5 Gut Busting Conditioning Drills from the Gridiron

by Brett on February 10, 2009 · 68 comments

in Health & Sports

footballconditioning

Back when I played high school football, there was nothing I dreaded more than conditioning drills at the end of practice. After three hours of practice in the hot and humid Oklahoma sun, all you wanted to do was take a cold shower and chug Gatorade. But my coaches had other plans. In their spare time they came up with sick and sadistic conditioning drills that they piled on top of regular practice. Designed to increase the endurance and the will of our team, these drills usually consisted of wind sprints and calisthenics. When it’s 102 degrees outside, these drills could be a gut buster. At the beginning of the season, when most players were still not in shape, vomiting was common. Thankfully, I was able to go four years without up-chucking, but there were moments when I came very close.

The funny thing about football conditioning drills is that while I dreaded the lead up to them, after we were done I felt a supreme sense of satisfaction. It felt good pushing my body further than I thought it could go. And the conditioning paid off. When it was game time, being in prime physical condition allowed me to go all out on each snap for the entire four quarters.

After my senior year of football, I never thought I would do another conditioning drill again. But a few months ago when I was at the gym boring myself to death on the elliptical machine, I was reminiscing about my football days, particularly those gut busting conditioning drills. I remembered how satisfied I felt afterward. I remembered how much aerobic and anaerobic endurance I had. Years of treadmills and elliptical machines has caused my endurance for high intensity workouts to deteriorate. Sure, I was in decent shape, but I wanted to take my performance to another level.

So I decided to start doing those old conditioning drills. Here’s a list of the football conditioning drills that I’ve included or will include in my workout routine.

Warning: If you played football in high school, you might be tempted to push yourself too hard when you first start out. Your mind remembers doing these drills when you were 17 years old. However, if you’re like me, your body is 10 years older, and it’s been 10 years since you’ve done anything like this. The first time I performed these conditioning drills as an adult, I barfed and was sore for the next week. Push yourself hard, just be aware that initially it’s going to hurt-bad.

The Gut Buster

I don’t remember the name for this drill, but it was a gut buster. This one was probably my favorite one to do in high school. The first time I tried it as an adult, I barfed. Hopefully, it will continue getting easier.

1. Go to an open field and set up two cones or other markers, about 40 yards apart.

2. Stand by one of the cones and start off by performing 10 squat jumps.

3. Immediately following the squat jumps, sprint as fast as you can to the other cone.

4. Upon reaching the cone, perform 10 sit-ups.

5. After the sit-ups, sprint back to the original cone and do 10 up-downs or burpees.

Continue to sprint back and forth between the cones, performing the following exercises:

6. Sprint followed by 10 push-ups.

7. Sprint followed by 10 mountain climbers.

8. Sprint followed by 10 butt kickers.

9. Sprint followed by 10 jumping jacks

10. Sprint followed by 10 push-ups

11. Sprint one forty-yard dash to finish the drill.

50 40s

This one is simple. Mark off 40 yards and sprint it 50 times. Rest 1 to 2 minutes in-between each sprint.

Four Corners Drill

1. Grab four cones and form a 10 yd by 10 yd square.

2. Start at one cone, and backpedal to a parallel cone (you’re going to be making your way around the perimeter of the square).

3. When you reach that cone, move directly into a shuffle to the next cone. Your feet shouldn’t cross or touch during the shuffle.

4. Upon reaching the third cone, move into the Karaoke drill.

5. When you reach the fourth cone, sprint has fast as you can to the last one (you are now back where you started).

Do 5 sets. Rest 1 minute in-between sets.

You can include different movements to mix things up and make it more challenging. Some suggestions:

  • Bear Crawl
  • High Knees
  • Butt Kicks

100 Burpee Challenge

10 sets of 10 burpees. A minute rest between each set.

40, 60, 80, 100s

1. Start on one goal line and mark off 40 yards and sprint the distance 6 times.

2. Mark off 60 yards and sprint the distance 4 times.

3. Mark off 80 yards and sprint the distance 2 times.

4. On the last set, run 100 yards from goal line to goal line, 1 time.

Rest 1 minute between sprints.

Do you know any more conditioning gut busters? Share them with us in the comments.

If you’ve never done some  exercises mentioned in the post, or need a refresher on proper form, here are some how-to videos to take a look at:

Squat Jumps

Mountain Climbers

Karaoke Drill

High Knees and Bear Crawl

Burpees

{ 66 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Steven Copley February 10, 2009 at 9:11 pm

You just brought back some memories… Ahh high school football. Indeed, great shape and the reward for all the hard work was not only the ability to perform but the confidence gained by knowing your physical abilities.

It’s time to start working out again. I’m not sure if I’m ready for the football stuff yet, but I do like to mix things up when working out.

2 Noelle February 10, 2009 at 9:37 pm

Wow! Videos are really helpful–thanks for the inspiration!

