Here is an open letter to any and all high school football players (but targeted specifically to guys who don’t have structured school programs and can’t afford a private trainer, i.e., the 99 percent). If you read it, it’s self-explanatory.


I see you guys training every day in the same (semi) commercial gym I go to. I know you’re high school football players, because your tee shirts bear the name of your team, and they have slogans on the back like, “Never Quit” and “Fly to the Ball.” I realize these are supposed to be inspiring, but you guys don’t really inspire me very much—unless we’re talking about the ability of a guy more than twice your age, who hasn’t been on a football field in 20 years, to run your asses into the ground.

Sorry about that. I’m not writing this to be mean, but this is a fact. If we went out on a football field today, at the end of June, I would decimate you guys, and that’s sad, because I shouldn’t be able to.

Let’s rewind a bit, though, because I’m here to help you out. I see what you’re doing every day, and I want to make a few suggestions, because I was you once, and I know exactly what you’re going through.

So, yeah, I know you’re stuck here in a local gym, and not in some world-class training facility with a strip of turf and a bunch of professional athletes walking around. I know your parents can’t afford to send you to something like that. It’s okay, though, because mine couldn’t, either. All I had coming up was some shitty weights at my school, one of those “heavy rope” things, and a bench and squat stand in my dad’s basement—and I ended up getting a scholarship.

You can, too, but some things need to change.

See, I train here too, and I bust my f-ing ass every day. I bench, I squat, and I deadlift, and I do it for all I’m worth. I know you know this, because I see you guys watching when I’m actually throwing some real weight around—and believe me, I’m not even strong. If you’re impressed by what I’m doing, you need to rethink everything you know about lifting weights. That, however, is what we’re here for.

Every day, I see you guys come into the gym in a big pack. You give each other your “bro hugs,” and every day, you act like you’re greeting your homeboy who just came back from prison after ten years, even though you probably just saw the guy the night before. You should probably stop doing this, but I don’t really give a shit about that. You’ll grow out of it.

What my real problem with here is the way you train. All I see you guys doing is benching and doing curls. That’s it. You’re standing around the gym wearing head-to-toe Under Armour gear from your high school football team, and you’re literally benching and curling four or five times a week.

The rest of the time, you’re either standing around talking, or you’re on your phones. Why this entails carrying a gallon jug of water to the gym every day, I have no idea, but I digress, because I need to issue a warning to you:


Again, I understand that this gym isn’t a world-class facility, but let’s look at what we DO have. We’ve got a power rack. We’ve got barbells and plates, and I believe all of our plates weigh 45 pounds—same as they do at Athletes Performance. We’ve got dumbbells that go up to 150 pounds. We’ve got an incline board for heavy ab work. We’ve got benches. We’ve got medicine balls. We’ve got treadmills. We’ve got a hyperextension unit. We’ve got a bar where you can do pull-ups. I’m really not sure what else you need in a gym.

Let’s also look what’s down the street. A mile away, there are two new turf football fields where you can sprint. A mile past that, there’s a very high and steep hill that you can run. Right there, guys, you literally have enough to take you to the NFL, but whenever I see any of you—and there are a lot of you—you’re not using any of this stuff because you’re too busy benching and curling and talking shit about Aaron Hernandez.

Forget, for now, about all these articles you’re seeing all over the place about the training of football players. What people don’t realize is that this is far too advanced shit for the vast majority of guys playing the sport. This is because guys like you have never been taught to bench, squat, or deadlift the right way—and you sure as hell don’t have access to strongman equipment, Prowlers, tendo units, or any of that other stuff.

Again, it’s okay. My parents couldn’t afford to send me to a place that would slap an OmegaWave on me every day, either. You don’t need to worry about that. What you do need to worry about is the basics.

Forget all the rest of the shit all your boys are telling you. Go on the EliteFTS YouTube channel and find some tutorials. Learn how to bench press, squat, and deadlift, and do them every week—especially squatting. The back squat is a more important exercise for football than any of the other shit anyone will ever tell you to do, and you need to start doing it correctly if you want to do any kind of damage on the field.

Squat, deadlift, Romanian deadlift, good morning, and do 45-degree back extensions on your lower body days. Throw in some incline sit-ups on the board, and maybe some planks and side planks.

For your upper body days, you’ll bench, do dips, do push-ups, do dumbbell floor presses, and pull-ups. Some overhead pressing wouldn’t kill you, either.

A few days a week, get your ass down to the football field and run some sprints and some tempos. Do some jumping and bounding down there, too, and throw some med balls as far as you can while you’re doing it. If you don’t know what to do, look it up. If you want to run through some individual drills with your boys and coach each other while you’re down there, I wouldn’t object.

One or two other days, get your ass over to the hill and run it as explosively as you can—either as sprints with full recovery, or with partial recovery for conditioning purposes.

Anyway, I know your situation, guys. Despite what the internet tells us, football is mostly a do-it-yourself sport when it comes to training to get on the field. My dad was a civil servant. I had a lot of brothers and sisters. There’s no f-ing way he could’ve afforded to send any of us to a private training facility with what these guys charge. I’m not saying it’s not worth it, but as a coach, I know most of the guys we work with don’t have access to this stuff.

When you DO have access to a gym and a field, though, and you STILL don’t train right—and don’t do any research about what you’re supposed to be doing—you’re doing yourself a real disservice, especially if that’s accompanied by a shitty diet, too.

So do yourselves a favor. Put down the shitty bodybuilding magazines, get off the fancy internet articles and videos, and take my advice. Watch some instructional videos on how to squat, bench, and deadlift, and do the rest of what I said for the next 6-7 weeks before your season starts, because that slow 25-pound dumbbell curl is gonna get you smoked when you’re lined up against my guys.

And if you need any advice in the gym (and figure out who I am), come on up. I’d be happy to help. After all, I was you once upon a time.