Football linebackers have to play man, ball, or zone at various times. A linebacker’s speed is critical for playing the position successfully. A player’s ability to accelerate quickly in all directions, decelerate from all directions and quickly re-accelerate once again will make or break a linebacker. When players in this position work towards attaining greater speed for faster field coverage, they will also increase lateral movements, which is necessary for prevention of the offense from gaining yards or scoring touchdowns. Balance and body awareness with great agility at one moment and lasting endurance the next is what linebackers will need to possess for an edge on the field. The key to mold a complete linebacker is through body conditioning to fine tune these physical skills.
The components of an athletes conditioning should be meticulously planned. Exercise training follows an important principle known as the “specificity of training principle”, which has considerable potency when determining the results an athlete can achieve. The principle is quite simple, stating that specific exercise elicits a specific training response. The more the training stimulus resembles the performance situation, the more powerful the training stimulus and the greater effect it has. With this principle in mind, the Myosource Kinetic Bands are a unique conditioning tool made to provide linebackers and athletes, in general, the opportunity to maximize training time through resistance. Linebackers can wear the bands above the knees during the performance of any movement, including sport specific workouts. Without interfering or prohibiting body movement, the resistance targets and challenges isolated muscles during practice time to set the athlete up for optimal health and success on the field.
Training with the Myosource Kinetic Bands will build a linebacker’s strength, endurance, flexibility, mobility, and agility. Linebackers use the resistance bands to develop the fast twitch muscles necessary for more tackles, shutting down a running back, motivating a defense, and defending tight ends successfully. Pursuit is a skill, and something that takes time and practice to perfect in the sport of football. Below, we will go over the skills and athletic requirements linebackers must consider in their conditioning, followed with how utilizing the resistance bands will help linebackers advance in their sport and trump the competition by aiding in the development of three athletic skills crucial for a linebacker’s success-quick feet, lateral quickness and closing speed.
The middle linebacker remains the primary communication position on defense and can be considered the defensive quarterback, as he takes the call from the sideline and is responsible for providing the plays for the defense to perform while making any necessary adjustments along the front line. Middle linebackers are also assigned the responsibility of stopping running backs from coming through the middle and must also cover any football receivers in the area. It essential for middle linebackers to have a strong lower body, core, and upper body in order to fulfill the duties of this position and rack up a ton of tackles.
Linebackers can check out Our KB Quick Feet Training Cones, which are an affordable training tool to help players work on foot speed (quick feet), agility, and change of direction. The lightweight, low-profile, cones are flexible yet sturdy, stackable and portable. The bright orange color makes them easy to see and maneuver around.
A great drill for this position is to set up several cones in a straight line. With the Myosource Kinetic Bands on, the athlete will do side to side runs around the cones, followed by side shuffles. This drill is used to build speed and lateral footwork, while maintaining balance and stability. Footage of this drill can be viewed in the video provided on this page.
The outside linebackers must be able to handle the offensive tight end and are designated playmakers for teams employing the system. These active LBs are encouraged to shoot through open gaps to hit runners in the backfield, and they're incorporated into the pass rush on creative blitzes. Maintaining leverage to force the runner to the outside also plays a key role in the player’s ability to make a play successful. Outside linebackers must get up underneath tackles to obtain the greatest possible force.When an outside linebacker is going after the quarterback he must keep his head up as he approaches. Keeping the head up while coming in hard and low will help the outside linebacker strip the ball or wrap up for a successful tackle. The best players in this position are explosive, athletic and instinctive, which are achievable through training with the Myosource Kinetic Bands.
Getting stronger, faster and more explosive for any position is actually not that complicated. It’s gut-busting hard work, but it’s not really rocket science. If players want to get faster for football, the ability to drive a defender into the stands, or run people over, will come from the work they put into developing the posterior chain. To do this, the hamstrings, glutes, calves, and all the muscles of the back must be hammered, often. The resistance bands are prime for this job as they target and fire up these muscles, teaching the body to have speed and power at every joint angle. Challenging players every set, every rep AND every movement for maximum effort conditioning is the optimal advantage of resistance training with the Myosource Kinetic Bands.
Having quick feet is a combination of the brain and nervous system wanting to make a move and the fast twitch muscle fibers coordinating that movement with the body. During these movements the muscles and nervous system are actively working together. The nervous system communicates to a player’s muscles how fast to go and when to react. It is important to recognize that a reflex, like the knee-jerk reflex, does not involve the brain. However, a reaction does, because there is input from many places to process and interpret and then decide on a coordinated response. A football linebacker must be mentally stable to analyze and make quick adjustments. The only way to access these reactions is through deliberate practice and repetition. If a player’s nervous system and muscular system are not well trained and on the same page then it could lead to an athlete wanting to make a move but the body not responding.
Linebackers who are adamant about improving their speed, reaction time and overall performance can condition their muscles with the Myosource Kinetic Bands to react and contract proficiently. Through resistance training, players will develop the fast twitch muscle fibers that support quicker contractions and increased speed. The muscle memory that players gain through acclimatization of the muscles with targeted resistance training will grant reactions that come naturally and automatically. The video at the top of this page provides conditioning drills. Strap on the bands and follow along to step ahead of your competition (literally).