3 shaun February 10, 2009 at 9:40 pm

Ah, the glory days of football :) I’ve been thinking about how we used to run around the park several times, with the person at the back having to sprint to the front. I think I would have a stroke if I tried that now…

I’m going to give the Gut Buster a try…one question though…what’s a Butt-Kicker?

4 Brett February 10, 2009 at 9:43 pm

@Shaun-

Butt kicker-standing in place, jump in the air so that your heels make contact with your butt at the same time.

5 Brett Balcar February 10, 2009 at 10:48 pm

It also helped motivate me when I had coaches yelling at me to “Finish the drill!”

6 Alex February 10, 2009 at 11:59 pm

In lacrosse for conditioning we had meat grinders. We practiced on a soccer field but really any field will do. Basically you jog the width and sprint the length. While the other positions were running you would be playing catch and for every dropped ball you would do 10 push ups or 20 sit ups or 5 squat jumps.

7 Brian McDaniel February 11, 2009 at 4:37 am

My dad was a football coach in Alabama for 30 years. Here are a few of his tested and proven methods to improve your conditioning or destroy your will to live, depending on your perspective.

The Suicide

Line up on a Goal Line. Run to the five yard line and back. Now to the 10 yard line and back. Repeat until you run down and back from Goal Line to Goal Line.

You feel like you’re running a marathon in Alabama’s 105-degree days with #95-percent humidity. Sometimes used as a team punishment.

Gassers

Line up on the sideline. Run to the hash mark and back, then to the opposite hash mark and back, then side to side. Running backs, ends, LBs secondary, and QBs in 45 seconds; linemen in 50 seconds, Shave off 5 seconds each pass. Penalty for one person failing is for eveyone to run that stretch again.

Builds team spirit…or encourages half the team to kill some poor 10th grade, 3rd string, out of shape lineman.

8 Derek February 11, 2009 at 4:40 am

The good old days…

Here’s one for you to try. Get a small to medium car tire and place it flat on the ground where there is some grass. It helps if the grass is slightly wet ( I can remember the smell of the august dew on bermuda grass during two-a-days still). Place your hands flat on the treads of the tire, not on the top, and push the tire for 15 yards. Turn around and repeat 4 times. Break for a minute and do it again.

To perform it successfully you have to keep your legs moving and your bodyweight off the tire. This will keep your body in a more horizontal position and really burn your legs after a few sprints.

I hope that the description was clear enough.

9 Guy February 11, 2009 at 6:11 am

Much like the ‘Gasser’ above, but coach Johnson introduced us to the:

“Crab Gasser”
Up to the first hash mark on all fours, then back the same. Followed by twice and back sprints sideline to sidelines. Penalties for the whole heat if one is over time, but he never penalized us for dragging a dogger over the line.

“Zig Zags”
Sprint down the end line, jog back the goal line, sprint down the 5, jog back the 10, sprint down the 15…. end at the opposite end line. This, by itself, wouldn’t have been so bad, but Coach Reid (who played OT briefly for the Oilers) would come out and ‘block’ the linemen as we were going through our sprints ‘because he was getting bored’.

10 Chris February 11, 2009 at 6:50 am

I used to play high school football and lacrosse. We had different strength and conditioning coaches for each sport, but they made us do similar drills. We had something called “gassers”, which was basically sprinting the length of the field and back twice in full pads, one minute rest in between. 6 to 8 of those after each practice. The best part was lowering the time threshold for each sprint, which ensured no one would “dog it.”

There was also the “optional” after practice track work, which consisted of sprinting intervals. Sprint 100 meters, jog 100 meters, spring 100 meteres, jog 100 meters. Repeat all of that 4 to 6 times.

Running the stairs in our stadium was also a very good, very basic workout.

11 David at Animal-Kingdom-Workouts.com February 11, 2009 at 7:43 am

I never played Football in High School, but these are fantastic exercises that should help anyone. The exercise I like the best is hill sprints. Basically, you find a hill that isn’t too steep, and you sprint up it for a max of 30 seconds, then walk down. Do this 5 times, and you’ll have all the cardio you need.

- Dave

12 EP February 11, 2009 at 7:46 am

I mostly have just one thing to say: I effing hate burpees!!!

I would also like to throw in an ad for CrossFit (www.crossfit.com). It’s a fitness regimen that seeks to develop cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy through high intensity, constantly varying, functional workouts. Each day is something new and is likely to leave you gassed but wanting more.

13 Glenn February 11, 2009 at 8:07 am

As a non-football player, I’m wondering whether all these drills were done on the same day of practice or whether they were alternated? I’m seriously considering doing these but don’t want to kill myself trying to do all of them on the same day.

14 Alex February 11, 2009 at 8:27 am

They are called Green Bays. We were not subjected to them during practice, but the dedicated group did them during the optional summer workouts.

The Green Bay:

10x100yds
9x90yds

1x10yds

1 minute between, and they are full-out sprints.

This can also be done in reverse order.

