Squat to dominate.
An increase in lower body strength = less reduction in tackling technique due to fatigue
A Rugby league study by Gabbet (2016) looking at repeated high intensity exercise on tackling ability found greater lower body strength produced the development of higher tackling skills which were maintained under fatigue.
This is translatable to the contact sport of American Football.
Squats for Performance
Performing intensive activities such as sprinting, cutting and tackling seen in American football games, are known to cause a decline in performance known as fatigue. Performing these motor tasks over long periods of time leads to the decline of maximal force and power capacity of muscle.
Crucially, muscle fatigue is not the end point of performing a task, or when the muscles become exhausted. Rather is it the decrease in force or power produced by the muscles, which develops gradually after the beginning of exercise.
But how does this work? By building muscular endurance and high aerobic fitness though implementing squats within a training programme, the body adjusts to allow the legs to tolerate the impact forces applied when tackling. Thus reducing the rate of fatigue and additionally increasing performance. In turn, preventing fatigue will not only reduce the extent of deterioration in performance but will also reduce the risk of injury presented to the player.
It has also been suggested that stronger players use a lower portion of their maximum strength when tackling and compared to weaker players. However in my experience, when working with rugby and America Football, not committing fully to a tackle puts you at further risk of injury.
So there we have it, build lower limb strength to enhance your tackling performance and to reduce injury risk associated with playing under fatigue! Plus, your coaching staff will love the performance you put in!
Squatting solves it all!
- Gabbett, T.J., 2008. Influence of fatigue on tackling technique in rugby league players. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 22(2), pp.625-632.
- Gabbett, T.J., 2016. Influence of Fatigue on Tackling Ability in Rugby League Players: Role of Muscular Strength, Endurance, and Aerobic Qualities. PloS one, 11(10), p.e0163161.