Fitness Corner: Pro Days


Assistant strength and conditioning coach and speed expert Duane Carlisle shares the kinds of activities that draft prospects will be participating in at their upcoming Pro Days. Prior to joining the 49ers, Carlisle spent 13 years training college athletes and preparing them to perform at their utmost potential for the tests and drills below. In case you are wondering just how important these skills are, the going training rate is anywhere from $500-1,500 per week with most players beginning their training at the conclusion of their college seasons.

*Over the next 6 weeks, players across the country will be performing various athletic fitness tests and position-specific drills for the 32 NFL teams. For players who did not perform well in a particular test at the NFL Combine, they will have an opportunity to redeem themselves in the eyes of NFL personnel at their respective College Pro Day. Below, is a list of test of some of the tests administered at virtually every Pro Day throughout the country. *

40 Yard Dash
In an actual game are offensive linemen ever asked to run straight ahead for 40 yards without getting touched? Rarely! However, the 40 remains the highlight of the combine/pro day regardless of position. The 40 is actually comprised of several different phases; the stance, start, first step, acceleration, maximal velocity and the finish. Each phase must be perfected to obtain optimal results, and as every phase is mastered, there exists opportunities to lower one's time.

40 times are split into 10 and 20 times as well, and all three appear on the final report. (A disaster here cannot be salvaged by success in the other events.)

• All Players

225 Pound Bench Press
The real measure of a football player's functional playing strength? No, this test measures muscular endurance and competitiveness. Maximizing one's bench not only requires strength but meticulous technique.

• Quarterbacks and Wide Receivers exempt

Vertical Jump
Yes, we are talking about the NFL not the NBA, but this is another critical test, as it is believed to measure an athlete's "explosiveness." The test is a coordinated skill involving a rapid exchange between eccentric and concentric actions culminating with an accurate "touch" for maximum height. Proper foot and arm placement and timing body descent are the keys to a good jump.

• All Players

Broad Jump
Another event thought to be a measure of an athlete's "explosive power." Here again, technique reigns supreme. In order to maximize performance, athletes must learn proper stance, arm swing, weight shift flight mechanics and landing technique to maximize distance.

• All Players

20 Yard Shuttle
There are a few teams that view this event as more important than the 40 as it is more reflective of the lateral movement critical to the game. Here practice, coupled with proper technique, makes perfect.

• All Players

3 Cone Drill
A relative newcomer to the combine replacing the old "4-cone" or "box" agility drill, this event also has its admirers. By far the most complicated drill, proper execution is the key to a good time. Athletes must learn optimal start position, change-of-direction, touch and finish techniques.

• All Players

60 Yard Shuttle
The only real endurance event (225 bench excluded) the 60 requires its share of time and attention. Athletes must exhibit optimal start, change-of-direction, touch and finish techniques. (Far from the most important event, but not one to be neglected either. A bad time here may be viewed as having a bad attitude, in failing to prepare or show up out of shape.)

• Quarterbacks, Offensive and Defensive Linemen exempt

Position Drills
Each position also has its own set of required drills that are usually administered by a coach.

To have a question answered by our head strength coach Johnny Parker, please email Parker at

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