15 Brian February 11, 2009 at 10:36 am

We did the Jacob’s Ladder. We would all get in single file and start running laps around the football field, the person in front would lay down and then the next person would lay down about 5-10 yards away, this would continue with the teammates jumping the prone players and then laying down.

It was a condition reward drill, the faster you sprint to the front of the line the longer you got to rest by laying down. Kind of a hard drill to do solo.

For punishment type conditioning the O-linemen (of which I was a proud member) would do “Cardiacs”. You would face off across from another player and start doing high knees running in place, every time the coach blew the whistle you had to do a belly flop and pop back up and start running in place again. When he gave two quick whistles you would get in a three point stance and wait for him to yell “hut!”, then you fired off and delivered a blow to the guy across from you. It didn’t take much of this until instead of firing off you kind of got out of your stance and leaned on the other guy for support.

Sometimes we would just go old school and push the blocking sled until the coach got tired of watching us.

16 Jsthegr8 February 11, 2009 at 11:17 am

ohhhh them 2 a days!

this is a great article. I remember doing a bunch of bleachers in a football stadium, however can be very tricky/dangerous on the way down…..we would do what was called “snakes” I believed. Run around the track, run up the bleachers back down and continoue around the track etc…

17 Ryan February 11, 2009 at 12:16 pm

Gassers worked the best. We switched from hills and sprints (20 and 40 yard) to gassers and sprints in my senior year and saw quite a bit of physical improvement. The hills were great for leg strength but we already got plenty of that throughout practice and in the weight room. It was also easier to dog hills.

18 ced February 11, 2009 at 1:23 pm

ehhh think ill just sit on my couch and relax, just thinkin about high school football made me tired lol

19 Jack McNiel February 11, 2009 at 2:00 pm

Didn’t do this in football, but in Coast Guard bootcamp. It was called “Escape from Cape May.” Started at the beach with a dufflebag half filled with sand. Throw bag as far as you can, sprint to it, drop down and do 10 push-ups, pick up bag, throw it as far as you can, sprint, drop down , 10 push-ups, repeat until you reach main gate (appr. 1 mile). Oh joy!

20 Elliott Hulse February 11, 2009 at 2:31 pm

Great post!

When I played HS and college football we did many of the same “Gut Busters”

Today, I train football players at my gym but I now use a system that incorporates Strongman Training.

Exercises such as:

Tire Flipping

Keg Carries

Farmers Walking

and Sled Dragging…

offer an incredible combination of Strength Building, Explosiveness as well as
Conditioning.

I’ve got a TON of videos that teach you how to do these exercises for football training at http://HulseStrength.com

Thanks!!!

21 Kurtis February 11, 2009 at 2:35 pm

Greyhounds were always my least favourite. A greyhound is basically a sprinted figure 8 around the four corners of the field. Take a 1-2 minute rest in between successive greyhounds. We generally did this 6-8 times.

22 Adam February 11, 2009 at 2:48 pm

Well, I play rugby, but it’s the same type of drills.
On your own:

Pyramids (suicides) – if you have a partner of similar weight and athletic ability, do them with piggybacks – I remember one session of absolute murder in the pouring rain – we kept slipping, and because you’re using your hands to hold the other guy up, you fall a lot.
Pyramids/suicides with exercises at each line – just what it says, the exercises are your rest period.
Pyramids/suicides with exercises all along – so for example you would bunny hop to the 10 yard line, then sprint back, spring (like frogs) to the 20 yard and sprint back, crawling is a good one, just make sure it’s a proper military crawl and not hands and knees. Again, piggybacks work well. I suggest only doing a half pyramid as this becomes agonising after you’ve bunny hopped 100 yards.
If you can’t give someone piggybacks, get a rucksack and fill it with weight instead.

Interval training – spring horizontally along a line, jog the touchline to the next, sprint across, jog to the next line, and so on, all along the pitch (less work for us rugby players, we have fewer lines).

Hill sprints – run up your nearest hill that’s over 30 yards, and then back down, 10 times. Then do a lap of the field, about 2 laps of the pitch. Repeat for about 30 minutes (preferably in the pouring rain again).

Use resistance things – run the length of the pitch with a parachute on, but not a normal parachute, one with much smaller strings (whatever the proper term is). They can be quite expensive so make one yourself, use some rope and a tarpaulin/canvas sheet.

If you’ve got a partner/group:
Have one person/half the group/part of the group set the pace for the others, e.g. sprint from one end to the half way line. Everyone else does burpees/press ups/plank (prone bridge) while they wait, then the next person goes. Builds fitness and team unity, as you’re working harder so your friends don’t have to do as much.

23 JCEEZ February 11, 2009 at 2:56 pm

Geeze, this made me VERY nostalgic, and also sad about how poor of shape I am in now compared to 10 years ago!

While it probably hard to do by yourself i HATED the Indian Mile. Jog with a group of people, then the guy in the back sprints to the front, after he gets there, the new last guy goes etc.

