2022 marked our first full football off-season training program at Testify Performance. This was an exciting time, as venturing into a new sport can come with many caveats and learning experiences. The birth and development of Testify Football was a huge step in working to establish Testify Performance as not only the best hockey training facility in the province, but the premiere training facility in Manitoba. 

The program spanned all the way from Junior Varsity players stepping into the weight room for the first time, to college players and CFL veterans. Each level looked quite a bit different from a programming standpoint, however many of the fundamentals remained the same. For instance, working with a CFL veteran, the main goal of the early off-season is dealing with any lingering injuries and ailments that occurred throughout the competitive season. Having guys coming back from a condensed schedule and a Grey Cup in December certainly posed some of these issues. From there, the focus shifts to developing strength, speed, and power in sport specific positions to prepare them for the demands of their sport. This is something that is applicable at all skill levels, however the delivery and how this is achieved may look different depending on the athlete and context.

Working with younger high school athletes requires one to take a slightly different approach. While the main goal is obviously still to prepare them for their sport, at Testify Performance we value instilling discipline, intent, and professionalism within our athletes. With that being said much of the initial phase is spent on teaching proper etiquette and habits of being part of a serious training program. Though some of this may feel monotonous at times, it pays dividends come later training blocks when athletes are moving huge weights and completely bought in to the process. That learning curve is something our coaches certainly take pride in, sometimes even more than any number or PR in the gym.

At the end of the day working with football players, no matter the age or skill level comes down to a few key principles:

  • You can’t win games from the sidelines – stay healthy, stay ready
  • We move weights in the gym in order to move people on the field – train heavy and fast
  • Apply adequate stress and ensure adequate recovery – in order to perform at an elite level you must train and recover at an elite level

No matter the context, it is crucial to have key principles to guide your philosophy. Consistency and care above all else will yield the best results.

Willie Jefferson CFL Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Words by: Adam Neiles