Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Strength Training for Football -- Richard G. Layman (1966)




Here's an article from a 1966 Mr. America mag (Vol 8 No. 8), as they worked toward trying the Mr. America/All American Athlete format and sought out Strength & Health readers to bring into the Weider fold. I went to a small gym for a while around then, and the shag/chrome layout was the deal then. There, and the lower-rent YMCA dungeon with the rougher gear, or, lifting at home with the usual equipment from that era. Two friends then taught me my first lifting lesson over that short period of time.

One fella did a three day per week layout as recommended, the usual charts and such. Couple sets of calf raises in there thrice a week and I shite you not his calves were visibly shapelier and larger in no time, while his much-desired biceps (we meant arms, eh) didn't change much at all. But the calves! Within the three total months he played with the weights three times a week his calves wound up looking crazy! 

But little or no arm growth in that three months. 

Another guy I knew a little from the Y dungeon had the opposite stuff happen. His arms, biceps especially, grew like weeds while his legs just stayed thin even though his weights in the leg stuff kept going up and he ate/slept/lifted etc. right for his desires. 

Quite a thing, ain't it. Anyhow . . . 


The Article

Today more and more coaches are conducting weight training programs in the hopes of making you a bigger and stronger football player. Whether or not you play football, you can benefit from the latest football strength training research! 

Whether you're a muscle beach he-man or a rushing halfback (or both), this article may have the strength tips you've been looking for! 

Though all weight training programs include the same basic exercises, many football coaches and players fail to see the results they had hoped for after weeks or even months of training. Unquestionably, any well-planned program will produce beneficial results, but do these programs have a lasting effect in helping to develop larger, stronger, and better athletes? 

Consider the results of Tanner's study of the effect of four months' weight training on the physiques of 10 mesomorphs. After the training and a subsequent four month rest, Tanner found that all their measurements with the exception of upper-arm girth had reverted back to pre-training size! 

It seems reasonable to suppose that the subjects' strength also reverted back to approximately the pretraining level. Weight training for football may have similar results. 

You see, the schools' planned weight training programs often are set up for the winter months only to be discontinued in the spring. Summer is largely a rest period for perhaps the majority of players, who may be encouraged to lift weights and run of their own volition, but who are more likely to spend most of their time riding around on someone's car and perhaps get a little exercise by swimming. As a result you more often than not return to school in the fall in no better condition than if you had begun your layoff right after football season. 

Are your winter weight training programs wasted? Could time be used more profitably? 

Here is an approach to off-season training that can be introduced during the winter and may appeal to your athletic instincts at the time -- this is the form of strength training known as "power lifting." 

As far as the authoritative definition of the word "power" is concerned, the strength-building exercises are inappropriately named, for they are strength tests and strength builders to a greater degree than they involve power. The true "power" lifts are those used in competitive weightlifting -- the press, snatch, and clean & jerk, in which strength is applied with explosive speed. The AAU people who named them apparently were not aware of the physiology and physics involved. As a result, we are saddled with a misnomer that will probably hang on like the "prone" (face down!) press. 

But, aside from the inappropriate name, the three exercises included among approved AAU "power lifts" are excellent strength builders and the strength they can build can be employed powerfully  by yourself as well as by well-coached football players. The important thing is that the lifts appeal to you and should give you an incentive to continue summer training on your own. 

The three exercise lifts recognized by the AAU include the
 
- Supine press on bench, 
- Squat, and 
- Dead weight lift. 

Among them, these three lifts put every major muscle group in your body to work, failing to work only one area intensively -- your abdominal muscles [really?]. They present the best method available today for testing genuine active STRENGTH!

Though coaches may prefer that the performance be standardized (so that the football players can be judged easier when it comes to gains in progress and strength), you have the opportunity to use these exercises in the manner which you think suits you best. But here are the basic techniques which I think you should follow: 

For record attempts in the supine press on bench, a two-second pause at the chest will eliminate one type of "cheating," bouncing the weight from the pectorals, in which some individuals can attain an advantage over others. The other requirement should be that the lifter's hips remain in contact with the bench throughout the lift. (For your training purposes, the two-second pause is not required; during training, repetitions are performed with no pause at the chest.). 

The squat should be performed to a point where the top level of the lifter's thighs is just below parallel to the floor. Even Klein, who criticizes complete knee flexion in squatting as being harmful to the joints, says that this position is not so extreme as to overstretch the leg ligaments.

You should perform the dead lift as it is described in better texts and courses on weight training and weight lifting. The major requirements should be that the lifter be fully erect at the finish of the lift, with his legs straight, back fully extended, and shoulders back.

In addition to intra-football-squad competition by bodyweight and by position, you may wish to set levels of outstanding performance to which you and your friends can aspire. Superior strength in relation to body weight can be a goal in which you compete with yourself. 

A high school boy who can lift a barbell equal to his weight in the bench press and squat is strong. If he can lift 50 pounds more than his weight in these two exercises, it is an indication of superior strength in the arms, chest, and upper legs. In the dead lift, if he can lift 100 pounds more than his weight he is strong, and if he can lift 200 pounds more than his weight with this exercise, it is an indication that you have superior back and arm strength. 

Weight training, like any other tasks, will of course bore you unless you can see results [as my boyhood friend with the great calves and no arms found just before he packed the weights in]. Your improvement should not be merely in the image you reflect in the mirror, but in a progressive record of lifting increasingly heavier poundages -- evidence of your increasing strength. For this reason, keep a week by week chart of your progress -- you'll be surprised at your own records as time passes on. 


Enjoy Your Lifting! 



















 




 

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