13 Ways to Train Like a Running Back

Thứ bảy - 27/04/2024 01:14
Simple running back workouts to do at homeRunning backs are some of the most important players since they can run well with the football and break defenses. If you want to improve your skills as a running back and get a head-start on...
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Running backs are some of the most important players since they can run well with the football and break defenses. If you want to improve your skills as a running back and get a head-start on training, there are a lot of things you can do to prepare—and best of all, you can do them from the comfort of your own home. We’ll walk you through some exercises to add to your workout routine and move on to drills you can run to boost your speed, agility, and concentration on the field!

Things You Should Know

  • Build leg strength with workouts like squat jumps, elevated split squats, and lunge-and-sprint tire pulls.
  • Boost your upper body strength with bench press workouts and explosive push-ups.
  • Improve your footwork with exercises like the three-step cadence, zig-zag cutting drills, and various ladder drills.

Squat jumps

  1. Jump up after a bodyweight squat to build explosive leg power.
    Start by standing with your legs slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Keep your back straight and look forward. Bend your knees and push your butt back to get into a squat position. When your thighs are parallel to the floor, push up with your legs and jump straight in the air. When you land, get right back into the squat position to start your next rep.[1]
    • Aim to do about 3 sets of squat jumps that are around 8 reps each.[2]
    • If you want to make your exercise a little more difficult, try doing it while holding weights or a medicine ball.
    • This exercise develops fast twitch muscles you’ll use to burst from the starting line and change directions while you’re running.
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Elevated split squats

  1. Elevate 1 foot and squat so you develop balance and strength.
    Put a chair or workout bench directly behind your legs so you’re facing away from it. Bend your right knee and set your right foot on the bench so your heel points up. When you’re ready to start a rep, keep your right foot on the bench and step forward with your left foot until your knees are bent to 90 degrees. Hold the position for 1 count and then slowly step back into your starting position to complete a rep.[3]
    • Try to do 2–3 sets of 8–10 split squats per leg.
    • Hold onto dumbbells or a medicine ball if you want to add weight to your exercise.
    • To practice building more leg power, when you’re at the bottom of the squat, push hard against the ground to jump your leg back to the starting position.
    • You’ll need leg strength and balance as a running back to break tackles while running down the field.

Lunge and sprint tire pulls

  1. Drag a tire behind you to increase speed and strengthen your legs.
    Loop a 20 ft (6.1 m) rope through the middle of a truck tire and tie it around your waist. With the tire behind you, take a big step forward with one leg and bend your knees until they’re at 90 degrees. Then, straighten your legs and bring your back foot forward. Alternate your legs while you lunge for 10 yards (9.1 m). Then, sprint as fast as you can for another 10 yards (9.1 m).[4]
    • Go a total of 40 yards (37 m) alternating between lunges and sprints.
    • The tire adds extra weight and develops the explosive power you’ll need to break tackles from linebackers.
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Bench press

  1. Try benching with a barbell for a stronger upper body.
    You can start with the weight of the barbell alone or load more weight if you can comfortably lift it. Lie flat on your back on the bench so the barbell is just above your chest and your feet are planted on the ground. Reach up and grip the bars slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Lift the bar off of the rack and straighten your arms. Breathe in and slowly bend your elbows to lower the bar until it touches your chest. Straighten your arms and push the bar up to complete your rep.[5]
    • Aim to do about 3 sets of 5 reps.[6]
    • For added intensity, load the bar with 90–95% of the maximum weight you can do 1 rep of. Then do 3 sets with 3 reps each.
    • Always have a spotter watch you as you're doing bench presses. If you're unable to complete a rep, they can help you lift the weight so you don't hurt yourself.
    • Having a stronger upper body can help you break tackles on the field so you’re able to run with the ball further.[7]

Explosive push-ups

  1. Build your upper body strength with this intense version of push-ups.
    Start in a push-up position with your hands planted on the ground directly below your shoulders. Bend your elbows to 90-degree angles to lower your body to the ground. Forcefully push down to raise yourself back up to your starting position, lifting your hands off the ground briefly.[8]
    • Try to do as many reps as you can for 30 seconds.
    • This exercise helps you develop power so you can stiff-arm your opponent and run with the ball for a longer distance.
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Cone sprints

  1. Sprint between the yard lines on a football field to build up your speed.
    Crouch down with one leg forward at the field’s goal line. As fast as you can, sprint to the 5-yard line. Plant your left foot on the line and run back to the goal line. Once you reach the goal line, plant your right foot and immediately sprint down to the 10-yard line and back. Do one final sprint to the 5-yard line again before going back to the goal line.[9]
    • This drill helps you develop the speed you need to make fast plays during a game.

