Training an Offensive Lineman for the NFL

Posted In: What Would You Do?

      • Mike Young
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        Mike Young on #11560

        Athlete: A collegiate offensive lineman.

        Scenario: This lineman was among the top 3 lineman in the country as a sophomore but was kicked off the team for violating team rules. He sat out his junior year and now wants to train for the NFL draft. His sophomore year play would have made him a top 20 pick in the draft but his year off has made his stock drop and he's now projected as a late second rounder. He didn't train much during the fall but his agent has come to you looking to prepare him for the draft. Your bonus is dependent on him returning to top 20 status. You have 3 months. Here are his current stats:

        • Height: 6'6" (2.0m)
        • Weight: 300 lb (137kg)
        • Body Fat: 22%
        • Bench Max: 400 lb
        • 225 Rep Test: 12
        • Power Clean: 315 lb
        • Squat Max: 430
        • Standing Long Jump: 2.7m
        • Vertical Jump: 28"
        • 40 yard: 5.1
        • 10 yard: 1.8
        • Has never tested any of the agility tests (shuttle, etc.)

        He needs to primarily be ready for the 10 yard, 40 yard, vertical jump, and bench rep max.

        Things to consider:

        *How do you train him?
        *What do you focus on?
        *How would his training progress over the next three months?

        ELITETRACK Founder

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        QUIKAZHELL on #50783

        Increase strength to weight ratio by dropping bodyfat and increasing lean mass. This is a sure way to improve his jumps and speed (fat dont fly) as well as his poor lifts for someone of his stature.
        However, the focus must be on building as much muscle as possible at the same time as losing fat. Reason being …this kid is a lineman!!!! He cannot afford to be any lighter than he already is in the NFL.

        More to come. I would first like to hear from others.

        Ohhhhhh, and one more thing. A 400 pound bench and 12 rep 225 doesnt match up. Something is wrong here. I'm not buying it. I have never seen such a thing. My roomate is 170 pounds and max bench is 290 and he can bang out 12 reps. My max bench is 335 and I can hit 18-20.

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        Daniel Andrews on #50784

        The poor boy needs muscular endurance, i'd start with bodybuilding circuits 4x a week for 8 weeks, and do accel work along with mobility/agility drills and plyos on the leg days.  The bodybuilding circuits would give him some needed muscular endurance work along with increasing his hormone profile and hopefully will reduce his bodyfat % and add muscle.  The last 4 weeks I would focus on maximizing strength and power as much as possible as well getting him into some kumrie and munoz drills to work on that all important kinestetic awareness and work on speed and plyos 2x a week. his 40 time and jumps indicate he has ability and don't need as much work as other aspects.

        Quik:  the 400 bench with a 12 rep 225 matches pretty well with untrained specimens.  Just the other day I couldn't lift 505 with deadlift for the first time in forever and hit 8 reps with 435 not a likely match either, just a lack of specific work.

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        utfootball4 on #50785

        [b]Athlete:[/b] A collegiate offensive lineman.

        [b]Scenario:[/b] This lineman was among the top 3 lineman in the country as a sophomore but was kicked off the team for violating team rules. He sat out his junior year and now wants to train for the NFL draft. His sophomore year play would have made him a top 20 pick in the draft but his year off has made his stock drop and he's now projected as a late second rounder. He didn't train much during the fall but his agent has come to you looking to prepare him for the draft. Your bonus is dependent on him returning to top 20 status. You have 3 months. Here are his current stats:

        [list]
        [li]Height: 6'6" (2.0m)[/li]
        [li]Weight: 300 lb (137kg)[/li]
        [li]Body Fat: 22%[/li]
        [li]Bench Max: 400 lb[/li]
        [li]225 Rep Test: 12[/li]
        [li]Power Clean: 315 lb[/li]
        [li]Squat Max: 430[/li]
        [li]Standing Long Jump: 2.7m[/li]
        [li]Vertical Jump: 28"[/li]
        [li]40 yard: 5.1[/li]
        [li]10 yard: 1.8[/li]
        [li]Has never tested any of the agility tests (shuttle, etc.)[/li]
        [/list]

        He needs to primarily be ready for the 10 yard, 40 yard, vertical jump, and bench rep max.
        [b]
        Things to consider:[/b]
        *How do you train him?
        *What do you focus on?
        *How would his training progress over the next three months?

        if you really look at his numbers they are not that bad the only thing that REALLY stands is the 225max and that is really easy to improve esp if he really bp 400+.. ONE THING I WOULD NOT DO IS CHANGE HIS TRAINING TO INCREASE OR DECREASE WEIGHT THAT SHOULD BE TAKING CARE WITH DIET CHANGES.