5 dots
Imagine 5 dots (like a 5 pt dice) with the corner dots about 1 1/2 shoulder lengths apart. Have your feet start in the middle dot, then jump to the top 2 dots, then back to the middle then the bottom 2. Then opposite corner dots, middle dot, opposite corner etc. Then have both feet together, and jump clockwise, hitting the middle dot between every corner dot. Do each of the 3 for 30 sec at a time as fast as you can, wait 1 – 2 min, then do the next drill. Wash and repeat.

Butt Jumps,
Sit on your but with your legs out in front of you touching each other. Without moving your legs (or body) pump your arms like your sprinting until your but comes off the ground. Do this for about 30 sec per set.

Worms, I hated this a lot
Put your hands behind your back and get on your belly. Crawl around like a worm the short lengths of the field, stand up and sprint the long ones.

24 Jason February 11, 2009 at 4:44 pm

I played the other kind of football at a christian school…our coach had a sick sense of humor and made us do a drill called a “Joshua” at the end of practice (see the Old Testament for the inspiration).

Step one: Jog 6 laps around the field at a steady pace (about a mile)

Step two: Do a sprint lap while screaming the entire time (about 300 yards)

The element of sprinting and screaming will do wonders for your lung capacity/stamina. It will also make any onlookers think you’re completely insane.

25 Danny D February 11, 2009 at 6:56 pm

Back when I played soccer we did what my team affectionately dubbed the “Death March”

You start at one corner of the field. Sprint from end line to endline (sidelines for you American footballers) then jog the rest of the lap. The next lap you’d sprint endline to mid field, then jog the rest of the lap. Each lap add a 50 yard segment to the sprint until you’ve sprinted a full lap, then work your way back down.

By the time you’re done you’ve completed about a 3 mile run with a 1 mile sprint (if my math is right, it’s been a while)

And if you ever get a chance to work out with several guys, you could do what my platoon does on Tuesdays, LOG PT!!

Go find yourself a good log…about 10 feet long…and heavy, several hundred pounds, then do things like, sit ups (as a group) while holding it in your hands, and curls and military press, or if you feel especially sadistic, go for a run with it on your shoulder. BE WARNED: Protect your shoulders, the log will bruise you.

26 Mike S. February 11, 2009 at 7:28 pm

Love the article. As a former HS runner (Cross Country and Track) in Pennsylvania all we ever did was run.
Indian File running: Coach divided us into two equally competent teams, then sent us off on a four mile loop in opposite directions. Running in a row at a moderate pace the last runner takes a step out of line and then sprints to the front. The tired guy is then setting the team pace while the new last guy starts his sprint and so on. Sending the two teams on the loop in opposite directions made us work all the harder to win.
Thurdays were always hill days during summer cross country practice. A mile and a half run to the base of a pretty steep hill. Start sprinting on the flat about a hundred yards from the base then about 200 yards up and fifty yards past the crest. Jog back down, repeat eight to ten times. And then another mile and a half time trial back to the gym. Puke city!

27 Jones February 11, 2009 at 7:44 pm

Back in high school I was on my schools rugby team. We used many similar drills to this, though we did do some others.

The Russian warmup (no idea why it was called that)
line the whole team on the 22 yd line, everything is to the goal line, all facing the same way.
shuffle, karaoke, high knees, 5 burpees and a sprint, lunges

The cigarrette run
whole team once again, we would split into forwards and backs, as we had roughly equal numbers. Each team would line up at a post, first guy runs 5 yards, drops flat perpindicular to his run. Next guy runs and jumps over him, another 5 yards, this is continued by the whole team, we would race to the end of the field and back

the beep test
Im sure a lot of people have had to do this one at some point. It is done to a tape or cd, where you run a preset distance, usually something like 50 yards, by the time the tape lets off a beep. The tape we used did 10 beeps per level, every level the beeps speed up. It would get to be about 10 minutes long, and to be a fullback or a winger, you had to make at least level 14.

These were always hard, but I did enjoy them

28 Joe February 12, 2009 at 5:15 am

these are great! i’ve really been looking for ways to take my workout to the next level. i, too, played football in high school, and rugby in college. it’s been a while since i’ve done hard conditioning, and now i’m training for a triathlon in july, a firefighter physical test (also in july, i am applying for a career position), and i’m climbing mount kilimanjaro in august, so the exercise bike and rowing machines are good, but i need that extra boost.

some things my team did in high school…

beasts – simple, but rough. you just run sideline to sideline on a football field four times. down and back, down and back. if you don’t have access to a football field, you could mark of ~50 yards and use that. the catch is, they were timed, and if you didn’t finish in time, it didn’t count. we usually did 5 or 6 at the end of practice.

kansas city – mark of 5, 10, and 15 yards. start on the goal line (or starting line if you’re not on a field), and it’s basically a suicide (goal line to 5 yds and back, goal line to 10 yds and back, goal line to 15 yds and back, that’s one). only you do different exercises each time. sprint one set, side-shuffle one set, karaoke one set, bear crawl one set, forward/backpedal one set, get creative with it. they suck.

