Offensive linemen are the biggest and the strongest guys on the field. They are the ones that drive the success of the offense both on the running and passing side of things. However, they are not the fastest people on the planet. Many offensive linemen lack speed. Not that an offensive lineman needs to sprint 40 yards down the field every play, but they should have a certain level of explosive ability off of the line.
The most prominent issue with training offensive linemen on speed is the fact that everyone wants to know the athletes 40 yard dash time but the relevancy of a 40-yard dash to offensive linemen is minimal at best. The box of activity is generally speaking about 20 yards from the line of scrimmage. So training an athlete on being as explosive and as fast inside that box of action is more important than knowing how fast they are over 40 yards.
Getting Off The Line
Learning How to get off the line as fast as possible is going to be the most important part of getting a speed advantage.Learning How to get off the line as fast as possible is going to be the most critical part of getting a speed advantage. We must go over a few things of importance before we go into gaining the edge off the ball.
First, you know the snap count, you should never be moving off the ball after defensive linemen considering you already know when the ball is going to be snapped. Second, knowing your stance, practicing your stance and your sport specific skills before you dabble with the extras.
Now, getting off of the ball is the most crucial aspect of the position. But how do we improve that point of our game? The First step is going to set up the rest of the movements. That first action needs to be deliberate, and it needs to be fast. How I get my athletes to improve that first step is this:
Get a resistance band or Theraband. One that is not too heavy but enough to give you some resistance. Put it on your ankles, make it, so the band is long enough where it fits in your three-point stance.
Now get into your stance, and you get that step moving. Launching it out there with intent, overcoming the resistance of the band each time. Once you have nailed down your first step, you have to get into your second step. Or your power step.
The second step is where you take all your power and strength and explode out from that quick first step. Using that same resistance band on your feet, you can use it to bring that second phase through. The second step does not need to be staggering. It should be about a foot ahead of the foot you used for the first step.
Work Your Feet
As stated at the beginning of this article it is not essential for offensive linemen to be running down the field 40 yards each play. Their speed needs to be explosive and quick within a smaller window.
In my opinion, an offensive lineman needs to have a much more specific style of training considering the tight windows in which they do their work.
Having quick feet is going to help offensive linemen stay balanced, it will allow them to maintain that explosiveness while they are being pumped or put into less than optimal positions
There are a couple of ways in which offensive linemen could do to improve their overall footwork.
Going through a complete footwork progression, like the video below will help increase your ability to keep your feet under your base of power.
Now, this should only be done by those who skip often. Skipping like a boxer can be very hard on your feet, but the benefits may out way the dangers. Here is a great way to increase your footwork through skipping:
When you are talking about offensive linemen, you are going to be thinking about the biggest, and the most reliable players on the field at any time. They should also be the most explosive.
Strength and speed are directly related. The stronger you are, the slower you will be with that same weight. Now, the goal of training explosion is relatively simple. Be able to make load faster than you used to be able to. Your body weight counts in that effect.
If you can increase your ability to produce power in that small area of action, I mentioned before the better overall athlete you are going to become.
Here are some of my favorite ways to increase your power as offensive linemen
Training with a sled is one of the best ways to improve your explosive strength. Training with 30% of your one rep max in the squat on the sled and just going as fast as you can for 20-30 yards at a time.
Box Squats With Bands:
Training box squats alongside resistance band are going to force you to apply 100% effort to the squat because you have to overcome the load being applied to the bar (from the bands) as you stand up.
Heavy Kettlebell Swings:
Swinging a kettlebell is a great way to improve the explosive hip action. This forces full extension in the hips that will only increase your ability to produce power during games.
If you are offensive linemen, then speed is more important than you may think it is. However, you will be told by conventional coaches that the 40-yard dash or linear speed is the most important thing.
I, however, tend to have a problem with this mindset. Offensive linemen need to be the most efficient within a small action area, approximately 20 yards from the line of scrimmage.
Most crucial being the ability to explode off the line especially when it comes to run blocking. Improving your first steps, footwork, and increasing your ability to produce force are all going to contribute to your ability to be faster when it is essential as offensive linemen.