View Full Version : The Nebraska Strength training program

02-10-2001, 11:10 AM
I've been meaning to post this for a while to get some feedback on this routine...
its at

I'm changing my goals for now, as next year is my senior year... I want to return to my old school and make an impact on the football field.
Everyone i've talked to has said good things about this program... I've been training bodybuilding style and really have no idea how to critique a football training routine divided into 'phases' so i thought i'd post this here...
what do you guys think about this routine?

02-10-2001, 12:57 PM
wrong url...haha....



02-10-2001, 05:02 PM
Our scool does this. It's a bad ass football program. great results!

chris mason
02-10-2001, 05:25 PM
Do you play football Phoenix?

02-10-2001, 06:14 PM
Well i played my sophmore year last year...... I was a cornerback, I was an average player. This year I'm in a school that doesnt' even have a football team (which really sucks). I plan on going back to my old high school and playing again for my senior year, i've put on some size and i'm about 180 lbs now. I think that since I lack the experience that the other players have I need an edge in the strength department...
My ultimate goal is to play college ball...

[Edited by RisingPhoenix on 02-10-2001 at 08:16 PM]

chris mason
02-10-2001, 06:17 PM
I think the workout looks ok, but I don't like plyometrics. I think they are dangerous and don't really do anything good for you other than make you better at plyometrics. So, I would skip the plyometrics and go with the lower volume/higher intensity portion of the workout using exercises of your own choice. A lot of coaches make the mistake of assuming that explosive exercises will translate into explosiveness on the field. Performing power presses and jammer extensions (or whatever they are called) will make you better at those exercises, not at tackling or blocking. Training is extremely specific in nature. Use the gym to build size and strength, and practice your specific sport to get better at that sport.

[Edited by chris mason on 02-10-2001 at 08:26 PM]

02-10-2001, 06:47 PM
No don't skip the plyometrics and make sure you do the explosive lifts!!! Hang cleans will help you on the field. The plyometrics are football specific and are divided into agility and speed days to help you develop both which WILL help you on the field as well. Why would you cut out something so important? Those are the backbones of the husker power program. Skip them if you want but then you aren't doing the program that has produced so many bad-asses at Nebraska. Also DO NOT only do the lower volume part of the workout. Periodize it like the program says to. I've been in your place exactly and this will give you some hella good results as long as you do not cheat yourself by cutting things out.

chris mason
02-10-2001, 07:04 PM
How will hang cleans help you on the field? How EXACTLY? Don't just say, "um, I think it will cause coach said so."
You guys will do as you wish. If you believe that program is what makes Nebraska a powerhouse team you are sadly mistaken. I have known some top level college players who now play in the pros and it wasn't some special weight routine that made them good players. If you want to injure yourself and cut short your career, then be my guest. If you want to train to PREVENT injury then do as I say.

02-10-2001, 08:53 PM
I can tell you that the bench program works well for most people. Not me personally but I've seen a guy go up very quickly on it and he already benched 400 and went to 425 in about a month, he was on creatine though.

chris mason
02-11-2001, 08:56 AM
Yeah, only creatine :rolleyes:! I think the basic structure of the routine is quite good, just don't like ballistic movements.

02-11-2001, 10:50 AM
In high school, we did a program similar to this. IMO the plyo's are great. I increased my quickness and foot speed greatly using them. When done correctly I think they can greatly benefit a football player or any other athlete. As far as the hang cleans go, I think they are a waste of time. If you want to do cleans that is fine, but do them conventional.

Pro athletic trainer
02-11-2001, 06:27 PM

I currently work for a pro football team as a strength and conditioning coach. Just about every athlete at the college level and pro level perform plyo's. What type of training do you recommend to take place of plyometrics? Have you been able to chart the progress of those methods? I'm interested because I'm always looking for new ideas.

Paul Stagg
02-12-2001, 07:28 AM
Note on credibility:

If you are a professional traininer for a pro football team, post using your real name. Makes your advice FAR more credible.

I don't like plyometrics. Never have. However, I do think that they can transfer to the athletic field. The question is: Are they necessary for improvement?

I don't think so. I think improvement can come just by playing the game.

As far as ballistic Olympic lifts and football training, IMHO, there are far more effective, and safer, means of gaining strength. However, and I've made this point in other discussions on the subject... just LEARNING how to do the OLs can improve your understanding of spatial relationships, and how to move your body to take advantage of strength. The ability to learn that can transfer to learning how to block or tackle (things that require the athlete to be very aware of the spatial relationships, and how to exert force effectively)

There were a couple of very good threads on this subject over at the board at naturalstrength.com.

(You may recognize some of the names over there - such as Jamie LaBelle, Bob Whelan, and Fred Hatfield II.)

Mr. America
02-12-2001, 08:07 AM

He is a friend of mine...he was over while I was looking at some of the threads. He works as a head athletic trainer...I've personally trained under him for three years. Learning about core strengthening, athletic performance, and rehab has completely changed my attitude toward alternative training. He does not have a big head and is a great person. This board and any other board that he posts at would be extremely lucky to have even a small amount of advice.