opportunity – these were if we missed any team function, were late to practice, missed practice (God forbid!!!), or anything. it was a disciplinary action designed to give us an “opportunity” to get better and make up for our mistake. here it is. sprint 100 yards and do 25 pushups. sprint 100 yards, do 25 sit ups, sprint 100 yards, do 25 squat jumps, sprint 100 yards, do 25 burpees, bear crawl 100 yards. this is the worst thing ever, especially b/c they happened at the end of practice, AFTER the usual conditioning (beasts, kansas citys, whatever).

pike’s peak – this is simple, and it was included in our station-to-station conditioning at the beginning of practice. basically just set up cones in a big V shape, start at the point (or the top/peak) and work your way to the wide end, zig zagging your way, cone to cone, all the way down. it’s terrible.

that’s all i can think of right now, but trust me, these are no fun, but i still have never been in better shape than i was then.

29 Kevin February 12, 2009 at 6:41 am

Check out http://www.rosstraining.com/ for any and all of your conditioning drills. Everyone that I did just about killed me. I started them 10 years after I got out of the Navy where I was working out regularly with the SEAL detatchment on my ship. Ross’s drills brought back a lot of memories!

I bought his book (Never Gymless) after reading the website, and I recommend it.

Kevin

30 Stephen February 12, 2009 at 3:04 pm

Wow a LOT of ex-football players read this blog, hahaha!

My coaches used to make us do a drill every friday called the Big 3, that really separated the men from the boys. We all started on one goal line, we had to sprint the length of the field, backpedal the length of the field, and then bear-crawl the length of the field. This might not seem like much, but trust me, once you bear-crawl 110 (yes, I’m from Canada) yards in full equipment, your arms just about want to fall off.

31 Joel February 20, 2009 at 10:33 am

Anyone ever do reverse Indian runs? We did ‘em on our indoor track; the person in front has to sprint all the way around and catch the person at the end of the line. Doing it once=gassed. Doing it more than once=vomit.

32 Alex February 28, 2009 at 12:15 pm

I remember having to do a drill called snakes that I dont think anyone has mentioned, you start at one corner of a football field and run the hashes then the side 5 yards, then the other hash and do that till you reach the end of the field then sprint back and start again. A lot of fun, still love doing suicides/gassers

33 Paul March 9, 2009 at 7:58 am

something you might not think about is frog jumps. im a wrestler and our coach made us do them. it was pretty easy… for the first five minutes. then you got some fat kid jumping on your back and your about to fall. its pretty hard. theyre great conditioning and leg workouts though.

34 Alex Biondo March 21, 2009 at 7:47 pm

I just came off of my second JV season, and I actually remember all of these drills.
I think the only difference is the “50 40s” we only got a 10 second rest between each sprint, and the “40 60 80 100s” were called “Falcon Runs” and we’d do 3 or four at a time.
and nothings better at gassing then a couple of full stadiums.

35 Daniel April 3, 2009 at 9:59 am

We had a creative coach in school. My position coach was the OL coach as well as the strength and conditioning coach. The drill I’m going to tell you about was something he thought up my senior year, just to torture the 4 seniors, because we were the most in shape players he ever had.

He just called this the Effort Drill:

He had 3 guys line up with blocking dummies: one on the line of scrimmage, one about 5 yards back, and another about 10-12 yards back.

When he blew the whistle we started bear crawling with the first dummy being pushed down onto our shoulder, until he blew the whistle 3 times.

Then we would release and find the LB dummy and push him until the whistle blew 3 times.

Then we would have to find the Safety dummy and drive him until he blew the whistle 3 times. Then would have to sprint back to the line of scrimmage.

Thing is, with us seniors he ended up having us drive each thing for at least 50 yards.

36 Ike April 6, 2009 at 1:37 pm

I wasn’t a runner or a football player in high school, so my experience with these drills is somewhat limited. I did, however, swim. If you have access to a pool, there are many heinous conditioning drills that you can do, but my least favorite (which means it was the best for me) was a 200 yd freestyle followed by 10 push-ups and 20 wall jumps. Repeat this several times, and you have a great conditioning exercise that doesn’t require running.

37 Fran June 4, 2009 at 8:30 pm

Circle of Death-start at one corner of the field, sprint down the sideline and stop at the corner and do 15 sit-ups, get up and sprint counterclockwise to the opposite side of the goaline and do 15 pushups, sprint down the sideline, stop at the goaline and do ten burpees, sprint to beginning spot. We usually did this 4 times to symbolize the 4 quarters. If we felt the athletes weren’t working hard enough we would go into overtime.

38 James June 23, 2009 at 10:42 am

I remember all the drills we had to do in high school, I’m also happy to see some new ones added or ones that have different names. I’m going to be doing a conditioning camp for my pee-wee league football players end of this month and a lot of these will come in handy, so thanks again for all the details on the drills.