        I LIKE THIS ONE MIKE LET ME THINK ABOUT IT OVERNIGHT, VERY INTRESTING..

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        QUIKAZHELL on #50786

        The poor boy needs muscular endurance, i'd start with bodybuilding circuits 4x a week for 8 weeks, and do accel work along with mobility/agility drills and plyos on the leg days. The bodybuilding circuits would give him some needed muscular endurance work along with increasing his hormone profile and hopefully will reduce his bodyfat % and add muscle. The last 4 weeks I would focus on maximizing strength and power as much as possible as well getting him into some kumrie and munoz drills to work on that all important kinestetic awareness and work on speed and plyos 2x a week. his 40 time and jumps indicate he has ability and don't need as much work as other aspects.

        Quik: the 400 bench with a 12 rep 225 matches pretty well with untrained specimens. Just the other day I couldn't lift 505 with deadlift for the first time in forever and hit 8 reps with 435 not a likely match either, just a lack of specific work.

        Danimal your example is a bit different. I also doubt he is an untraine athlete since he was one of the top 3 lineman in the country. 225 is only 55% of 400. I do not believe that he could only do 12 reps. Maybe he did this on a bad day or something. And unless this is positvely what he can do then his max bench needs to be restested. Until this is definate I would not change this athletes program to strength endurance because as i said when you improve strength endurance improves. Typically the stronger you get in a 1rm the lighter 65% 75% 85% etc. will be comapred to your old max.
        I agree with UT  to an extent about changing his body comp through diet but still the focus would be too put on more muscle to make up for the lost wieght which he will need to play line at the next level. When he loses the fat and puts on the muscle his jumps and sprints will improve altough they are pretty good to being with.

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        Daniel Andrews on #50787

        I really think he has detrained since his sophomore year, and put him into an untrained state, was falls into that  "coulda, woulda, shoulda" category.  I would change the program to get the hormone profile a hypertrophy workout provides, but it also provides some specific endurance qualities that I think would prove beneficial as well.  That said I still leave 4 weeks to work on strength which should provide time for adaptability towards that end.  If you don't change his program he'll stay the same, the obvious thing here that I believe mike wants to portray is that his training is what needs changed.

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        utfootball4 on #50788

        just thinking since he has been out of the game for a yr i would really focus on his position drills/tech..

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        Daniel Andrews on #50789

        just thinking since he has been out of the game for a yr i would really focus on his position drills/tech..

        That's why i said I would do some kumrie and munoz drills.

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        utfootball4 on #50790

        yes u said the last 4 weeks, i would probably do them his whole visit..

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        Daniel Andrews on #50791

        Nah, I'd just stay with other low intensity plyo work in that time.

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        utfootball4 on #50792

        why low intensity. no need for the bb circuits

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        Daniel Andrews on #50793

        Sure there is, the low intensity plyos help work the SSC cycle still.  The whole theme of the first 8 weeks is increasing his capacity to do work.

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        utfootball4 on #50794

        i would have him lifting 4days per week hard so theres not room for bb circuits this is football not tf..

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        Daniel Andrews on #50795

        He'll be lifting hard, but a strength workout won't cut his BF% by building lean mass like a hypertrophy workout will.  He also won't have the specific endurance to build his 225 bench reps in an ordinary strength set up.  Actually, its a combine preparation, not just Football.  He has significant weaknesses that will be exposed under his current training setup or a max strength one.  His current strengths are above average for his position such as  10 & 40 time and VJ.  His weaknesses lie in that he can't bench 225 enough times (specific endurance) and his lack of agility testing (hence the lower intensity plyo work earlier on) and his BF% hence the hypertrophy work.  Then is no need to work specifically on force application and power development those areas he is fine in which are great for straight line speed and jumping, track and field type attributes.  I specifically stated he would be lifting 4x a week, but not a strength one.

