After an intense three-day mini camp, the players were right back at it this week with the 49ers off-season strength and conditioning program led by Johnny Parker and Duane Carlisle.
"Even though mini camp just wrapped up, our players are still going strong," said Carlisle. "In fact, our attendance for our off-season workouts was 85% which is unusually high especially the week after a strenuous mini-camp."
The focus this week was on using Elastic Tubing for Position Specific speed training workouts. Elastic Tubing is used to provide resistance when running which helps players develop more functional strength or assistance training and allows a player to move their legs faster, thus enabling them to enhance their burst and acceleration.
The circle belt which was covered earlier this off-season in Fitness Corner, attaches to the tubing and allows a player to perform the various movements that their position demands. Where players have used the circle belts with ropes to do straight ahead training in past weeks, the elastic tubing used this week allowed for multi-directional exercises.
The position specific drills featured a busy field three for this week's 8:30am group as each players worked their way down a card filled with a list of exercises specified for their positions.
Off to the far right of the field, tight ends Billy Bajema and Eric Johnson and fullback Zac Keasey's movements featured sprints with spins. On the opposite hashmarks, linebackers Brandon Moore and Jeff Ulbrich and odd-man-out quarterback Alex Smith worked a shuffle drill. Sandwiched in the middle were defensive backs Mike Adams, Mike Rumph and BJ Tucker who worked on back pedal drills with receivers Otis Amey, Derrick Hamilton, Marcus Maxwell, and Rasheed Marshall running routes and getting in and out of their cuts – all with a teammate anchoring them with resistance.
"They are very difficult drills to do but all in all it's helping us get better for the season and helping us prepare for training camp," said Moore.
One of the keys to maximizing a player's performance while using Elastic Tubing is to ensure that a player's natural running speed is either increased no more than 10% when doing assistance training and no less than 10% when performing resistance training. Finding that balance was one of the biggest challenges according to Moore.
"Shuffling away from the resistance is obviously hard because you are pulling that weight, but coming back to it, it actually aids you so the biggest challenge is to maintain your balance and get your mind and your body to work in the same direction," said Moore.
Carlisle of course saved the toughest drill for last, "The Viper."
"You are hooked up to two teammates and they both have resistance cords and so you are getting resisted in every direction that you are moving," explained Moore. "There are three cones that are numbered and you sprint to whatever numbered cone that your teammate yells out and then back pedal back to the starting point. You have some serious leg burn after that's all said and done."
Leg burn is something that Moore and Ulbrich are both well accustomed to after playing for linebackers coach Mike Singletary for a full season.
"Coach makes it as hard on us as he wants to make it," said Moore. "The only thing you can do is strengthen your mind because it's psychological warfare with him out there so we try to push ourselves in our workouts to really extend our body limit and be prepared for practices."
As for Smith, he earned the nod of approval from the workout warriors in Moore and Ulbrich.
"He handled the shuffle drill like a real champ," said Moore.
For more training tips from Carlisle, the president and founder of Lighting Fast Training Systems, visit his website at www.speed4football.com