Lee Burton: Programming Needs of a High School Football Player

What athletes want isn’t always what they need. Programming to blend their “wants” with what you decide they need is an art, as Lee Burton explains using the patterns of the Functional Movement Screen.

What does he need? He’s 17 with no asymmetries and he looks good. Here’s where you take it to the next level when you start looking at movement.

We all agree he moves well, but as a Division I defensive lineman, he needs to be a 3 on the trunk stability pushup.

The 70-year-old who wants to play golf doesn’t need to be a 3 on the pushup. Most people don’t. Most people need to be a 2.

If he’s going to play at the highest level, we have to get him more powerful and stronger. I want to make sure I put as much foundation under him as possible because as I load him up, what’s going to happen to his mobility? It will continue to diminish.

I have to give myself these extra little pieces on either end of all of his movements, which is why we want certain people to be 3s. This is why I want him to be a 3, because what is he doing every day?

He’s getting pounded on his shoulders, so I have to make sure he has stability. It’s not so much about strength in his shoulders, but his ability to control extension.

That’s what the trunk stability pushup test does. I want to have him work on more core stabilization.

Next is sports-specific conditioning. What high-school kid wants to do conditioning?

Nobody. What does he want?

What every football player wants, which is to get stronger—bigger, faster and stronger. That’s fine. We can make you bigger, faster and stronger, but we have to have a good foundation.

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