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        utfootball4 on #50796

        He'll be lifting hard, but a strength workout won't cut his BF% by building lean mass like a hypertrophy workout will. He also won't have the specific endurance to build his 225 bench reps in an ordinary strength set up. Actually, its a combine preparation, not just Football. He has significant weaknesses that will be exposed under his current training setup or a max strength one. His current strengths are above average for his position such as 10 & 40 time and VJ. His weaknesses lie in that he can't bench 225 enough times (specific endurance) and his lack of agility testing (hence the lower intensity plyo work earlier on) and his BF% hence the hypertrophy work. Then is no need to work specifically on force application and power development those areas he is fine in which are great for straight line speed and jumping, track and field type attributes. I specifically stated he would be lifting 4x a week, but not a strength one.

        this is really simple, very simple…  I WILL NEVER CHANGE MY STRENGTH NOR SPEED PROTOCAL TO CHANGE BOBY COMP, HIS DIET WILL FIX THAT WITH  LOW GLYCEMIC CARBS AND LEAN PROTEIN.. his 225 is also very easy bc its not like he dont have max strength shizzle he bp 400+lbs so we just need to improve strength end or mus end which is very easy in this matter..

        250 pounds max number of times

        25 push-ups

        3:00 rest

        250 pounds max number of times

        25 push-ups

        3:00 rest

        225 max number of times

        25 push-ups

        2:00 rest

        225 max number of times

        25 push-ups

        155 max number of times

        25 push ups

        2:00 rest

        135 max number of times green bands

        25 push-ups

        OR

        MON:
        BP 1 REP MAX
        AUX LIFTS

        THUR:
        225X100REPS
        AUX LIFTS

        ALSO JUST BC HE NEVER PERFORM AGILITY DRILLS DOESNT MEAN HE CANT MOVE..

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        Daniel Andrews on #50797

        Diet will not work for 2 reasons his work capacity has to be increased, and cutting his dietary intake will inhibit his capacity to do work.  Increased workloads along with the hormonal response that will accompany them will do a better job of taking care of his BF% and his strength endurance.  You kill 2 birds with 1 stone here.  If you start with high intensity plyos and agility work with that size of human specimen you are asking for injuries.  Doing the low intensity work will help improve his work capacity as well, again killing 2 birds with 1 stone.  Ok, you can go ahead and copy someone elses 225 bench workout if you want, but I would use that workout as a test and not for 12 weeks straight, primarily because you have time for 2-3 mesocycles in this 12 week period.  So I set it up into 2 mesos.  The first one a strength-endurance one, the second an acceleration and max strength one.  If I saw improvement in the first 4 weeks, I would make the 2nd 4 weeks strength, and the last 4 explosive strength, but I don't think I can get the response he needs in 4 weeks.

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        utfootball4 on #50798

        i can tell u never played the game of football nor been a strength and conditioning coach.. I HAVE BEEN THERE.. YES I COPY THE WORKOUT FROM COACH GOUGH BC IT WORK FOR ME AND MANY OTHER ATHLETES.  WHEN YOU SEND ONE ATHLETE TO THE NFL COMBINE AND THEY BP 45REPS THEN PLZ LET ME KNOW..

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        Daniel Andrews on #50799

        You have to kidding me.  I am not getting into a childish argument here.  All I will say is this, I am taking the CSCS exam April 1, in Bloomington, IL take that for whatever its worth.  I have spent plenty of time on the football field although not at the D1 colliegate level. 

        Can you honestly tell me that my outlined plan for this hypothetical lineman won't work?  So now you are a CSCS?  I know quik and mike are, but you.  You are suggesting dietary restriction as way to improve performance.  This guy will need all the calories he can get in the 8 weeks of strength endurance work an increase in anabolic hormones will result of this building LBM which will help increase his RMR and will reduce his bodyfat while at the same time increase his capacity to do work.  Since the general theme of the first 8 weeks is strength endurance, doing lower intensity plyometrics matches up well with that along with reducing his chances for injury.  Without work capacity this guy will falter, no one wants a lineman who can play every 3 to 4 series, they want one who can sustain himself on a 12 play 80 yard drive.

