I will admit that I may be biased, but I do think the offensive line is the most important unit on the football field. As a long-time lineman, I have put great thought into this blog. While different systems favor different traits in their linemen, on top of being well-conditioned, an elite lineman should be strong, explosive, quick for five yards, and a great technician.
When you think about offensive linemen you must be mindful of the position they play, this allows us to better determine our exercise selection. When training an offensive lineman it is important to have fluidity with the potential to see a significant transfer from weight room strength to skill on the field. In the off-season they are obtaining the majority of their skill work in practice, therefore weight room time can be spent building strength and aerobic capacity. We are looking to work Strength, Strength-Speed, and Speed-Strength.
For strength exercises, the best choices will be variations compound movements. Squats, deadlifts, split squats, bench presses, pull-up variations, rows. Reps should be 6 and under two-thirds of the time, but you will have your occasional de-load days with higher reps of 7 and up. Strength-Speed exercises are exercises that involve moving high loads as fast as possible. Use high-impact plyometrics, heavy medicine balls, and Olympic lifts here. When doing cleans or snatches from the hang or floor, keep the reps 5 and under. With this in mind, Olympic-lift derivatives can be done for higher reps. Typically, the reps will be between 4-9 on these exercises. Two-thirds of the time the reps should be 7 and under. On de-load days the reps should be 8-10. Speed-Strength exercises involve moving lighter loads as fast as possible. Examples are lighter Olympic lifts and low to moderate impact plyometrics. Two-thirds of the time the reps should be 7 and under, with de-load days at 8-10 reps.
For conditioning, I love the battle ropes for developing offensive linemen’s conditioning, specific posture, and upper body endurance. I train my athletes to use the battling ropes in short sets, between 5-15 seconds while having them stand in a pass set posture. These can be performed as intervals, such as 5-8 seconds on and 10-20 seconds off.. By having the athlete stand in their pass set stance, they increase their ability to control their limbs in a posture specific to their sport.