Football Conditioning Workouts for Kids

By Christopher Michael
Choose the right exercises to get your young football players in shape.
Choose the right exercises to get your young football players in shape.

Center snaps the ball and a flurry of crashes ensue with kids running everywhere until the whistle blows. Football demands stop-and-go action, so don't have your kids running long-winded aerobic jogs. Hit them with short bursts of intensity. The increased anaerobic stamina and explosive strength will show on the field of play. Before you get started, ensure the kids have passed their physicals and are in good aerobic condition.

Kings of the Hill

All the experts say that a football player should run downhill, torso forward and driving with the knees. Downhill running gives a player leverage for blocking, tackling and breaking tackles, but kids have difficulty learning this skill. If they won't bring their bodies toward the ground, than you can bring the ground toward their bodies. Sprint them uphill eight times at 20 yards with at least a 15-degree incline, giving the little tykes two minutes of rest between each sprint. Hill sprints teach the body how to run efficiently with a forward tilt.

Bunny Hops and Hurdles

Power strides on the football field require high knees. Get your kids to run with high knees using 10 mini hurdles spaced two- to three-feet apart. Line up the children and have them sprint, landing one foot between each two hurdles and extending the sprint 10 yards beyond the last hurdle stopping at the cone. Walk them back to the start position. Ramp up the intensity with two feet touching in each spot, then have them bunny-hop with a sprint to the cone. Get them going through it sideways, then with single-foot hops and finally with three steps in each. Run each drill twice, asking for intensity and concentration.

Pedal to the Metal

Football has long held the gasser as the premium endurance test. Usually performed at the end of a long, hard practice, the gasser will do just that -- gas your kids out. Line them up on the sideline, sprint them across the field, stomping a pivot-foot on the opposite sideline, and then sprinting back. Have them repeat this until they've completed four trips across the field. A football field is about 53.5 yards across, so that's a 214-yard sprint. Time the little buggers. Encourage them to improve their times with each subsequent practice. The threat of gassers is a good way to keep the team focused during skills training.

All in One

Kids shouldn't be training like a pro athlete, lifting weights and throwing medicine balls, but they can do some muscle-building exercises. Burpees offer a body-weight resistance workout with anaerobic conditioning, and it will put your guys right to sleep after practice. Get them in an athletic squat position -- legs bent, feet shoulder-width apart -- then have them drop their hands to the ground, jump their legs out to push up position then back up to the hands, and stand back up. That is one. Do it quickly and smoothly, repeating as many times as possible in 30 seconds. Rest for 30 seconds, and repeat until they are sufficiently gassed.

About the Author

Christopher Michael began writing in 2010 for He received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Writing sports and travel articles helps support his professional baseball career, which has taken him to 49 states, five continents and four oceans.