Weighing In: Train Penn State Football Style

Each week, our own fitness fanatic Bethany Shirilla will explore the latest workout crazes, diet fads and dish out tips for healthy living. Managing your schoolwork is tough enough- let us take care of your health.


Despite last week’s loss to UCF, Penn State football has started the season strong. Their athleticism has got our student section rallying for the games to follow. Playing for Penn State is an athletic honor in itself, but who says we can’t get game ready too? With these suggestions, be as tough as our Iron Lions.

Playing football requires an outstanding diversity of fitness. From speed and strength, to endurance and power, your workout must include a variety of full-body skill and conditioning. Aim for your workout to include four days of conditioning with three days of rest. Full-body strength training is intense, so be consistent and willing to dedicate a worthy amount of time in the gym.

Beginning each workout with a warm-up is essential. Just as the team does prior to kick off, each workout should be started with a sweat-breaking and engaging warm-up that includes stretching. Stretching is important because it gets your blood flowing and supplies oxygen to your muscles. Flexibility also helps prevent injury. If you plan to focus on your upper body that day, warm-up with shoulder rolls and push-ups. For a lower body workout, warm-up with some lunges and squats.

You might be thinking, “There’s no way I can do a football player’s workout!” So instead of doing exactly a football workout, try mimicking some key principles involved in their training. Football is composed of lifting, cardio, sprinting and stretching for flexibility. If you aren’t big into lifting, pick equipment you can become familiar and confident using. The amount of weight isn’t as critical as how you perform each rep. Each lift should be in a full range of motion. Record your workouts to track improvement and things that need attention. For cardio, jumping rope and stair running are manageable and beneficial. Agility can be trained with sprinting, ladder drills and shuttle runs.

This demanding form of fitness requires attention both on and off the field. For this reason, sleep deprivation can be detrimental to your performance. A suggested nine hours of sleep is adequate each night. If you aren’t able to get enough sleep on top of school work, napping during the day is just as helpful. Sleeping gives you more alertness and increases reaction time. The harder your condition, the more sleep you may notice your body needs.

The more calories you burn, the more food and drink your body needs to refuel. Don’t panic. As long as you’re filling your body with healthy foods, eating more regularly to compensate for a good workout is perfectly okay. Football players consume mostly carbohydrates and protein. Although this may sound unappealing, try filling your plates with fruits and veggies, lean meats and potatoes.

Training like a true Nittany Lion is demanding. Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. Although their athleticism isn’t easy to achieve, keeping key concepts about their conditioning in mind will give you the full body results and improve your overall athleticism with power, strength and endurance.


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