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        utfootball4 on #50800

        Yes I am.

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        Daniel Andrews on #50801

        I am not saying what your CSCS does won't work, but this guy would be a project and you can't put him into a cookie cutter program designed for well trained and conditioned athletes and expect great results.

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        utfootball4 on #50802

        hey man i think we are saying the samething hes very weak in the 225 and what i am saying is that test is very easy to improve look at myself  i improve 12reps in about 6 weeks and my max that summer was about 365..

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        Daniel Andrews on #50803

        You're right, but I am not specifically looking at his bench.  I am also looking at his body composition which would be good at 17-18%, if his bench is weak in that area as a lineman I am almost certain he is lacking strength endurance in other areas as well specifically his legs and core which provide much stability and support in the bench press.  That's why I believe enhancing his overall work capacity and trying to reduce his BF thru increased LBM will do wonders for the guy, because I am looking down the line at how that will impact him doing football specific drills and plyos.  I typically hate any workout that is designed around hypertrophy, but in this instance it provides so many needed things.  With a track athlete I would be more inclined to do more general strength routines and tempo running to improve conditioning along with low intensity plyos, with a thrower I might be inclined to take the approach I stated.

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        utfootball4 on #50804

        but u also have to think once he get into that strict program of training and eating right he should nautally drop some bf bc he has been inactive..

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        Daniel Andrews on #50805

        There is no doubt to that, but I don't know if 12 weeks of typical combine prep work would be enough.  All I know is my bonus is based on his performance, and his habits haven't exactly panned out to give me the benefit of the doubt that he won't be sneaking a couple of steak and cheese sandwiches with a couple of large pizzas at night.

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        utfootball4 on #50806

        i understand but if u look at my combine schedule we do cardio stuff on wed and sat that should help also.. l

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        Todd Lane on #50807

        Far smarter and more football affiliated men than I have answered above.  Here's my thoughts for fun.

          2 week period of adaptation training because of limited fall training

        • Higher rep schemes, lower percentages
        • General acceleration work
        • 4 day split set up on lifting
        • 2 non days of lifting use as BW circuit days
          4 week period with an eccentric focus/static dynamic focus in weight room.  Weight room percentages for days fall  on opposite ends of force/velocity curves

        • A day or two of shorter acceleration runs, resisted and unresisted, this day in weightroom is real high percentage day, multi jump work from static positions eliminating stretch relfex involvement and/or very short jumps with load or no load
        • A day of longer acceleration work, this day in weightroom has a low percentage day
        • A day of change of direction work, eccentric only multi jump work
        • Continue 2 day a week BW circuit activities
          4 week period with a more dynamic focus in weight room. for example jump squats.

        • Run and multi jump activities look similar to above with adjustments made as need be to provide stimulus. Static multi jump work is limited or eliminated
        • 2 day a week circuit activities continues.  MBall throws are added in
          2 weeks of prep and rehearsal

        • Lifting becomes 3 day a week non-split maintenance
        • Runs become to less in reps, no load
        • Mball throw activities stay

        My feeling is that body comp changes occur with more activity than in the fall.
        I would also feel that increases would occur in the 225 bench reps through normal 12 week training cycle, again because of limited training in the fall, the capacity/muscle endurance, whatever it would be called naturally will increase through training itself without having to focus on that area.

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        utfootball4 on #50808

        also i think we are missing something here, we have the athlete test numbers but as a performance/combine coach we need to sit with the athlete and agent and see what they want to focus on and what kind of feedback they have gotten from the scouts bc i think that would give us something to really zone in on.. u  r really training a decathlete if u really think about it..

      • Mike Young
        Keymaster
        Mike Young on #50809

        When I train people for the combine I take a similar approach to what UT alluded to. That is, I don't train them to be great football players. As strange as that may sound that is not what the combine is about. In fact, if that were the predicting gridiron success were the measuring stick of the combine the test could probably be considered invalid in many regards because success in the combine does not necessarily correlate with success on the field. As such, I actually do train them in a very similar manner to track and field athletes because they are attempting to improve their physical capacity to perform a quantitatively measured test. The only difference is the tests that are used.

