight ahead as you jump, and rotate your hips to the right and your arms to the left.
  3. Immediately repeat on the other side after landing.

Do 2 intervals of 40 seconds each.

Single-Leg Hurdle Hop

You’ll need some hurdles to complete this exercise.

  1. Set up your hurdles about 20 inches apart.
  2. Stand in front of the first hurdle, using one leg to jump over it. Use the other leg to jump over the next hurdle.
  3. Repeat for the remaining hurdle.

Do this exercise for intervals of 40 seconds, repeating three times.

Ankle Jump

For this exercise, you’ll need a bar or stabilizer of some sort that’s about chest height.

  1. Grab onto your stabilizing bar and lean forward.
  2. Keep your legs straight, and use your calves to jump up.

Do ankle jumps for 30-second intervals, repeating three times.

Additional Considerations—Warm-up, Recovery, and Nutrition Tips

While the proper workouts are an important component of football prep, they shouldn’t be your only focus. In fact, prioritizing workouts over proper warmups, stretching, nutrition, and rest can lead to burnout, strained muscles, and possible injuries. Moving beyond drills and considering your overall health during football season is essential.

Football Warm-up

Warming up before workouts and games is essential, whether you’re a football player or another type of athlete. Start by walking or jogging to get your blood flowing, then move into a series of stretches to limber your muscles and reduce the risk of tears or other injuries from tight muscles. Medicine slam ball exercises are also a great addition to any warm-up routine.

A woman in a blue sports bra and leggings slams a black ball onto the ground.

Warmups are also a great time to get yourself in the right headspace. If you’re going into a demanding workout, picture yourself performing each exercise with maximum power and remind yourself of your fitness goals. If you’re heading into a football game, free your mind of distractions and focus on the game ahead.

Recovery After Football

Recovery after exercises is just as important as warming up! Give yourself time to wind down from your workout or football game. Stretch your aching muscles, go for a brief cool-down jog, and give yourself the mental space to recap your performance and go back to regular life.

After a game, there’s no better way to soothe your muscles than to use a foam roller. The HeroStrength “HERO-LLER” Foam Roller gives you the feel of a sports therapist without the cost! The textured surface helps relieve muscle strain and pain after the most demanding workout or football game.

Best Foods to Eat Before Football (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Before football practice, it’s essential to fuel your body with the proper nutrients for peak performance. Reach for healthy carb options like oatmeal at breakfast, and don’t forget a good serving of fruit.

Make it your goal to eat 2-4 hours before game time. Get a bit of protein in with chicken or tuna, but focus on carbs like potatoes, pasta, bread, and rice. Aim for at least 70 grams of carbs in your pre-game meal.

Football is a challenging sport that demands peak physical conditioning. Whether you’re a football player gearing up for games or just looking to improve your workout routine and strengthen your body, a well-balanced football workout routine is your best friend.

Check out Hampton Fitness’s bars and plates and “Rescue” bag to get the most out of your workout, and a “Jump” Box will give you the confidence to tackle explosive workouts safely. Pick up a “HERO-LLER” foam roller from Hampton for ideal post-workout and post-game recovery!

Whatever your football fitness goals, you can be confident that Hampton Fitness products will stick with you at every step of your fitness journey.