In our third installment of the training methods behind the past week’s highlight-worthy plays, we move to the defensive side of the ball with Detroit Lions rookie Ndamukong Suh. On Sunday, he recorded two monster sacks in a span of three plays in the second quarter.
Constant double teams and several blatant holds couldn’t contain Suh. And when he didn’t reach the quarterback on the Lions’ standard four-man rush, his fellow linemen did—to the tune of five more sacks and a total of 12 hits on Redskins quarterbacks (starter Donovan McNabb was yanked from the game due to his ineffective play). Oh, and did we forget to mention that Suh scored on a fumble recovery late in the fourth quarter to secure a Lions’ victory?
Those three game-changing plays have one thing in common: Suh never stops driving his legs. He uses his legs to drive around, past and through offensive linemen, and keeps pumping those legs to bring the quarterback down for a sack. His fierce drive, combined with a tremendous motor, allows Suh to completely dominate his opponents.
Before he fires up the engine for the NFL season, Suh does plenty of fine-tuning to develop his extraordinary base of power and endurance. He accomplishes this by performing a strength and explosive power combo consisting of Heavy Barbell Shrugs, Rack Deadlifts, Hang Cleans and Non-Countermovement Box Jumps.
The ultimate benefit of performing the power combo is developing explosive power through the hips, which helps produce maximum force, and in Suh’s case, an explosive first step off the line of scrimmage for a chance to drive through a quarterback.
For the power combo, perform the Barbell Shrug immediately followed by the Rack Deadlift. Once completed, perform the Hang Clean and Non-Countermovement Box Jump in superset fashion.
- Keeping arms straight, shrug shoulders toward ears
- Lower shoulders to start position and repeat for specified reps
Coaching Points: Perform using heavy weight // Keep core tight // Do not pause at top or bottom of movement
- Position bar on rack safety pegs at knee height
- Perform Deadlift, bringing hips through in one fluid motion
- Lower bar to start position on rack and repeat for specified reps
Coaching Points: Use hips to initiate movement // Keep core tight
- Grip bar slightly wider than athletic stance
- Holding bar slightly above knees, explode up by forcefully shrugging shoulders and fully extending hips, knees and ankles
- Pull bar up, keeping it close to chest
- Drop under and catch bar along front of shoulders, landing in athletic stance with knees slightly bent
- Slowly return to start position and repeat for specified reps
Coaching Points: Work for hip extension // Move bar as quickly and explosively as possible
Non-Countermovement Box Jump
- Assume athletic quarter-squat position with arms at sides
- Without lowering further into squat or cocking arms back, drive through ground to explode up onto box
- Step down slowly and return to start position
- Repeat for specified reps
Coaching Points: Don’t lower into squat or use backward arm movement to load jump // Land softly on box with knees bent // Step down off box; do not jump or hop to ground
Stay tuned throughout the football season as we continue to highlight the training that powers the extraordinary plays you witness each and every Sunday.