NFL & COMBINE TRAINING
Advanced Human Performance's Dr. Joel Seedman specializes in working with current NFL athletes as well athletes preparing for the NFL Combine and Pro Days. These videos highlight various training protocols Dr. Seedman employs to build and heighten those physical tools essential to an athlete's success--explosive power, strength, stability, agility, and increased functional muscle mass. View AHP's Services for more information about personal and group training or contact us directly to schedule an consultation and assessment.
Shoulder stability and positioning are critical for the 225 bench press test as well as overall upper body performance. I use various bottoms-up pressing variations with many of my collegiate and professional athletes to help improve this.
Most of the collegiate as well as professional athletes I work with come to me with very poor levels of stability and muscle function especially in their lower extremities and core. We spend time daily particularly when training for the NFL combine to address these weaknesses and imbalances in order to maximize their speed, power, stability, strength,and mobility.
Here are some of the collegiate and professional athletes (mainly football players) that I work with performing a very difficult variation of the single leg stand. A majority of the athletes I see have significant weaknesses and imbalances in their feet, ankles, and toes, therefore a good amount of time is devoted to correcting these issues.
This is a great variation of the single leg med ball chest pass. The formation shown in this video really challenges the feet and ankles as well as the core (rotary stability and anti-rotation). By catching the ball from the outside of your planted foot it creates a valgus force on your ankle and hips. This forces you to resist pronation (by firing your the muscles responsible for supination) essentially turning this into an anti-pronation exercise which is an area most athletes lack strength in. It's also great for teaching proper force absorption while simultaneously addressing stabilization of the lower body.
Minnesota Vikings QB Taylor Heinicke is featured here. After suffering a shoulder injury earlier in the season we used this exercise as well as many others to greatly improve the health, strength, and function of his shoulder in order to prepare him for the NFL. The bottoms-up floor press is a great exercise for improving shoulder and core stability.
Rapid Eccentric Isometrics are an advanced proprietary training technique developed by Dr. Joel Seedman used to increase proprioceptive feedback from muscle spindles with the goal of improving performance and muscle function. Rapid Eccentric Isometrics (REI’s) also improve rate of force development (RFD), Rate of Stabilization Development (RSD), Rate of Force Absorption (RFA), and Reactive Stabilization as the muscles are forced to turn on rapidly to absorb high impact forces. Rapid Eccentric Isometrics should only be used once proper form has been established with standard eccentric isometrics (EI’s).
Stability training is something I focus on with my athletes throughout NFL combine training to make they have eliminated movement dysfunction and neuromuscular deficiencies. Strength is excellent but the athletes must learn to control it with using appropriate movement patterns. Here is an example of that. Notice the amount of motor control required to perform these exercises appropriately.
This is one of the most critical drills an athlete or any individual can perform who demonstrates weak ankles especially valgus ankle collapse or pronation. Performing this drill several times per day will gradually remedy pronation and valgus ankle collapse of the feet and ankles.
Here's Marcus, an NFL veteran who's spent several years with the New York Jets. We spent a lot of time this off season improving his strength and stability. Here I have him performing an eccentric isometric variation of barbell lunges using the hanging band technique. This method forces all of the stabilizers and proprioceptive mechanisms such as muscle spindles to work overtime to balance the free hanging load.
Marcus, an NFL veteran who's spent several years with the New York Jets. and I spent considerable time this off season improving his strength and stability. Here I have him performing an overhead power hold variation using the hanging band technique. This method forces all of the stabilizers and proprioceptive mechanisms such as muscle spindles to work overtime to balance the free hanging load. The core and stabilizers really have to work overtime on this not to mention the entire upper body
Shown in the video is NFL quarterback and all-star collegiate QB Taylor Heinicke. After suffering a shoulder injury earlier in the season we used this exercise as well as many others to greatly improve the health, strength, and function of his shoulder in order to prepare him for the NFL. Rapid Eccentric Isometrics are a great way to improve force absorption, deceleration, and activation of fast twitch muscles. The pullover REI is particularly useful for activating the core, back, chest, arms, and stabilizers.
Dr. Seedman uses the slideboard quite frequently with his NFL and collegiate athletes because it's a great method for increasing core strength and optimizing spinal stabilization. The bodysaw creates extension that causes the body/spine to collapse down to the floor. Resisting that requires incredible core activation to produce significant anti-extension. Slideboard exercises can also be done with Valslide disks, feet on towel, socks on slick surface, furniture sliders, or any other combination that allows the feet to slide.
Low bar pause squats are a great movement not just for powerlifters but also for athletes including football players as it teaches the athlete to use there hips. Here's one of my athletes working on low bar technique as it's only the second time he's tried it. Typically after several sessions the movement feels locked in. If the goal is to maximize strength, hypertrophy, athletic performance, muscle function, proprioception, and overall joint health then approximately parallel for squats is best. However if you’re a competitive Olympic weightlifter then dropping below parallel to catch the load will most likely allow you to achiever higher PR’s. It’s all about goals.
Here's NFL wide receiver Larry Pinkard demonstrating a great chest press variation. Besides working the muscles that stabilize the neck (something that's critical for football) it's also excellent for teaching proper t-spine extension as the the head is allowed to extend to a greater degree. Make sure the extension happens from the t-spine rather than the cervical spine.
Here's a few of my NFL combine athletes performing a very effective core, lat, tricep, chest, and upper body strength exercise, the dumbbell pullover. When performed as shown in the video it's one of the most challenging variations of the pullover exercise.
Tricep strength as well as muscular endurance is critical for the NFL 225 bench press test. Dumbbell Skull crushers are a great movement for targeting the triceps as well as the core especially when performed with the feet elevated as my athletes demonstrate.
Here's several of my NFL combine athletes performing a highly effective upper body superset consiting of overhead press with chains and renegade plank rows. This combination is great for improving strenght, hypertrophy, and full body stability all of which are critical for their combine test and pro day test.
The close grip hang snatch is a movement I use frequently with my athletes and NFL combine guys as it greatly emphasizes power output due to the exagerated distance the bar has to travel in order to complete the lift. It's a great movement for enhancing hip power, jump performance, and speed.
The incline barbell bench press with band resistance is a great strength, hypertrophy, and overall mass builder for the chest, triceps, and shoulders. This is one I use quite a bit with for my NFL players and NFL combine guys.
Here's one of my NFL wider receivers Larry Pinkard demonstrating his incredible upper body power as he blasts out explosive hand clap pushups very effortlessly. Hand clap pushups are a great strength, power, and explosive upper body exercise for the chest, shoulders, triceps, and core stabilizers.
The overhead kneeling medicine ball catch and pass is a great power exercise not only for the upper body but also for the core as it involves anti-extension particularly on the catch and deceleration phase.
Here's a few of my NFL combine athletes performing a great back and lat exercise. On this particular day we added the fat grips to the handles to force the athletes to work their forearms, hands, and grip strength. It also helps clean up technique as the fat grip forces the athletes to use more controlled form.
Here's some of my NFL Combine athletes performing a very simple yet highly effective core stabilization exercise Pallof press variation. This drill emphasizes anti-rotation and rotary stability while forcing all of the muscles that surround the spine to stabilize. When performed kneeling it makes the movement even more challenging.
The power hang snatch is a great speed and power movement for the hips and lower body as it teaches triple extension of the hips, knees, and ankles. Try to not let the feet overly flare during the catch. The athletes demonstrating that here is flaring and splitting the feet slightly more than I typically like to see however the hip extension is very powerful.
Offset movements are particularly effective for targeting the core musculature as well as the stabilizers as the individual has to lift the load in a controlled fashion even though one side is loaded with more weight. Typically a 10-15 pound difference between sides will be plenty. Perform several reps with the heavier weight loaded to one side then switch so the heavier weight is loaded to the opposite side. This requires incredible levels of tightness, core strength, focus, stability, balance, and overall motor control. It's a great way to add accessory movements after performing heavy lifts.
Here's a great bicep movement that also works the lower body stabilizers. Essentially you're simply holding a lunge position which makes it very difficult to perform curls in this position as it forces the lifter to be very smooth and also tilts them over slightly creating greater tension in the contracted position. It's nearly impossible to cheat on this and any use of momentum will cause you to lose your balance. Try performing 5 reps on each leg.
The reverse band squat is an excellent squat variation that involves accommodating resistance. The allows the lifter to handle heavier weight as the bands help to de-load the hardest portion of the movement which is the bottom. Here's one of my football players performing it with very heavy weight.
Here's Ike one of my football players training for the NFL. If you're going to perform curls, doing them kneeling is a great way to target both the arms and core stability. This also forces the lifter to use very strict form as any rocking or cheating will throw you off the bench.
The farmers walk with chains is a great way to provide additional overload to the traps, upper back, core, and legs without further taxing the grip which is often times limiting factor. Here's a few of my NFL athletes performing it with 100 lb dumbbells and an additional 60 lbs of chains.
The reverse band bench press is an excellent chest movement that utilizes accommodating resistance via band assistance particularly during the stretched position. The bands provide little assistance at the top however at the bottom they provide slight weight release to allow the lifter to experience more constant tension throughout the full range of motion. This produces even greater gains in functional strength and size. Here's a few of my collegiate and NFL football players showing proper form with accentuated negatives (slow eccentrics), and pausing in the bottom position.
Here's one of my athletes crushing a 275 pound push press while maintaining control in the top position. The push press is a great upper body strength training movement for the shoulders, traps, upper back, triceps, core, and stabilizers. It's also an excellent full body speed and power movement.
This tuck jump series is a great plyometric protocol for increasing jump performance, speed, power, and explosiveness, as well as body control. Here's a few of my NFL combine athletes showing how it's done.
Here's NFL defensive end Jarius Wynn performing a very unique exercise I recently came up with to teach motor control, technique, tightness, and proper deadlifting and squat mechanics. It's also highly taxing on the surrounding musculature of the body including the legs, core, back, shoulders and more and also produces a significant degree of oxygen depletion and heart rate elevation. If you're looking for a deadlift or squat variation to improve technique as well as a movement that acts as a conditioning tool, this one fits the bill.
Here's NFL defensive end jarius Wynn working on core strength with the lying Pallof press. I've been working quite a bit with Jarius on improving core strength and his ability to stabilize his spine through enhanced core rigidity and full body tightness. This Pallof press variation is a great drill for addressing anti-rotation and rotary stability as the load really wants to rotate your body and shift it out of alignment.
The box jump and reverse depth drop is an excellent combination power movement that's excellent for improving jump performance, speed, and overall power output. The reverse depth drop is one of my favorite lower body deceleration drills as it places the body into a more hip dominant position compared to the typical depth drop going forward. As a result it's easier on the knees and reinforces optimal hinge mechanics. Here's a few of my NFL and college football players showing how it's done.
Here, I'm working with NFL wide receiver Larry Pinkard, coaching and assisting him through a great upper body power exercise that teaches acceleration and deceleration. This also wakes up all of the available fibers of the upper body as the level of recruitment needed to decelerate your body and absorb the high levels of force are significant.
Jarius Wynn, one of my NFL athletes, performing the singl- leg swap with a bumper plate. This one of my favorite single-leg swap variations as it simultaneously addresses strength deficits in the grip and hands as well as the feet and ankles. In addition this variation tends to have an immediate impact on improving balance and stability as the heightened activation of the hands and fingers produces concurrent activation potentiation (CAP). The CAP phenomenon simply describes a scenario where activation of the smallest muscles in the extremities increases neural drive throughout the entire body including activation to the core, spinal stabilizers, shoulders, hips and other muscles. As a result there’s improved balance and motor control due to increased activation of stabilizers as well as immediate reduction in energy leaks.
Here, NFL Defensive End, Jarius Wynn, performs banded good mornings. Good mornings combined with accommodating resistance are a great exercise for targeting the glutes and hamstrings while minimizing stress to the low back as the bar is deloaded towards the bottom of the movement.
Here's one of my football guys working on the band-resisted bench press. The bands provide a unique form of accommodating resistance by creating greater and greater tension as you drive the weight up. It also produces a strong sling-shot effect forcing the lifter to absorb force and decelerate the load.
The yielding isometric overhead press variation is a great pressing movement for teaching the lifter how to control the eccentric phase of the lift as it forces the lifter to pause at the mid-point of the eccentric/negative lowering phase of the movement before reaching the bottom. In this video, NFL defensive end Jarius Wynn performs these with excellent form.
Here's a few of the NFL players I've had the opportunity to work with while partnering with Georgia Sports Performance, included in this video Fernando Velasco and Cordy Glenn. Here I have them performing a single arm weighted plank to improve core stability, ant-rotation, spinal alignment, rotary stability, and improved postural control.
Here's NFL defensive end Jarius Wynn performing partner resisted or manual accelerated kettlebell swings. The intensity of the deceleration forces, eccentric overload, and force absorption required during this movement is incredibly high making it an extremely effective drill for the entire posterior chain. If you need something to wake up your glutes and hamstrings as well as your postural muscles or if you simply need an exercise to work on force absorption and power output then this one fits the bill.
Here I have NFL linebacker performing barbell curl with chains. This provides accommodating resistance and constant tension so that as he curls the weight up to a stronger position (top position) he's lifting more weight due to more total chains elevating off the floor. If you're looking for an arm exercise to crush your biceps, produce increased arm growth and hypertrophy, and improve your arm strength you'll want to give this a go
Here I have NFL linebacker Adrian Hubbard performing barbell skull crushers with chains. This provides accommodating resistance and constant tension so that as he drives the weight up to a strong position he's lifting more weight due to more total chains elevating off the floor. If you're looking for an arm exercise to crush your triceps, produce increased arm growth and hypertrophy, and improve your bench press strength you'll want to give this a go.
Here's one of my NFL athletes Fernando Velasco performing a unique loaded carry variation that's excellent for core stability, shoulder mobility, rotary stability, postural alignment, shoulder stability, motor control, and full body strength.
Here’s a great lower body and posterior chain superset combo demonstrated by two of my NFL athletes Fernando Velasco and Jarius Wynn. I had them use the rack pull with chains to amp up the nervous system and produce post activation potentiation allowing them to create high levels of power output and motor unit recruitment on the lighter The Zercher squats. The accommodating resistance on both exercises allows for greater overload at the top of the movements (the strongest position), while deloading the weaker bottom position. Besides reinforcing high power output and hip drive this combination is extremely effective for producing size and strength gains throughout the entire body. The rack pulls crush the upper back, low back, traps, glutes and grip, while the Zercher squat emphasize the quads, glutes, hamstrings, shoulders, biceps, upper back, and anterior core. We used a protocol of 4x4 on each movement as the goal was a combination of power, strength, and hypertrophy.
Here's one of my NFL athletes Jarius Wynn performing reverse band deadlifts by using accommodating resistance. In essence the bands assist the lifter at the bottom of the movement allowing them to use heavier weight while maintaining high levels of power output. It's also excellent for producing hypertrophy and functional size as the lifter is able to handle very heavy loads in the strongest positions.
Tucking the elbows on pushups can be difficult for some individuals to implement. Although pushups on rings, stability balls, and pushup handles typically improves this issue, the close grip variation (hands 4-10 inches apart) is one of the most effective variations for teaching proper scapular positioning, elbow tuck, lat activation, and shoulder packing. It’s also a superior and suitable substitute for diamond pushups as the diamond or triangular hand placement tends to promotes elbow flare, scapular elevation, and internal rotation due to the hands rotating inward to create the diamond figure. Incorporating a straight finger position in conjunction with a close grip reinforces proper glenohumeral joint positioning rather than impairing it. Here’s an example of how I use it with Minnesota Vikings quarterback Taylor Heinicke to prep him for the intense demands of the NFL season.
Here's a few of my NFL athletes including Green Bay Packers Adrian Hubbard and Larry Pinkard demonstrating close grip floor press with chains. Between the weight on the bar as well as the chains the total weight is well over 300 lbs. The close grip floor press using accommodating resistance in the form of chains is one of the most effective tricep and chest builders there is.
Looking for a movement that promotes full body stabilization especially around the scapula and glenohumeral joint then you'll want to give this bottoms-up eccentric isometric overhead press variation with partner perturbation a try. Here I'm having Minnesota Vikings quarterback Taylor Heinicke perform this on an active recovery day to promote increased proprioception, stability, motor control, mobility, blood flow, and functional shoulder strengthening to prep him for the upcoming season. I've used quite a few bottoms-up exercise with Taylor to enhance function and strength after several injuries he sustained during his college career. These have been vital in maximizing his performance, shoulder health, and ability to continue crushing the heavy iron all while being able to avoid surgery and other invasive treatments. Whether you're a throwing athlete or simply looking for a movement to improve function, stability, and strength this one's great for adding in either as a dynamic warmup before heavy upper body movements, in between heavy training days as a form of active recovery, or at the end of a workout to act as a functional finisher. Performing these seated on a ball requires greater innervation to the surrounding core musculature, hips, and feet and ankles making it an excellent full body activation drill. As an added bonus, the high levels of tension created while holding an occluded stretch produce heightened levels of mechanical tension and metabolic stress both of which are critical factors for promoting functional size and muscle hypertrophy.
Looking for an exercise to fix ankle pronation, fallen arches, flat feet, valgus ankle collapse, external rotation of the feet, and general weakness in the feet, ankles, toes, and hips, then you'll want to give this single leg Pallof press a try. Here's a few of the NFL and collegiate football players I work with demonstrating it including Minnesota Vikings quarterback Taylor Heinicke. Not only does it address issues in the foot and ankle complex but it also works on core stabilization, anti rotation, rotary stability, balance, scapular stabilization, spinal alignment, and postural control. Essentially this is a combination of anti-rotation for the upper torso and hips but anti-pronation and anti-valgus collapse of the lower extremities. If you fail to resist the valgus forces you'll lose balance by falling inward. This forces the individual to supinate their feet and grip into the floor aggressively. As a result you'll almost immediately witness the arches of the feet begin to re-form as a flat foot and fallen-arch position makes the movement feel almost impossible. To perform this simply hold a standard Pallof press position however lift the inside leg and keep the outside leg planted on the floor while maintaining proper posture. Both feet should be inline with each other and the body should not rotate or deviate laterally. Hold for 30 seconds then switch sides by facing the opposite direction to work the opposite leg. The movement can also be modified by standing on the inside leg for individuals who demonstrate excessive supination or overly high arches although this is a fairly rare issue. All variations of the single leg Pallof press can be performed with resistance bands or with a standard cable column.
Performing hang cleans from an eccentric isometric RDL position is a great movement for improving technique, mobility, hip mechanics, hip extension, power output, sensory feedback, and muscle function for all athletes and lifters. The same principle can be applied to snatches as well.
Here's a great plyometrics drill for improving power, jump performance, acceleration, deceleration, agility, lateral stability, force absorption, body control, speed, and explosive capabilities.