Football fan or not, you can draw some workout motivation from the annual NFL combine. For four grueling days, prospective football players are put through an array of fitness tests and drills to gauge their potential in the league. The camp is nothing short of inspiring and intimidating.
While you may not be a prospective professional athlete, that doesn't mean you can't take some train cues from them. Many of the drills these players use make for a great high intensity interval training (HIIT) workout. Try this 30-minute NFL combine-inspired HIIT session designed by Matt Cheng, CSCS.
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NFL Combine-Inspired HIIT Workout
By alternating between intervals of high intensity and rest, HIIT kicks your heart into high gear, burning lots of calories in a short amount of time. It can be intense, which is why so many of the combine drills include a form of it. After all, there's a reason these athletes perform and look the way they do.
This combine-inspired workout starts with a five-minute warm-up jog, but you can also perform any dynamic stretches you want to prep your body for some high-intensity intervals.
Do: each exercise for as many reps as possible with good form for 2 minutes. Then, follow it up with a one-minute rest interval.
Warm-Up: Treadmill Jog
- Start with a light jog on the treadmill. Run at a conversational pace for 5 minutes.
Move 1: Inchworm to Push-Up
- Stand with feet hip-width apart, arms at your sides.
- Fold forward and place your hands on the ground.
- Keeping your hips up in the air, walk your hands out until you're in high plank. Your palms should be beneath your shoulders and your body in one straight line from head to heels.
- Perform a push-up, bending your elbows at about a 45-degree angle from your ribs. Lower your body until you're hovering an inch or two above the ground.
- Press back into a high plank.
- Keeping your knees elevated, walk your palms back to your toes and return to standing.
Move 2: Stationary Alternating Lateral Lunge
- Stand with your feet wider than hip-width apart.
- Keeping your left leg straight, bend your right knee until it's at a 90-degree angle.
- With your left arm, reach down to your right ankle.
- Press into your right heel and return to standing, both legs straight.
- Then, repeat the motion on your left leg.
- Alternate from left to right.
As you perform this exercise, sit back into the hips as you shift your weight left to right, Cheng says. Look only for a mild stretch on the straight leg and avoid pulling too much.
Move 3: Alternating Lunge and Twist
- Stand with your feet at hip-width apart, arms at your sides.
- Keep your left leg rooted and step several feet back with your right leg.
- Place your hands behind your head and bend your left knee to 90 degrees.
- Bend your your right knee slightly until the knee hovers above the ground.
- As you lower toward the ground in your lunge twist your torso toward your left leg.
- Then, keeping a majority of weight in your left leg, return to standing, bringing your arms back to your sides.
- Repeat on the opposite side and alternate between legs.
As you perform this move, try to keep the knees in line with the toes and as you rotate, always go in the direction of the front leg, Cheng says.
Move 4: Alternating Inverted Hamstring to Ball Pass
- Begin standing with a medicine ball in your hands.
- Maintaining a flat back and straight arms, begin to lean forward and raise your right leg straight up behind you, rooting and slightly bending your left leg.
- Lean forward until your torso and right leg form a straight line parallel with the ground.
- Bounce the ball off the ground and catch it again.
- Holding the ball and keeping your body straight, balance on your left leg to return to standing.
- Repeat this move on the opposite leg, alternating between the two.
Move 5: Lateral Hops
- Place a ball or cone on the ground. Or stand next to a line on the floor with your feet close together, arms at your sides.
- Swing your arms behind you and then back up in front of your chest.
- Using the momentum from your arms, jump over the object or line.
- Then, rebounding quickly and swinging your arms again, jump back over to the other side.
- Hop back and forth as quickly as possible.
"Keep a light bend in the knees and imagine the floor is on fire," Cheng says. "The less time you spend on the ground, the better."
Move 6: Chin-Ups
- Begin standing below a chin-up bar. Hop up and grab the bar with palms facing you at about shoulder-width apart.
- Contract your core and exhale, driving your elbows toward the ground. Lift your body up until you're about eye level with the bar.
- Exhale and extend your arms fully.
Move 7: Barbell Bench Press
- Lie on a flat bench with a barbell sitting on a rack above you at eye level.
- Grab the bar slightly wider than shoulder width and take the bar off the rack, holding it above your chest, arms fully extended.
- On an inhale, bend at your elbows and lower the bar down to your chest.
- Exhale and press the bar straight back up over your chest.
Throughout this exercise, keep your chest up and elbows under your wrists.
Move 8: Box Jumps
- Place a 12-inch box on the ground about a foot in front of you.
- Swing your arms behind you and bend your knees. As your arms swing forward, use the momentum to jump up onto the box.
- With control, step back down off the box.