As a defensive tackle, you play an important role in your team’s ability to prevent scoring and win the game, but in order to be your best, you’ll want to employ some great workouts that will increase your level of power on the field. Power is about more than just being able to bench press more than anyone else on the team. It’s also about being able to harness energy for quick starts, effective impacts, sustained blocking, and short sprints, all of which will enable you to neutralize runners, the quarterback, and pretty much anyone who’s got that ball and poses a potential scoring threat. Here are some workouts that do more than just build muscle mass, they make you an all-around better player.
When play starts, gain the edge by exploding from your position with speed and power by developing your body’s ability to harness and focus energy in quick bursts. Here are a few exercises that use a medicine ball and can increase your explosive power. Hold the ball in front of your chest and squat down, then jump vertically with an emphasis on the explosive movement in your upper and lower body, thrusting the ball as high above you as you can. Land with good posture and balance, and then repeat. To focus on explosive power in the hips and upper body, two areas where defensive tackles need it most, try kneeling on the ground about five or six yards from a partner. Hold the medicine ball in front of you, then throw it to your partner with an explosive, pushing motion and fall forwards into a push-up position. Push yourself back up into a kneeling to catch your partner’s pass and repeat. If you don’t have a partner, try this next workout to increase power in your hips. Kneel on the floor and hold the medicine ball in front of you. Coil up and explode into a squatting position, stand up, then kneel back down and repeat.
Should you break through the line, you’ll want to develop a fast, powerful sprint to get to the quarterback or runner. Interval training, which consists of alternating between high and low intensity exercise, is a great way to do this. After warming up, try running in intervals of 30 seconds at all-out, top speed, then slow down to a comfortable pace for 60 seconds to recover, then burst into top speed for another 30 seconds, and so on. This not only allows you to develop that twitch-response in your leg muscles, it also increases endurance and helps you to recover your energy more quickly after you’ve exerted yourself.
Staying balanced, even when your knees are bent and you're being pushed and pulled from all sides, is critical for a defensive tackle. Work on getting comfortable with bent knees (versus a bent back) with this workout that uses a board, such as a 4x4, a medicine ball, and a partner. Stand on the board with your knees bent, have your partner throw the ball at you, then toss it back. Concentrate on staying balanced. Next, have your partner throw the ball a bit to one side, then the other. Another exercise is having your partner stand at a diagonal angle from you and toss the ball while you deflect it and move a few inches along the board. Finally, practice a little pushing and pulling while you’re on the board and your partner isn’t, all the while maintaining your balance.