Football Tempo

What are everyone’s thoughts about using different movement patterns for one of your weekly tempo sessions for football? That is, generally for my tempo work while training for football, I head out to the field and run 10 x 100m on the field.

However, for variety what do you all think about doing some of those runs as backpedals (for a defensive back) or zig zag runs for a (running back/wideout). I would still keep the intensity at 75% or lower, but this may give the opportunity to include and regenerate more of the muscles that are involved during games. Good idea or misguided?



Personally I think that it’s essential to include some lateral movemenst in the Tempo work out - if only to tax other assisting muscles and improve agility.

While my sport is very different with a greater aerobic demand, the Tempo work can be very good for helping develop agility at a slower pace and building strength and muscle memory around the knee and ankle joints.

As some one on another thread said - (paraphrasing) - never run in a straight line …

    • Unless you’re sport demands it or …
    • For the development of speed


i’d love to hear what charlie has to say about this one. until then…

Charlie, any thoughts?


I’d rather not develop agility with any sort of tempo. Direction change should result from an effective elastic response, which can’t be generated effectively at low intensity. Also fatigue, which can occur during tempo can lead to flat footed changes which put alot of unnatural stress on other parts of the body. Also, work on the core (from which direction change originates) and on elastic properties (which enhance direction change) can be trained away from direction change work, so that direction change volumes can remain manageable, relieving joint stresses.

A lot of colleges use 110 yard runs to get players into “shape” over the summer months. Many also have the players test on these runs before camp. They do change of direction activities on other days away from their conditioning.

Football is 2% straight ahead, 98% change of direction.