NFL Combine Training for the NFL Draft

NFL Combine Training for the NFL Draft

Dr. Joel Seedman, Ph.D.

With the NFL draft taking place I wanted to give a shoutout to all the awesome athletes I worked with the last several months to prep them for the next stage in their football careers. Lots of incredible talent in this group and quite a few NFL teams itching to get their hands on these guys.  Here’s a brief highlight showcasing their hard work paying off with some box jumps, depth drops, and sprint.  

Yes this is an incredibly high box jump and depth drop and to be honest 90% of the time we focused on substantially lower heights with deconstructed mechanics.  However, occasionally I like to push the envelope so the guys can see firsthand how they’ve improved as well as build up mental confidence.  

This year the improvements in sprinting speed, jump performance, power, strength, agility, and overall muscle function were off the charts and it just further highlights all the quality work and dedication these guys put into their training and nutrition.  And if I had to highlight a few key things we did. 1. Eccentric Isometrics and lots of them, 2 Foot and Ankle training drills, 3. Olympic lifts, 4. Plyometric drills, 5. Unique stabilization exercises to work on form, mechanics, and motor control 6. Postural Re-Education and Spinal Correction and 7. Proper Nutrition and Supplementation.   

Here's an example of some of the foot and ankle stabilization I did with my NFL combine guys this year.  In fact each workout we always performed at least one foot and ankle stabilization drill strategically implemented into the program for the sake of maximizing their performance and minimizing injury.  In this particular video I had the guys performing a single leg swap while on a bench.  

The single leg swap is one of the most effective foot and ankle stabilization drills there is not only for improving foot and ankle stability but for eliminating energy leaks throughout the kinetic chain.  Performing them on a bench not only requires greater balance due to the softer and more unstable surface but it also requires greater focus and mental engagement to avoid falling off the bench. In addition, it helps to ensure the athletes keep proper alignment as they use the bench to gauge their alignment.  

Much of the power and speed these guys built this year can be attributed to foot and ankle drills as well as eccentric isometrics and other unique training methods.  If you want to learn more about how to program and implement foot and ankle training protocols for the sake of maximizing speed, power, agility, strength, force production, motor control, muscle function, and overall athleticism as well as greatly reduce the risk of injury throughout the lower extremities check out my bestselling Foot and Ankle Manual.

Here's a unique and advanced example of training their upper body strength for the 225 bench press test.  

Here's and example of combining eyes closed training with Olympic lifting such as cleans, snatches, and similar variations.  

Here's an example of their single leg eccentric isometric work as we honed in on their single leg hip hinge - a highly critical component for athletic performance.

Here's a band-resisted squat-stance deadlift example to improve lower body strength and size with the end result of enhancing athletic performance and functional movement.

Also a big shoutout to GSP the top athletic performance institute in the south who I’ve partnered with the last several years for the NFL combine.  Love the partnership and teamwork and more success to come in the future.  

What About The Bench Press?

While we do many many upper body movements, we do very minimal 225 bench pressing as this does very little for strength, performance, & functional hypertrophy other than getting you more comfortable with the test. Yes we will periodically test the 225 test once every 7-14 days just to make sure they feel comfortable with the testing protocol but a majority of the training is allocated to other exercises & loading protocols including eccentric isometric chest pressing variations, upper back exercises, bottoms up movements, weighted pushups, eccentric overload bench press (PREP protocol), overhead presses, dips, pullups, & more.

Furthermore, with the exception of the actual 225 test a majority of the sets are performed with 90 degree mechanics rather than touching the chest or overstretching at the bottom as this maximizes strength & hypertrophy more so than using a greater ROM. In other words it’s more like a Spotto press (pausing 2-3 inches above the chest) than an actual bench press.

Additionally most of the rep ranges are lower such as the 2-6 range as this maximizes functional strength & size not to mention overall bench press strength which ultimately improves the 225 test more than anything. Simply put if you want to get better at the 225 test simply work on improving your upper body strength & size and the 225 test will improve.

What’s shown in the video represents one of many different protocols we use throughout the NFL combine training process. Notice the 225 bench is not included.