I did not know it is necessary to use your real name for credibility...Lemon Parade:)

I would suggest to anyone interested...just sit back and learn. He's not the type of person to be arguing mood points to strangers. But, I'll tell you guys what...come to Michigan and we will all go over to his high performance training center. I'll even pay for the session...just to see all the non-believers get blown away. Then we can all learn some more together.

Paul Stagg
02-12-2001, 08:49 AM
Har har... :)

I didn't mean to sound harsh.. just used to seeing nitwits on the web say they are things that they are not - I certainly wasn't suggesting he was a nitwit or that he wasn't a strength coach. I meant no disrespect, just wanted to point out that using a name in that particular case ADDS credibility to the post - not that is wasn't at all credible. Kinda like coming on a board and saying, 'I'm a pro bodybuilder - do this!' Using an annon handle would (and should) make folks question the source.

I used an annonymous handle because my original intent at that board was to discuss AAS. I'm also not a professional trainer.

I know you are a big fan of plyometrics. Personally, I'm on the fence.

From a strength training perspective, I don't see the point. I think that for the average dude who wants to get big, strong, lean, and healthy, plyometrics are not necessary, and can put them at unnecessary risk. Same with Olympic lifts. This average dude is better served sticking with the basics (and reading KTP!)

From an athletic perspective, I certainly do see the point and can see how useful they might be... although I still think the BEST way to improve sports performance is by practicing the specific skills for that sport.

Of course, no one is paying me to train athletes, are they?

I had the opportunity to meet Jamie LaBelle a couple of months ago (If you are not familiar with him, he runs a training facility designed for atheletes, and runs a network of strength coaches who focus on athletes). He makes compelling arguments against both ballistic lifting and plyometrics. His main premise is that stress in the weightroom (or doing plyometrics) leads to injury on the field - and that strength training for athletes should focus on injury prevention (especially elite athletes, who really have already attained significant physical strength... you don't make the Nebraska football team if you already are not a very good player, and have the requisite abilities, including strength, to play at that level).

I'm curious, does the pro trainer use ballistic or Olympic lifts at the pro level? If so, why?

chris mason
02-12-2001, 10:25 AM
Ok guys, my 2 cents. I think the reply from the "pro athletic trainer" had just a bit of sarcasm, but whatever. First off, I got a most of my information for this post from Ellington Darden's website http://www.classicx.com . Drs Charles McCloy and David Bruce both made the notion that general motor ability was measureable popular way back in the 30s and 40s. Now this should give some kind of idea as to how old the "natural" tag is. Later, in the late 60s a Dr. Franklin Henry proved that there is little correlation between skills involving speed, balance, coordination, and accuracy. In other words, being good at one does not necessarily mean you are good at another. This also relates to sports activities. You need look no further than the "Superstars" competitions that used to be shown on T.V. You remember those, athletes from all different sports competed against each other in swimming, rowing, bicycle racing etc. There were brilliant athletes in their own field who were literally clutzes in some of the events. I'll give another example, the fastest straight-line runners are not the fastest runners in a circle. Gymnasts are not necessarily good ice skaters. The skills from one discipline really don't translate to an appreciable degree to another. Now, obviously, a fast runner will be able to run fast as a wide receiver, but will he be able to catch the ball? The point of all of this is that the skills for particular sports and movements are very specific to the motor patterns required. So, plyometrics may or may not translate into being able to jump higher for a football when running at full speed and trying to avoid the defender. Doing powercleans, which involves as much skill as strength, won't necessarily make you a better football player. The skill required to perform a powerclean does not translate to any football move I can think of. My point is that athletes should perform low impact, controlled weightlifting activities in the gym. They should use slow movements which minimize momentum and avoid any ballistic movements. Their sport will provide plenty of opportunity for injury, so why add extra chances in the gym. This same thought process holds true for plyometrics as I stated above. Use weights to build size and general strength in the gym and use practice of the specific sport to improve performance of that special skill.

Mr. America
02-12-2001, 10:35 AM

No offense taken...there is alot of bs on these boards. Personally, I've never met any trainer that I agree with everything they say. I've worked under some tremendous individuals since 1985. Each "expert" contradicts one another at times. I also trained under the International olympic weightlifting coach. He's local...I trained periodically under him for seven years. He tought me olympic weightlifting. I teach power cleans, hang cleans and push presses. Also, trained under two other highly regarded athletic trainers. I've learned a tremendous amount from each of them. Although I learned more from my research after the fact. They pointed the right way. I even tried to get the olympic weightlifting coach to help moderate another board. He's hard core...could not handle all the bs.

Normally, I teach the olympics lifts to only athletes. My friend has similar views as Vern Gambetta. He does not believe in olympic lifts. But, he's certainly into plyometrics for the upper and lower body. He's a big proponent of proprioceptive plyometrics. And believe me he strengthens the living shi* out of your core. Using therapy exercises, medicine balls, swiss balls and functional exercises.