Linebackers can also work at their own pace to improve foot speed, change of direction, body control, and balance with the KB Quick Step Agility Ladder from Myosource. Athletes can perform multiple ladder drills, shown in the video as well. Improve athletic performance in or any sport or activity training that requires a quick first step. Strap on a set of Myosource Kinetic Bands and add resistance to your sets for even greater benefits as you train to increase speed, endurance, and explosive power.
An important factor contributing to optimum speed often overlooked is joint flexibility. A dynamic warm-up is a series of movements designed to increase body temperature, activate the nervous system, and increase range of motion and correct limitations. To gain range of motion at the joints and fire up the muscles that will be used for that day’s work out with mobility and activation drills are a MUST! Dynamic warm-ups will increase a player’s performance and aid in joint flexibility if done it correctly.
To get a better idea of how important this component is for accurate and safe training, let’s discuss how limitation can wreak havoc on overall athletic performance. A common problem players experience is excessive tightness in the hamstrings. In this case, the player may not be able to bring the knee up as high during the recovery phase of sprinting, hindering hip flexion and speed. Furthermore, tight hip flexors may restrict the ability to extend the hip through the full necessary range of motion, thereby reducing power output. Proper flexibility of the all involved joints contributes to movements that are more fluid and coordinated, resulting in longer and faster strides and greater speed.
The Myosource Kinetic Bands are a great tool for dynamic warm-ups. Increasing an athlete’s range of motion without relying on gravity to provide resistance allows athletes to change the emphasis placed on muscles during certain exercises. Athletes will experience greater potential for improvements in more functional movement patterns that mimic both everyday activities and sport-specific activities with the added benefit of injury prevention.
The other key component to lateral movements involves strength. Lateral speed requires more activity from the hip abductors than forward sprinting does. These muscles take the leg away from the body. In almost all training programs the small muscles that control the hip joint are ignored even though the hip joint is the most used and important joint in all running and kicking sports. Conditioning exercises focused on improving agility performance should pay particular attention to developing strength in the hip flexors, the hamstrings, and the muscles that surround the hips. Fortunately, resistance training with the Myosource Kinetic Bands prioritizes the health and strength of the hips. The resistance will work to isolate, and strengthen those hard to reach muscles, making a huge difference in any sport that requires quick reactions in the lower body. As athletes utilize the resistance bands, they will experience a new sense of strength with heightened stability and self-control over the body, including not only how it moves but where it moves with increased precision.
Strength is the backbone that controls everything else; agility, speed, explosion, and jumping ability. Speed strength is achieved through the application of maximum force at high velocities, such as a power. Sprint speed can be broken down into two elements – stride length and stride frequency. There are basically two phases to sprinting as well - the acceleration phase and top speed phase. Typically, acceleration will be more important in speed training for football than top speed. For players to improve athletic quickness, especially on defense, there are two muscle groups that need to be exercised for strength yet are commonly overlooked-the external and internal hip rotators. These two muscle groups play a role in an athlete’s hip health, either providing or negating a dominant athletic position for ease and efficiency when acting on any changes in direction. Hip and core strength, in general, are essential for optimal body control. If player’s waste movements, like swaying side to side, or other abandonments in body control, the power and energy that should have been used to propel them forward will have already been depleted. Drills are extremely valuable for improving speed– not just for closing on opponents but also route running and blocking.
Before embarking on the great journey of speed-training, athletes need to remember training with max effort is the only way increased speed will be achieved. Fortunately, the Myosource Kinetic Bands provide this opportunity for players. Speed training drills while wearing the resistance bands will help players develop power in the lower body (hip-flexors, glutes, quads and hamstrings) to activate an explosive nature in the lower body and support improvements in speed. Players will quickly develop a powerhouse core as the oblique’s, abdominals and the muscles around the hips are targeted to provide athletes with increased stability and grant calculated control over the body and the ways in which it moves. Football players should have complete focus when challenging the body to failure but should never sacrifice form to finish an exercise.
The video provided at the top of this page provides conditioning drills, including ones for closing speed improvement. Strap on the bands and follow along to access an unstoppable close speed.
Linebackers can also check out our Acceleration Speed Cord to gain and produce optimal levels of acceleration, rapidly create speed and move faster multi-directionally in all sports. Athletes can train alone or with a partner to develop more power and achieve personal maximum velocity to accelerate, decelerate and reaccelerate in the shortest amount of time possible in any given direction.
For good acceleration form, perform speed exercises while wearing the Myosource Kinetic Bands, keeping the following pointers in mind:
• Drive off the balls of your feet never the toes or heels.
• Strides are short and powerful, pushing off the ground.
• The whole body should be leaning forward, not just from the waist.
• Keep the head still and square to the shoulders.
• Pump the arms vigorously throwing the elbow back hard rather than forward.
After the first 10-15 yards, running mechanics change noticeably as you gain speed...
• Foot strikes should still be from the balls of the feet.
• There is still a slight forward lean from the ground but much less.
• Strides are longer and more relaxed. Don't try to push away from the ground.
• Arm action is still exaggerated but more relaxed.
• Head remains still.