Advice From A Pro: How to Train for Football, NFL Combines, & More

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Last modified on Friday, 24 August 2012 20:48

    We sat down with ex-division one and pro football player Todd DeLamielleure for insight and advice through interviews and football workouts. Todd DeLamielleure is now a firefighter and a personal trainer and fitness instructor for athletes on all levels. He works out pro athletes, house moms, and teenagers. In this segment Todd sits down with us in an interview on a wide array of topics that will help you better understand playing pro football and what you can expect in terms of processes and events. The former linebacker stand out played for Duke in college, played a fifth year at Hofstra, and has played on the professional level in the NFL here in the states and overseas. He not only has the knowledge from the linebacker game, but he also has a great perspective on what it takes to make it and how to approach every situation on your quest to reaching the highest level! Todd now works with his father, pro football hall of famer Joe DeLamielleure, whose company, JOE D BANDS, sells advanced training gear and tools along with training material for athletes of all levels.




Football Video Transcription:  There are athletes out that sit on the couch, everybody knows an athlete out there that like this. An athlete who is blessed with athletic ability and doesn’t have to train for it. I would say that I was blessed with some athletic ability, but I trained hard and I worked on it a lot, and a lot of it came from my father who was a former pro athlete. He was working out all the time, and I soon found myself doing the same things that he did.


In terms of advice relevant to other kids, I'd say don't lift weights to lift more weights. So should you lift weights everyday? Look at your goals, you're not a power lifter, you're an athlete. So, a baseball player, you do not need to be benching heavy and doing all this stuff, if you are a football player, the same thing applies, you do not want to do the same things that are not helping you become a better football player, football workouts. So, you waste your time in my opinion. You obviously need strength, and all that stuff, but, if you're getting to a point where you are lifting a 400 pound bench press and yet you have no stamina and you have no lateral movement ability, then it is pointless. You have to be specific in what your goals are and what you're trying to achieve. In most cases, your goal is not to lift more weights, it is to be a better player in football games.


I had some injuries because I was extremely strong. I won our weight room award at Duke for being the strongest guy in the weight room, But I came down with some injuries and a lot of it was that I was so strong in the bench press and on stuff that I lifting weights like that, that I began having shoulder injuries which I attribute to being, and I know this sounds crazy, but I attribute my injuries to being too strong. I didn't have good range of motion, or flexibility, so I reiterate the point that you need to train and do what you got to do to be the best football player that you can be, and not work out to be the best weight lifter that you can be because you improve in the weight room but you perform on the football field. So should you lift weights everyday? Work to be the best football player you can be everyday.



When people ask me about pro football, the best way that I can explain it is that comparing the talent of players in camp, there are ten players that are head and shoulders above everybody else, they are the Peyton Manning's, and the Drew Brees’s, and the Reggie Bush's, the guys that are unbelievable. Dwight Freeney was the guy, who when I was in camp, he was the guy you were just blown away by how great of an athlete he was. But, then there are really probably fifty players where they could change their jerseys around and there's absolutely no difference. I mean, everybody's right there on the same level. Everybody is good and football player is almost interchangeable. So, when you get to that level and you are not an elite draft pick, you just do not get that many opportunities. If you are on third team you are going to get maybe three, or four snaps in a preseason game, or practice. So, you have to take advantage of those. And it is just, you just have to be at the right place at the right time. If you are just stuck behind players, let’s say that you are twelfth on the depth chart and a third string linebacker, you might not get a look and you might be great. That happened, I couldn't believe some of the guys you would see getting cut who really never got a shot and then you would see guys who were in their eighth or ninth year, and you would be like what this guy? Again, I am not saying that they stink but you are thinking I am as good if not better than this guy and here he is in his eighth year. So, that's kind of how it goes.



With NFL Europe, NFL Europe is mostly American footballs players that are the last guys to get cut from an NFL roster and are trying to get another opportunity. So, it is competitive because these are the guys who were trying to basically have a second chance, you are just hoping to get a second chance. And culture wise it was weird, it was like being in training camp, but for the entire season.



As far as fast twitch and all that stuff. Just, what I always thought is I'd rather be at 80% for 100 plays, rather than 100% percent at five plays. You don't be great out of the gate and you stink in the fourth quarter. But you have to be specific to your sport. Football is about 3 to 4 seconds an average play. So, a lot of players are just now training that way. Where you are going as hard as you can for 5 to 10 seconds, then you are recovering for 30 or 40 seconds, which is typical of football game. So, if you can get yourself in that type of physical condition, you're going to play better on the football field.



I got picked to play in the Blue Gray game, which they don't have anymore. Now, they have the Senior Bowl, but the Blue Gray game was like the thing to be picked for in college football division one AA. If you got into that, then you are excited. But, you were also like man they are at least looking at me for the next level. So, luckily I was able to play in that and I had a great game. I got defensive MVP for the North team in that game. Then you have agents who call you and all that stuff. And so now it is almost the same process as you went through in high school, where your ego gets in the way a little bit, you get a big head and you are thinking oh yea, I have a couple agents looking at me. But, It doesn't mean, I mean it is the same thing you just need to keep your goals in your head of what you're trying to accomplish and find somebody that's going to help you get there.



In terms of combines, I will say from that experience that speed is everything. If you can gain 10 pounds of muscle but you slow down, then it is not worth it. Be as fast as you can be, because I got up to 245 pounds out of college was running high 4.7 seconds, which was not great. A lot of guys will say oh I ran 4.4 secs, but there are not a lot of 4.4 seconds 40 meter runners and if you watched the combine and all that, there are not that many 4.4 40m sprints with linebackers. Anyway, I got up to 245 and I lost a step. Then, I signed with the Indianapolis Colts, and the first thing that they said is we need you as fast as you can be, I lost weight and got down to 230 pounds, But the ship had sailed, so to speak, I got quicker and faster with speed but I blew a big opportunity, I thought production wise that I had a chance to be drafted and I didn’t have good combine numbers in terms of my speed so I would give the advice if you get to that level be as fast as you can be and don’t worry about size because that is honestly not the thing that they're looking for.



The NFL combine, you will do a 225 pound bench press for as many reps as you can do you. Next, you will perform a number of agility drills that they time you on. Next, you do the 40 meter sprint but it is broken down into the 10 meter sprint, the 20 meter sprint, and the 40 meter sprint so that they can measure your quickness as well as your speed. You do a broad jump for explosion, a vertical jump for explosion and I think that is it. And then they put you through position specific drills, the offensive players will do their drills, the D-lineman will do d-lineman drills, but what I spoke of earlier is the core workouts that you do at an NFL football combine.



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