39 james July 28, 2009 at 3:51 am

In High School my coach made us do (Trojan Circuits) start by
1.1 Lap around track
2. up&down the bleachers (3x)
3.2 40s (sprints)
4.1 Lap around track
5. 100 yrd bear crawls
6. 3 100s
it will get you in shape

40 Austin Meissner August 3, 2009 at 3:58 pm

Green Bay’s
10 x100′s
8×80′s
6×60′s
4×40′s
2×20′s
No break in between. Worst thing you will ever do. VERY HARD

41 shaw August 16, 2009 at 10:43 am

wow, i now know how much tougher my schools program is than anyone else’s! im not saying those sound easy, but i’d much rather do those drills than what we do. we do 300 yard shuttles, 40 timed 40′s with a 6 second break, 10 100′s 8 80′s 6 60′s and 4 40′s timed with minimal breaks, we have a huge hill so we do these things where you sprint up the hill and jog back down, usually about 25 times, and we play this game called life or death. it’s a game where if you’re caught loafing during practice or if you mess up 10 up downs gets added to the team total, we usually end up doing around 200

42 Jason August 21, 2009 at 7:37 pm

See i went too Wilson HS in Pa. Where NFL greats kerry collins, and future, Chad Henne Attended HS. We have always had a rough condition from the end of school, all thru out the summer. that included.

8 100′s sprints on a track.
8 200′s sprints on a track.
6 300 yard shuttles -up 100, back 100, up 100. that was one.
8 Pyramid suicides 5 back, 10 back, 15 back, 20 back as one set.
and of course the “rabbit” drill. you have the whole defense line up in position and you have a group of really fast kids go one by one sprinting down a straight line, cutting back and forth as the defensive players keep the runner in front of their bodies maintaing good knee bend and staying in position. then when the runner is gassed, a new one comes in….same process….then when the coach finall blows the whistle, the runner, once he hears the whistle, turns up field and sprints. while all the defenders have to touch him. if one player doesnt touch him then you have to go again. it sucks especially when you do for a long period of time….and those fast kids being the “rabbit” really start to piss you off.

43 Zach August 25, 2009 at 10:17 pm

my favorite highschool gut buster was BIG 3s ( bear crawl side line to side line, back peddle sideline to sideline then sprint sideline to sideline)

44 Coach Josh August 27, 2009 at 2:57 am

Hey,
Awesome post! Im in Australia, and belong to an American football club. Good group of guys might I add. Was browsing the net looking for some drills to help my squad out. Although Australia has a good sense of sport they are a rugby nation. Went over some of these training techniques and the guys were hurting…..bad! Espicailly when i threw my contact drills in that i used to do in high school. Man, how did we do this 10 years ago!!! here some painful reminders of Coach Pain…Coach Plummer hahaha

Six inches..the hard way

Line ya team up on their back, have them raise legs @ six inches off ground…coach pain style…then walk on everyones stomach for two laps around the whole team

Shuttle Bus Run

just like a shuttle run
five yd line back, ten yd line back , etc.
except coach pain style on the way back to the start everytime u have a guy with a shield( or dummy) crack you b4 you turn and go…..oh pain

Gauntlet

whole team forms two lines 2 yds aprt
from the end each player runs through the gauntlet getting bashed the whole way
p.s. good team bonding:)

45 Brad September 25, 2009 at 10:54 am

There were several drills that we had in High School for football. There is only one that Ican remember that we had to do for punishment. It was something like that of the suicide up top of the page.

Air-rades
Start at one goaline and start sprinting when the coach or someone blows the whistle pretty much just slide head first on the grass pop right back up and sprint again goaline to goaline one time.

Bearcrawl
Start the bearcrawl from one goaline to the fifty and back one time

Up downs for ten minutes

46 THELINEMAN September 26, 2009 at 8:42 pm

hahaha ohh man. i absolutly hate to think back to any of this…

47 Bill October 15, 2009 at 4:37 pm

I have been coaching for about 22 years and have still not found any drill harder than what our coaches would make us run. They were called Man builders. Starting on the goal-line, you take off at full speed and dive on your chest every five yards. We would do this up to 600yrds. By the end your arms and legs wont get you off the ground.

48 Bill October 15, 2009 at 4:46 pm

If you want a drill that is fun and the kids love doing, they dont even realize how hard it is at first. Its called Burma Road. Start a sigle fill line at the hash marks on the goal-line. 20yds down field on the opposite hash mark hold a tackling dummie. and then put another one 20yrds down field on the opposite hash mark. keep doing for 100 yrds. The players then sprint by the coaches whistle one by one to the dummie and form tackle the bag, getting up and heading to the next bag and so on. You can change this up by coaches holding blocking shield every other bag, so the players get a chance to hit you. This is the one drill my players ask to do and it wears the out.

