With more NFL teams adopting a faster "college-style" offense, players on both sides of the ball must adapt to a faster game. Teams are running more plays with a faster tempo. And the off-seasons are getting shorter.
In the past, players went to training camp to get in shape. Now, players are expected to show up to camp already in shape. In fact, Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman garnered some headlines during the off-season when he made his players perform a conditioning test—on Day 1 of camp. The message was clear: Show up in shape and ready to train.
Luckily for us, the details of the conditioning test were made public. You can have your athletes perform it or try it yourself and see how your conditioning level stacks up against NFL players.
The 300-Yard Shuttle Run
For this test, you need 50 yards of running room.
- Start at the goal line.
- Run to the 50-yard line. Touch the line.
- Run back to the goal line. Touch the line.
- Perform the down-and-back sequence three times for a total of 300 yards.
- Rest for two minutes.
- Repeat the 300-yard sequence.
- Rest for two minutes and repeat the 300-yard sequence once more.
The goal is to complete each of your three Shuttle Runs under a certain time based on the position you play. Here are the time targets Trestman uses:
Position Players: complete each Shuttle Run in 58 seconds or less.
Small Linemen: complete each Shuttle Run in 64 seconds or less.
Big Linemen: complete each Shuttle Run in 68 seconds or less.
Here are a few things you may notice:
- The first Shuttle Run won't be too bad. If you've got decent speed and you're in any kind of shape, you should be able to finish in 58 seconds without much trouble.
- The two-minute rest period passes more quickly than you might expect.
- The second Shuttle Run is rough, but doable. The third Shuttle Run separates the men from the boys. At that point, your lungs are burning and your legs are gassed. This is where your true level of conditioning will become obvious.
Don't feel bad if you don't pass the test. Not all of the Chicago Bears did either.
Here's the good news: Unlike strength (which takes a long time to build and improve), you can improve your conditioning level rather quickly. Perform this conditioning test three times per week on non-consecutive days. By the sixth time you take the test (within two weeks), you'll be amazed at how much you've improved.
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