Football Conditioning And What Not To Do

One of my favorite documentaries, is called “STRONG”. The gym owner, Joe DeFranco, takes the viewer into his gym which is located in New Jersey. We get to see high school, college and pro athletes training together, getting stronger for their chosen sport whether it be football, baseball, rugby or wrestling.  These are a group of ordinary people, working together and doing extraordinary things.  Here’s a teaser from that documentary:

I bought the dvd and have loaned it out to many people who were interested in training with me in my garage gym.  I want them to watch the documentary so that they know ahead of time that this is how we train.  We push ourselves, we encourage each other and we challenge each other to go beyond the norm.  There are some great gyms and trainers in the Austin area and there’s room for all of us to thrive but just like with anything, there are some gyms and trainers that stand out above the rest.

Defranco’s Gym in New Jersey is a perfect example.  I think the difference is the environment.  The energy just explodes when a group of driven, enthusiastic athletes get together to throw down.  It always boils down to either you can either lift it or you can’t.

No excuses.

You can either beat me in a drill or race or you can’t.  If you can’t then, great, now you know exactly what you need to work on to get stronger, faster or more powerful.  It’s typically one of the following:

  • Diet
  • Consistency
  • Sleep/Rest
  • Mindset

Sounds easy enough but the consistency is what kills most peoples dreams.  They don’t want it bad enough.  They’ve heard about a trainer across town who use to do this or use to do that so they plunk down there hard earned money and typically waste their time (along with their money).  In the meantime, they can’t even do a proper deadlift with a broomstick without rounding their back  – a sign of poor mobility. Get strong first, get mentally and physically strong and then seek out the flavor of the month trainers.  If you then waste your time at least you were already strong mentally and physically.


Joe Defranco’s back with a YouTube video in which he addresses why 2 of the most popular football conditioning drills are also 2 of the worst.  Joe played football in high school, got injured, opened his own gym and trains some top pro football players like Brian Cushing, 2X Super Bowl Champion, David Diehl and many, many more.  Joe’s dad is a retired police officer who still works out in his 70’s and Joe, himself, is in great shape, strong, lean and capable.

So I pay attention when guys like this talk.  I’m always looking to learn more.  It’s not “my way or the highway”, it’s trying different techniques and then sticking with the ones that work best and throwing out the others.  Instinctively, I’ve always known that running long distances, doing any sort of steady state cardio, performing circuits that include long drawn out cardio exercises, etc are not the way for football players to train.  Why?  Because they don’t translate into a better player on the football field.  Yes, they may build some team camaraderie but at what cost?



“Mental toughness, physical toughness and never giving up”, Kam Chancellor when asked about his teams winning philosophy by NBC’s Michele Tafoya after a Seattle Seahawks football game.

If you’re a coach, parent of a football player or a football player, watch the short video below for more on football conditioning. A high school football players career and opportunities are over in a flash.  Be informed, be educated and make the proper choice for your team, athlete or for yourself when considering what type of training to do.


After watching the video, I’m sure this makes plenty of sense to you – it certainly did for me.  The Austin area athletes that I’ve trained have been from all around including Cedar Park, Leander, Lake Travis, and Austin.  It doesn’t matter what school they’re from, all that matters is that they meet the following criteria – they’re hungry, enthusiastic and consistent. The mental and physical strength will follow.



I’m currently forming my Summer Strength and Conditioning group and I’ve got room for 2-3 more athletes.  I typically work with 9th grade up to 12th grade as well as those who will be going off to college.  This is an opportunity to elevate everything that your athlete is currently doing including strength training, conditioning, nutrition and mental toughness.  Please contact me if you’d like more information.




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