49 Freshmen October 22, 2009 at 10:46 pm

Coach makes us do “snakes” where u line up on the goal line and run it the the 5 yard line run it then the 10 yard line run it 15,20 all the way down the field and back like that it’s crazy hard!

50 Travis October 25, 2009 at 11:07 am

In seventh grade, after every practice, we’d do 40 up-downs, jog the field, then do 20 more up-downs.

51 tyler December 19, 2009 at 12:53 am

try these out line up in the endzone and sprint and every 5 yards do a up down go down to the other endzone then come back do 2 or 3 sets of that hardest thing i’ve ever done!!!!!!!!!!!!!

52 Rick January 2, 2010 at 6:30 pm

I play highschool football (freshman team, starting DT/N) in a 6A school in Oklahoma, so I know the feeling of 100 degree weather. The drills we do are very similar to the ones listed. One that isn’t listed that we did was a snake. We started at the goal line and ran each yard line having the person at the end of the line run up to the beginning of the line, ending at the other goal line, which sucked! We didn’t do that until the end of the season where everyone was in shape. We started out doing sprints. But yeah, conditioning was the thing I hated most about football, even though it was one of the most important things we did during practice.

53 Lorenzo March 7, 2010 at 4:52 pm

I was an assistant for our school’s girl’s JV volleyball team, but i was warned before that i would have to do all the conditioning and everything with them. I play high school football, varsity since my sophomore year, so i thought that the girl’s JV conditioning could be nowhere near as bad as varsity football conditioning, but i was WRONG! Here is what we had to do on my first day (it got worse by week):

First we did a one mile jog as a warm-up. Then we stretched for a while because you HAD to make sure you were stretched well, or the rest would be all bad! Then we went to the football field.
We start at one goal line and did 20 pushups and then we had to sprint 100 yards to the other goal line and do 20 squat jumps. Then we sprint 100, then 30 mountain climbers, sprint then 45 sec plank, sprint then 10 burpees with a pushup when your legs are out, sprint then 30 sit-ups and one last sprint. Luckily, it wasn’t timed but we had to try, if we didn’t everyone had to start over but that didnt happen the first day.
Then we did some ab work. First we did 1 min. 30 sec plank. Then we did 35 crunches. Then 2 min. 6 inch hold (with our backpacks on our legs) immediately following flutter kicks so we could not drop our feet before (without the backpack of course). Then 10 V Ups.
Then we went back to running. We ran 2 liners on the football field, but instead of turning back every 5 yards or 10 yard, we ran back EVERY YARD, but because the first yards are pointless, we ran to the 10 yard line 3 times and then the 11 yard and back, and then the 12 yard and back and so on.
Then we did this drill where we went back and forth on the football field 10 times in this order: first 200 bear crawl, next 200 crab walk, next 200 duck walk, next 200 bunny hop, last 200 sprint. But randomly in the middle, and it was very often, we had to drop and do 10 pushups, i think it was every 5-10 yard!
I thought we had to be done now but we weren’t even close! i thought the coaches were nice, but they were straight up evil! The girls were doing all this! and football conditioning wasnt nearly as bad! But the coaches did get fired for being to aggressive or mean or harsh with conditioning. All of us are dead now basically, and the coaches knew and that’s why we did more. I will continue:
We simply did pushups now, but we had to maintain good form so our heads had to stay up. And our coach said “down, up”. He was going to tell us when to stop, and I was counting, but I didn’t have the energy to count past fifty. But he said he was going to gesture when to stop with his hand so we had to maintain good form and look up so we know when to stop, and he would keep saying down and up so we cant just listen to know when to stop. After doing i dont know how many more than 50, it is hard to have good form. He told us that the munber of pushups each player did passed the stop gesture would all get added up and there would be a consequence. and the players cant say anything. he told us he stopped at 82. But everyone did at least 5 more, and someplayers did even more!
Whatever the number of extra pushups we did would be the number of piggyback 20 yard sprints we would do. Altogether, we ended up doing 67 pushups extra (between 5-8 per player added up). So all of us would have to do 67 20yrd sprints. Because that equals 1340, we just did 13 piggyback sprints of 100yrds and then a fourty yard sprint each. We had to pair up with someone about or equal weight, but since i was a guy, i had to lift the heaviest girl. BRUTAL DAY!
Then we did up downs for ever! but every time he whistled, which wasnt very often, we had to sprint 20 yards. and during the sprint he would whistle and we had to drop and do 5 pushups and continue, he would blow the whistle about three times in the sprint.
Once we reached the other goal line, we did mountain climbers, but we had to try hard! We were all SO exhausted by the end, it was hard. The coach thought we weren’t tried our hardest, forgetting the fact were are exhausted, and we ran two miles. Then we played volleyball!
CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT A GIRLS JV VOLLEYBALL TEAM WENT THROUGH DAYS AS BRUTAL AS THIS FOR ALL OF THE SUMMER (four times a week) AND THE BEGINNING OF THEIR SEASON. the athletic director did not know the intensity of the conditioning until the beginning of the season and both of the coaches got fired! and i was just an assisstant, hoping to get some girls, but i was embarrassed for puking! it was straight up TERRIBLE!! i dont know how i survived days like this all summer!

