You probably prep for football season by hauling out your lucky jersey and making sure there’s a six-pack in the fridge, but the guys on the field have done a heck of a lot more than that. To find out what it takes to move the chains, we asked Todd Durkin — who trained more than 30 NFL players, including Drew Brees, at his San Diego gym this summer — what goes into a workout. “It’s feet to finger tips,” he says.
On a Roll
Before they do anything else, they’ve got to get cozy with a foam roller. They use the firm cylinder to perform self-myofascial release, a technique that helps get out the knots, allowing the body to have a wider range of motion.
Then it’s time for the dynamic warm-up. “It’s skipping, hopping, jumping and lunging, and it’s often done barefoot,” says Durkin, who likes to make sure every muscle is wide awake. That segues into agility drills, such as running or leaping around cones and bounding on one leg back and forth over a line.
Powering up your middle is critical for athletes (and everyone else), so Durkin has an arsenal of core exercises. One of his faves is a plank with your feet elevated in the straps of the TRX, a suspension-training tool. To make it tougher, keep your feet together and swing your legs like a pendulum, first toward one elbow and then the other. (Along with Brees, Durkin is part of team of exercise experts promoting TRX’s “Get With the Movement” campaign for functional fitness. “For both athletes and non, it’s a killer workout,” he vows.)
Join the Circuit
Tired yet? No reason to be ashamed. “A lot of my athletes in the first few weeks don’t even get to weights,” says Durkin. But if they still have any energy, it’s time to string exercises together into supersets, which always work complementary parts of the body. Durkin, a former pro who was also a quarterback at William & Mary, blames the injuries that plagued his career on training just what he calls the “mirror muscles.” “You can’t forget about your back,” he adds. Expect 4-6 circuits per workout.
That’s what Durkin calls the last gasp before hitting the showers. “Imagine that it’s the fourth quarter, with two minutes to go. You still need mental focus,” he says. So he might throw cards in the air and the players have to catch them in one hand. Or, they’ll need to finish up with three sets of treadmill sprints. He can always dream up something to test even the toughest players in the league. “You never want to believe you’re on the top,” Durkin says. “I’ve got to keep my guys hungry.” And after all that training, they’re ready to devour anyone who gets in their way.
Photo courtesy Fitness Anywhere
Article courtesy of Express Night Out