Three-step cadence

  1. Practice juking every 3 steps for improving your footwork.
    Do this drill along a straight line, such as a yard-line on the field. Take 1 step with your left foot followed by 1 step with your right foot. On the third, quickly take a wide step out with your left foot to juke, bending your knees so you’re slightly crouched. Push off of your left leg back into your starting position. Then repeat the exercise going right foot-left foot-right foot. Continue alternating which foot you start on so you practice juking in both directions.[10]
    • Try going down the entire length of the yard line for this drill.
    • You can practice this drill whether you’re holding the ball or not.
    • This drill simulates how you react when you’re squaring off against another player.
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Zig-zag cutting drills

  1. Run diagonally between cones to practice changing directions.
    Set up 4 cones in a zig-zag pattern so they’re 2 yards (1.8 m) apart. Run diagonally toward the first cone and step around the outside of it. Plant your outside foot on the ground and push off of it forcefully to propel yourself to the next cone. Run between all of the cones as fast as you can.[11]
    • Run 3 sets of this drill that are each around 5 reps.
    • When you reach the last cone, try squaring up to it first before shuffling to either the left or right side.
    • This exercise helps build up your agility so you’re able to dodge tackles and other players on the field.

Ickey shuffle ladder drill

  1. Alternate stepping inside and outside the ladder to increase foot speed.
    Lay an agility ladder flat on the ground and stand at one end. As fast as you can, step between the first rungs of the ladder with your left foot followed by your right foot. Then, step out from the side of the ladder with your left foot so it’s in line with one of the rungs. Step into the next ladder hole with your right foot. Plant your left foot into the same hole as your right foot. Take your next step out from the right side of the ladder.[12]
    • Go through each hole of the ladder, alternating which foot you step out with.
    • It’s okay if you need to watch your feet when you’re first running this drill. As you get more comfortable doing it, try to focus straight ahead of you.
    • This exercise helps you develop precise footwork so you’re able to sprint and change directions faster.
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Crossover ladder drill

  1. Run diagonally through the holes in a ladder so you get more agile.
    Start on the end of the ladder on the left side. Step into the ladder’s first hole with your left foot. Plant your right foot outside of the hole on the right side of the ladder. Then step to the right side of the ladder with your left foot so your feet are next to each other. Cross your right foot in front of your body and step into the next hole on the ladder. Always do 1 step into the ladder’s hole and 2 steps on the outside.[13]
    • Try to go as fast as you can through the entire length of the ladder while stepping in the correct sequence.
    • This exercise helps you learn how to quickly change direction so you can run past defenders on the field.

Lateral ladder drill

  1. Shuffle sideways through a ladder to practice lateral movements.
    Stand at the end of the ladder and turn your body 90 degrees from it so your right foot is closest to the rung. Side-step into the ladder’s first hole with your right foot, immediately followed by your left foot. Support your weight with your left leg as you step into the next hole with your right foot. Always plant both feet in the same hole before moving onto the next one.[14]
    • Work your way down the ladder’s length leading with one leg before switching to the other. For example, on your first rep, always step into the next hole with your right foot first. On the next rep, start on the other end of the ladder and lead with your left foot.
    • This exercise also improves footwork that makes it easier to dodge tackles and run with the ball.
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Ball security drills

  1. Have another person try to strip a football from your grip.
    Cradle a football between your forearm and bicep and hold onto the end of it with your palm and fingertips. Keep the ball pressed tightly against your chest and slowly walk down the goal line. Have another person walk next to you as they try to hit the ball out of your grip. Maintain your hold on the ball for the entire length of the line so you’re less likely to lose the ball during an actual game.[15]
    • Try pretending to trip and fall while the other person attempts to knock out the ball. This can help simulate breaking a tackle.
    • This helps you learn how to protect the ball so another player doesn’t knock it out of your hands during a play.

Run after catch drill

  1. Catch a football before running through bags for improved concentration.
    Set up 3 agility bags on the ground so they’re about 1 yd (0.91 m) apart from one another. Have someone stand with a hand shield in front of the first bag. Start a few steps in front of the bag and have someone throw you the football so you can practice catching it. As soon as you catch it, immediately turn and run toward the bags. Have the person lightly hit your upper body with the hand shield before quickly stepping over each of the bags. After the final bag, cut to the left or right to end the drill.[16]
    • This drill simulates some of the distractions you’ll encounter during a game so it helps you stay focused on moving downfield.
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