54 Chris in Panama March 28, 2010 at 10:40 pm

Man…these bring back memories. I remember doing a lot of these and plan to start putting some of them into my workout.

One workout that I remember, that I don’t think was mentioned yet, was one that our high school coach made us do as a punishment. I don’t remember the name of it, but you’d basically start at the goal line and sprint towards the other end of the field. When the coach blew the whistle you’d drop down, turn sideways and roll in the same direction you’d been running. When he blew the whistle again you’d get up and keep sprinting, and so on and so on. This was done in full pads and the rolling would make you so dizzy that half the guys would be falling down or running off the field. Almost everybody was puking at the end.

The first time our coach did this it was as a punishment for guys fighting over the few water bottles we had during water break. After doing gassers and then these rolling drills I think at least five of our guys quit the team. It was pretty horrible.

55 rhahjon April 16, 2010 at 7:34 pm

ill give you one i dont know if it was said already i did it with my football team yesterday even out your team into five groups four of the five groups stand in the four corners of the football field place the last group on the 50yard line in the center of the field on the whistle the four groups run around the entire field until they get back to to the corner where they started meanwhile the group in the middle are doing push ups, sit ups , jumping jacks etc. and they cant stop until all of the players on the corners arrive back where they started then bring another group from the corner to the middle then anpther until all of the groups have been in the in the corners and the middle then repeat

56 Stewart May 15, 2010 at 5:48 pm

try The Snake:
sprint down the goal line from sideline to sideline, bearcrawl to the 5, and jog back. Then, bearcrawl down the sideline to the 10 and sprint to the other sideline, bearcrawl to the 15, and jog back. Go all the way to the other sideline, and if you’re truly a psycho, do it back down the field the other way.

57 bigred1961 July 19, 2010 at 7:00 pm

Ah the good old days! We used to run what the coaches called the 100 yard ladder. 10 yard sprint up and back, 20 yard sprint up and back … until the 100 yard up and back. Then the reverse down, 90,80 etc. If coach was really PO’ed then it would be 5 yard increments. That was really a killer.

58 Max October 12, 2012 at 11:04 pm

GASSERS! Whenever we did them, our coach blows the whistle and we had do 2
up downs. Needless to say we did that a lot. And then we did this thing called mistake drill which is basically a frog jump with 10 up downs mixed in. Holy Crap. And then the “The Track O’ Bears” Where we did 2 laps of bear crawls and whenever some went on the knees we did… More up downs. I still remember having to clean of all the bermuda from my helmet. Ahh the memories!

59 Dillon December 12, 2012 at 10:35 pm

I think I have heard of gasers and im starting football and your website helped me learn drills Thank You alot:)

60 James January 25, 2013 at 3:38 pm

What my coach liked to do is make us do bear crawls, (sometimes backwards up) from the basement up to the top floor and then back down.

61 Rory February 10, 2013 at 11:20 am

Did these for rugby! On a standard rugby pitch, starting at one corner, sprint to the diagonal opposite corner, then the goal line, opposite diagonal again then the other goal line…you end up where you started having sprinted around the pitch in an envelope like shape, 45 – 60 second break between! If you manage ten of these your in pretty good shape

62 Mat June 30, 2013 at 9:19 pm

Man I remember almost all of these drills when I played high school football I love these drills I use some of these same drills for my team that I coach now… anyone have any ideas for some good linemen drills?

63 Nolan July 23, 2013 at 11:48 am

Freshman year of high school, the weed-’em-out drill we used we called power drills, after practice every Wednesday, in full pads. 30 second increments of mountain climbers or jumping jacks at opposite corners of the field. After 30 seconds, run the length then width of the field to the other corner and do that workout. Started at 5 minutes, every week increased until we hit 12 minutes, then did three weeks at 12 minutes.

64 Chris Rojas October 14, 2013 at 11:29 am

These training tips and ideas are mind blowing! And I love that there are videos to help with the image of the drills! I’m 27 and want to stay in shape for future competitions such as Spartan races and tough mudders and this will go a long way to my success!!

65 Willy February 28, 2014 at 1:12 pm

Profound memories of my HS days came back to me when I read this. Wooo it was good times! If we missed practice we had it do with the team that day and after practice for a second time, damn I was exhausted from that! I had a very busy schedule and absolutely disliked the latter. We did most of what u mentioned and we also did weighed sled pulls and sometimes resisted sprints with parachutes (for skill players). This was 15 to 16 years ago and now I’m 31 and miss those days sometimes.

66 ishan March 27, 2014 at 4:29 pm

Thanks Im in 8th grade and just starting, I played football this season, but i didn’t start and I didn’t get much experience, I’m not the strongest lineman, or the biggest, or the fastest, and have a low stamina but I’m going to change that over the summer

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