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Weekend Warrior Workout: Increase Speed and Agility

Keep your flag out of reach this weekend with a football-specific speed and agility workout.

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Whatever type of recreational football you play—touch, flag, or quasitackle—you don’t need to supplement your gym workouts with any special equipment to develop that sudden burst of explosiveness you need to make plays. Just working a few medicine ball drills into your regimen will make a huge difference in your performance.

For years, coaches thought that Olympic lifting exercises like the power clean and snatch were best for building explosive speed that translates to the field. But that’s not the case. When you perform a clean or a snatch with a barbell, you have to decelerate the bar to complete the lift without hurting yourself.But when you throw a medicine ball, you don’t have to worry about that slowing component—you can go all out on every rep and follow through with intensity and momentum. That’s what builds power.Work these throws twice a week on lower-body days(get a partner or throw into a wall or fence) and get the game speed you need.

SINGLE-JUMP THROW
Hold an eight- to 16-pound medicine ball with both hands at your chest. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, your knees bent in quarter-squat position. Jump forward explosively while simultaneously chest-passing the ball as far as you can upward and forward at a 45-degree angle.Strive for full extension—a straight line—from your ankles to your fingertips at the top of your jump. Perform three sets of six reps, resting90 seconds between sets.

BOX SQUAT JUMP THROW
Sit on a box so your thighs are parallel to the floor, holding the ball at your chest. From this seated position, fire your hips and jump as far forward as you can while chest-passing the ball the same way as described above. Do three sets of six, resting 90 seconds between sets.

KNEELING COIL THROW
Kneel on the ground, with your torso vertical, holding the ball at your chest. As you did with your previous throws, chest-pass the ball as far as possible and then land on your hands in a push-up position. Do three sets of six, resting 90 seconds.

DOUBLE-JUMP THROW
Set up the same way you did for the single-jump throw, but instead of throwing the ball on the first jump, hold the ball in position and chest-pass it on your second broad jump. This jump should be more of a bounce than a throw, keeping your ground contact time as short as possible. Do two sets of four, resting two minutes.

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