Nestled beneath the stadium seats at Crespi Carmelite High School in Encino, California, is a bunker-style weight room, which is the scene of one of the most punishing workouts in all of high school football.
The sloped walls and tight floor space make it difficult for players to navigate the weight room, and workouts are divided into indoor and outdoor stations to allow enough space to complete lifts.
But everyone packs into the weight room for the Countdown Drill.
Instituted in 1992, the Countdown Drill is a series of Crunches and Push-Ups performed in unison with a partner. The group first completes each exercise for 16 reps—representing the number of games it takes to win a California state championship—then repeats the sequence in descending fashion all the way down to a single rep.
Beyond the muscular endurance benefits, the primary objective of the Countdown Drill is to solidify the bonds of brotherhood that have come to define the Crespi football program.
Coach Troy Thomas says, “If you can look at your brother and try to get him through it, I think guys forget about their own pain and their own load that they’re trying to carry, and they try to carry their brother’s load. That’s life. We’re trying to teach that lesson.”
Joining the Celts for their first Countdown Drill of summer workouts were Arizona Cardinals defensive backs Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu. The DB duo played together at LSU and are a living testament to the bonds of brotherhood.
Mathieu told the Celts, “Everything you do not only benefits you personally, but it benefits the guy next to you. Once you form a habit and get into a routine, that’s who you become. You become your brother’s keeper.”
Watch Peterson and Mathieu take part in the Countdown Drill in the video above.
See how other elite high school football teams prepare for Friday Night at Preparation Nation.