I would have never made it through my injuries if it were not for these individuals. My bb career would have been over in 1995. You've seen my contest record before..and noticed lapses where I could not compete. I was on a mission from god to win my last few shows. I refused to quit till I achieved my goals.

I've learned that many times the aruguments on these boards are a waste of time. I no longer go back and forth for hours with people. I've got a tremendous wealth of knowledge from 19 years experience training individuals. But, still I learn everyday ...the more I learn, the more I realize I need to learn more. I'm planning on hitting a three day seminar from Vern Gambetta..building and rebuilding the complete athlete. I'm also planning on heading out to Notre Dame and learn more about the Nebraska program. There is a possibility that I may travel with my friend to do some seminars starting next year.

Perfect example:

Chris Mason going over to mm.com to debate that you can increase your bench by strengthening your triceps and shoulders. That argument is crazy...you beat your head against the wall trying to prove a point. The point is Chris at some point will no longer waste his time on arguments so obvious. Why?Because anyone with any type of knowledge would back Chris on that arugment.

Paul Stagg
02-12-2001, 12:21 PM
Great post.

I met Jamie LaBelle at a strength clinic featuring strength trainers with a variety of backgrounds, theories, and practices (There is a write up by me on the natural strength site, as well as in the Feb issue of PowerMag.) If you get the chance to meat or talk to any of the folks who were there, take advantage of it (at least 3 of them post on the naturalstrength.com board).

They agreed on ONLY the following:

Hard Work

The specifics varies from slow training to rock lifting. From tiny movements to strengthen the ankle to Olympic lifting.

I think most strength coaches agree that a strong 'core'is key... sounds to me like your bud would agree with LaBelle in most instances. LaBelle stressed the idea of training as being much like rehab, but before an injury. (He had a guy do manual resistance squats - and the guy needed help getting back to his chair... it was amazing)

Also agree that we all keep learning. I'm learning more and more about strength training (as opposed to bodybuilding), and I've been focusing on powerlifting as well... what I like is that there are things in each discipline that transfer quite nicely... having some experience with all facets of training will help in reaching individual goals, no matter what they are.

Also interesting, no matter who you talk to, the basics stay the same.

It doesn't matter so much what you do, as long as you work hard at it, progress, and do so safely.

02-12-2001, 09:25 PM

I'm gonna take your advice and leave out the plyometrics and ballistic movements...
I have a question though,
When you said to do the lower volume/high intensity.... do you mean both the development and peak phases? or just the peak?

Mr. America
02-12-2001, 10:36 PM

Sounds like Jamie has soon good ideas. Actually, what you described as far as some of his training ideas are similar to mine. I generally take 10 minutes per training session to concentrate soley on "core" strengthening. If they have injuries the core strengthening goes up and I make a reduction in some other area. When you combine therapy,functional and strength training it's a great combination.

The last show I did I was stronger than ever up to the contest. My strength levels were still on the rise at showetime. The detail from a muscular point was much improved. And I had better separtion. I attribute this in part to "core" strengthening and other functional exercises. Including multi-plane movements...unlike bb...which has alot of single plane movements. I had a stronger base and the musculature around the joints were stronger. This could be anything from walking lunges...which by the way is a sport specific functional exercise for track athletes...to medicine ball training....to working with the bodyblade...theraband or other functional exercises. Fortunately, this process is made easier by the health care professionals that I know. I'm able to get exaimed and receive therapy programs by some of the best in their field. Then I integrate what I've learned into my "collection".

I also periodize all of this training. For example, I begin reducing the volume of alternative training the closer I get to a show. I will still perform the exercises that I NEED to do just to maintain the weak areas. The closer I get to a show I actually switch a less healthy routine. Meaning I'm performing less functional exercises and more bb. After a contest, I weight train for maybe 30 minutes and will work on improving the function and rehab for about 30 minutes. I'll spend a good 6-8 weeks doing this after a show before I move into my first hard training period.

I think some people just think of plyometric training like depth jumps and other high intensity ploy's. I do Not recommend that level of plyo's for bb's. And when I do use them I use them sparingly only with experienced athletes. Plyometric training can be as easy as jump roping...classified as a low level plyometric.

Also, when prescribing different functional or plyometric exercises they should be designed to fit the sport they desire to excel in. These skills will not necessarily transfer to another sport, as Chris said. Vern Gambetta has an excellent tape on plyometrics called Jump, Jump, Jump. In it he describes...you guessed it..saftey and progression.

Lastly, many trainers are probably right about THEIR training regimine being the best. There is more than one way to skin a cat. For example, my expertise could be in high level plyometrics. Your expertise my be low level plyometrics. The expert of high level ploy's can modify that type of training better than you. Opposite also being true. But, the final outcome can still be the same. Only you each took a different path. These are just general ideas and concepts concerning some of my training philosphies.

[Edited by Mr. America on 02-13-2001 at 02:23 AM]