Sunday, September 21, 2008

LT's In-Depth Workout Interview

Cowboys Ware tries to wrap up Chargers Tomlinson

Currently, Ladainian Tomlinson is injured, but I bet you by week 5 he'll be up and running and everyone will forget about the beginning of the season which is pretty much what happened last season. So if everything follows through Darren Sproles will be on a different team next year scoring three touchdowns in his first game as a starter. Anyway, if you remember any of our posts on LT you'll know that LT is so secretive about his workout that he even got ESPN to remove a video that they shot of LT working out on this huge mountain at his home. Luckily, CBS didn't do the same. So today we got our hands on an interview LT did along time ago with Eastbay, where he goes into further detail about his training methods:

What are some drills you do to increase your speed?

There are various drills I do. One is a drill with a parachute. Or, using a resistance band I pull my partner as I'm sprinting, no more than 40 yards at a time. I also run hills and stairs — or stadium steps, if you will. All those things increase my speed.

What is the importance of stretching and flexibility in preventing injury?

The more flexible you are, the more you're able to stay on the field. You don't get injured as much if you're flexible because as a football player, you get hit and twisted in all different angles...you get some brutal hits sometimes. So, the more flexible you are the better off you'll be. That's very, very important if you're going to play sports in any game whether it's basketball, soccer, track and field. Whatever it may be, you need to incorporate stretching into your workouts.

How often do you incorporate stretching into your workouts?

Every day! Every day you have to do some form of stretching. Even days you don't work out, you have to take at least 15-20 minutes to stretch. Stretching is something you can do at home, by yourself. It's something that an athlete needs to do to stay in shape.

At what point in your career did you really start training...hitting the weights, doing the sprints, really making it a point to work out?

I played sports all my life, so I've been lifting weights and working out because my coach has always told me to. I started training on my own during my junior year of high school. That's when I really took it upon myself to train alone after practice. After basketball practice was done, I'd go hit the stadium steps by myself, I'd run hills by myself...different things like that. That's when I really started.

What do you think are the key attributes of a great running back?

I think you must have really great vision. First off, with a running back, the biggest thing is vision. You must have vision to be able to see the holes...you must be able to see things that other people don't see. Marcus Allen told me that a running back is an artist. He paints his own picture. That is so true because you never can explain how you run a football or what you do when you run a football.

Is there anything you can do to work on your vision? What things can you do to practice your vision?

There are things you can do — different ball drills to help hand and eye coordination; exercises you can do to help just the hand and eye coordination and picking up. My trainer used a ball for practice. I'd close my eyes and he would tell me when to open them...he would drop the ball and I would have to hurry and find the ball. That's one exercise you can do to improve your vision.

Another thing is, watching you up there, a lot of these drills work on first-step explosion so you can time hitting those gaps. What are some things you can do to work on that first step?

Things like pilate's, jump rope, and things that work on explosion or even the first couple steps of working on exploding up steps or up a hill. All that works on explosion of the first step.

How important is quickness and being able to operate in tight spaces? What can you do to get better at that?

Quickness is very important. There is a difference between being quick and being fast. Quickness is being able to move very quickly in tight spaces. The thing you can work on is just doing different drills like foot drills with ladders that are on the field or cone drills. Do different things that work on building up that quickness in your feet.

Another importance is being able to keep running after taking that first hit. What can you do to keep running and how important is it in being able to stay on your feet?

I think building up leg strength, as far as squatting and calf raises, is important. There are also different drills you can do on the football field, wearing pads, such as running through a gauntlet drill. Outside the football field you can work with a medicine ball to strengthen your balance. Activities like that really help you keep your balance after taking that first hit.

What do you do in order to keep from fumbling? What kind of stuff do you work on?

First, you have to be conscious of how you're carrying the football. Any time the ball gets away from your body — when you don't have the ball tucked in your body any more — you're prone to be stripped by a defender. What you want to do is keep that ball tucked against your chest. That's how you guard against fumbling. If you keep that ball tucked into your chest very tightly, it's very hard for a defender to come and strip it away.

Do you do anything to work on your hand strength?

There are different drills you can do at home. Get a simple tennis ball or anything like that and just work on squeezing it...just squeezing it over and over, building the strength in the hands. You can work on different weight room drills such as gripping and strengthening your hands.

What about balance. How important is balance as a running back and what are some things you can do to work on balance?

Balance is very important. Many times, running backs are just naturally blessed with balance. There are activities you can work on to help with your balance such as the medicine ball, plyometrics, even yoga can help you with your balance.

How has barefoot training helped you as an athlete?

I think barefoot training has helped me a lot as far as getting my feet stronger. When you talk about balance, that, as well as having very strong feet, is something that's needed. The Nike Free shoe is designed for barefoot training and can help with your balance and strengthen your feet.

[via Eastbay.com]

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