IMG Day 3: All About the Science

IMG Day 3: All About the Science

So what is it like to train for the NFL combine? Well, I found out at the IMG Performance Institute in Bradenton, Florida. For four days, I trained with the combine prep group, and tested if I had what it takes to succeed.

I woke up on day three of NFL Combine training, and surprisingly the most sore part of me? My grip. The rest of my body was feeling pretty lively.

So, bring on the "Re-Gen" workout.

First thing Wednesday morning, I joined a group of NFL Vets and track and field athletes for one of Coach Loren Seagraves famous workouts.

This workout is something that the guys training for the combine would do once a week, on their "recovery day."

Let's flash back to Tuesday -- when I was asked by a group of receivers what was on my slate for the next day, I responded excitedly, "Re-gen workout." Their response? "I'm sorry."

The lineman group seemed to have the same thoughts on the matter, they said "Oh man, good luck."

Needless to say, I was a little nervous for what was to come.

Back to Wednesday, I joined the small group of six athletes out on IMG Academies turf fields to take part in what resulted in a non-stop 30 minute cardio circuit with several balance, strength, and a game of "med ball wall ball" to conclude.

An hour later, the only thing that kept me in the game was my endurance training -- I impressed myself by for the most part never being last to the next exercise.

Everything from multiple types of lunges, squats, skips, gallops, sprints, and even hurdle drills kept our heart rates up for the extended period of time.

When training for the combine, this workout was one that the athletes did when they first arrived on campus to "whip them into shape" -- before the combine they had tapered down to a less intense version.

This was only the beginning of the day.

Next up, a string of one-on-one interviews with plenty of the guys that had helped me learn what it was like to truly train like an NFL athlete --- a bit of a breather on the physical side of things.

It's amazing how close you can feel with a group of people once you have sweat and bled around them (okay mostly sweat)... Even if you are the odd man, or woman, out. The IMG Performance Institue is like a family, and the staff and athletes welcomed me in with open arms.

For the afternoon sessions, I was gearing up for what the combine prep guys call "Movement." A part of their training that works on perfecting the 40, three come drill, and 5-10-5 drill for combine testing. Plus working on their overall speed and explosiveness.

None of those things I just listed are my strong points, literally.

But, I was up for a challenge so Coach Seagrave met me at the foot of "Mount Seagrave" (the highest point in West Bradenton, Fla.) right after receiver Mohammed Sanu showed me some tips for route running. (Trust me, that's a whole different story)

Seagrave arrived with an array of "toys" -- med-balls, weight vests, sleds, cones, agility ladders, and add all that to the only turf hill surface I have ever seen.

We began with the 5-10-5 drill, that all the combine guys have been working so hard on over the past several weeks.

Instead Seagrave chose to simulate the exercise with a 4-8-4 drill for me, and something I immediately picked up on?

It's all about the science.

If you can take me, a distance runner with no experience running football drills, and make me into a decent 4-8-4 runner (most impressively one with the right footwork) you are impressive.

In just a few minutes, Coach Seagrave had already fixed most of my footwork.

Which makes me think, if I am a "slow" distance runner, and I can be helped by this type of training, imagine what it does for the guys at the combine.

We then moved on to the famous "Mount Seagrave," a hill that IMG built to the specifications that Coach Seagrave designed, and the highest point in West Bradenton, Fl.

The guys training for the NFL combine do the hill exercises about once a week, under Coach Seagrave's tutelage.

With an assortment of "toys" like a weighted vest, sleds, and medicine balls, we worked on explosion, cutting, and improving technique.

I surprised myself, and I was feeling much more like a sprinter at the end of the session.

Even though it had been quite the day so far, the working out wasn't done.

It was time to experience one more piece of combine training – the fourth quarter program.

Something specifically designed to get the prospects training for the combine and even NFL vets to finish the forth quarter strong, and build stamina.

Under the guidance of Coach Seagrave, I went through five exercises in short, but all-out bursts with 15 seconds rest for three sets. And it worked every part of my body.

Needless to say, I was going to be sore the next day – I knew it as soon as I started the fourth quarter program.

Speaking of the next day, my fourth and final day training – first thing in the morning, I am slated to participate in the Gatorade Sports Science Institutes testing.

This testing, will compare me to elite athletes that have been tested all over the world – in my endurance, power, and fitness.

On that note, I am going to get some shut-eye, I'm going too need it tomorrow.

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