What are Up Downs in Football? (Full Explanation)

By Coach Martin | Football Drills

Up Downs in Football

Football is a very intense sport. It requires not only a lot of skill, but plenty of physical and mental toughness, as well as endurance.

Coaches will work to build up these skills throughout spring practices and training camps before the season starts.

To do this, they will run certain conditioning drills that are usually used only in off-season programs.

Players DREAD these drills. They're exhausting, and seemingly have no tie-in with the game of football at all.

But, they do serve a great purpose.

One of these dreaded conditioning drills is called "Up Downs."

Below, we'll take a look at how Up Downs are typically run, and I'll share you a variation that builds physical and mental toughness.

What are Up Downs in Football?

"Up Downs" are a very difficult and challenging conditioning drill.

They're usually part of any off-season workout -- either in spring practices or during training camp. Once the regular season starts, teams will usually stop running these.

It's one of those drills that you'll run at either the beginning or end of practice, or both, when you have the entire team together.

They're usually run team-wide at the same time, sort of as a team-building exercise as well.

The idea is that players can motivate their teammates to keep going and push through what is a very tough physical and mental challenge.

football team lines up during practice before doing up downs

How to Run Up Downs

Up Downs are simple to teach, and take zero skill to do.

Here's how they work:

1. Players start in a standing position.

2. When the coach blows the whistle, the drill will start and all players will jog in place, chopping their feet where they stand.

3. When the coach blows the whistle again, all players must immediately belly flop onto the ground, and then get back up into the standing position.

4. Once they're standing upright again, they'll immediately start chopping their feet again.

5. This will go on and on and on and on and on.

Each time the coach blows the whistle, players will belly flop, get back up and start chopping their feet again.

The idea is to never stop moving -- this is what will help build endurance.

An "Up Downs" Variation:

Coaches who want to go a little extra can work in some sprinting as well.

This variation is a mix between Gassers and Up Downs.

Instead of having all players chop their feet in place, have them sprint from one side of the field to the other, belly flopping along the way as you blow the whistle.

For this switch-up, all players should line up at one sideline facing the other sideline. Make sure there is enough space between players so they can safely belly flop on the ground without hitting someone else.

(You may need to split them up into groups, depending on the size of your team.)

1. To start the drill, players will run at about half speed or more headed across the width of the field.

2. When the coach blows the whistle, they will belly flop on the ground, get right back up and resume running.

3. When they reach the other sideline, they will turn around and run back to the same sideline where they started.

4. Every time the coach blows the whistle, players should belly flop, get back up and resume running.

5. Once they get back to the same sideline where they started, they should stop and rest for a bit.

Coaches can either end the drill there or run it one more time.

football player looks on during a game


Up Downs in football are one of the most grueling conditioning drills that coaches have their players run.

Players hate these drills, as they're physically and emotionally draining.

At the same time, these are great drills for building physical and mental toughness, as well as the endurance players will need for getting through an entire football game.

Leave a Comment:

Leave a Comment: