When training athletes for the NFL Combine, strength coaches leave no stone unturned. They analyze everything, from the most minute detail to overall athleticism, working to make football players more powerful, efficient and durable.
One area that gets a lot of attention is the core, as it rightfully should.
The NFL Combine involves tests such as the 40-Yard Dash, Vertical Jump and Bench Press. On the surface, these tests might not appear to be core-reliant—certainly not like a max Plank hold.
However, when you consider the core’s function, you reach a different conclusion. A strong core allows the limbs to move powerfully, freely and in control. A weak core results in energy leaks, which sap critical power from these essential skills.
For example, let’s consider the 40-Yard Dash. As a football player sprints, a strong core allows him to maintain proper form throughout, maximizing the amount of force he puts into the ground with each stride for a faster sprint. If his core is weak, his torso may sway from side to side, wasting force that should be going into the ground.
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A strong core is even more important for the Bench Press. A lot of Bench Press strength comes from driving through the legs. This energy is transferred up through the body and into the bar. A strong core improves this critical aspect of the Bench.
While observing NFL prospects preparing for the 2016 NFL Combine at EXOS Los Angeles, we saw players perform a core circuit that will enhance these critical skills under the guidance of performance coach Timothy Hicks.
The circuit included three variations of Bench Iso Holds. Half of the athlete’s body hangs off the bench, forcing him to use his core to hold what’s essentially a plank position. Performed in different positions, this effectively trains each side of the core.
In the video above, you can see Sheldon Rankins, defensive tackle from Louisville, perform the circuit with the help of a partner. Perform each version for 1-2 sets of 30 seconds.
Bench Iso Back Holds
Bench Iso Side Holds
Bench Iso Leg Holds
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