        ELITETRACK Founder

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        utfootball4 on #50810

        very very goood points, but when you say like track and fields athletes what are you exactly talking about, for example i dont see the point to have a combine guy doing BB circuits thats just me.?? i think many would be amaze by how much we really lift at the combine camps, we really dont lift alot of max strength  stuff our squats are in the med intensity– just thought i would let u guys know..

      • Mike Young
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        Mike Young on #50811

        As with track athletes the training needs to be specific to the demands of the tests however just like track athletes hammering hard with test-specific work every day isn't the best way to train (at least IMO).

        ELITETRACK Founder

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        utfootball4 on #50812

        once again very good point, thats why i pick the coach i did bc many of the coaches i spoke  to only performed the combine test in training and i fill like you can do more drills etc to help improve the tests like working on the diff qualities of the shuttle etc..

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        Daniel Andrews on #50813

        Mike, that still doesn't address individual capabilities.  This guy won't even be picked if they see him as a sloth.  Every program must be matched to someone's current abilities and capacities as well as needs.  I wouldn't train this particular person like a well conditioned athlete.  I'm sure you will say adjusting load would be a determining factor, but his training or lack thereof is what sticks out and makes this particular person and instance seem different than what someone would usually encounter with someone who wishes to seriously enter the NFL draft.  This guy needs a lifestyle change and I doubt 12 weeks of regular combine work will maximize his potential.

        If I am a scout at the combine he's already has a red flag with prior injury to knee which kept him out 1 season.  If I see he comes into the combine at 20% BF 297lbs, a 30 inch VJ,  40 rep bench, and 1.7s 10 and 5.0 40 compared to him coming in at 18% BF 310 lbs, 29 inch VJ, 40 rep bench, and 1.80s 10 and 5.1s 40.  I'll take the latter, because even though his times haven't changed his fitness did and that means he's less susecptible to injuries and shows a willingness to work through prior injuries and the detraining and depression associated with them to get back into football shape.

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        Daniel Andrews on #50814

        very very goood points, but when you say like track and fields athletes what are you exactly talking about, for example i dont see the point to have a combine guy doing BB circuits thats just me.?? i think many would be amaze by how much we really lift at the combine camps, we really dont lift alot of max strength stuff our squats are in the med intensity– just thought i would let u guys know..

        This is not suprising since you just ended a hard competitive season and that the most highly valued strength test in the combine is a muscular endurance one.  At 1 time I thought they were going to go to a tempo based BP test.

        What intensities of 1RM (Load) and Volume (Reps and Sets) do you use currently and has it changed?

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        utfootball4 on #50815

        [quote author="utfootball4" date="1137386898"]
        very very goood points, but when you say like track and fields athletes what are you exactly talking about, for example i dont see the point to have a combine guy doing BB circuits thats just me.?? i think many would be amaze by how much we really lift at the combine camps, we really dont lift alot of max strength stuff our squats are in the med intensity– just thought i would let u guys know..

        This is not suprising since you just ended a hard competitive season and that the most highly valued strength test in the combine is a muscular endurance one. At 1 time I thought they were going to go to a tempo based BP test.

        What intensities of 1RM (Load) and Volume (Reps and Sets) do you use currently and has it changed?
        [/quote]

        now there are some people out there that lift very very heavy like joe defranco and parisi, i believe it should be med intensity to allow the athlete better field performance workouts.. BELOW YOU WILL SEE MY PHASE 1 WEEK 1 SQUAT WORKOUT..

        WEEK 1:
        FRI:
        BSQ: 195X8/245X6/295X4/340X3X3

        WEEK 2:
        FRI:
        BSQ: 195X8/245X6/305X4/355X3X3

      • Mike Young
        Keymaster
        Mike Young on #50816

        Mike, that still doesn't address individual capabilities.

        How does it not? If training is geared toward improving the tests that they will be tested on how does that not address individual capabilities? Obviously each athlete will have individual strength and weaknesses but I'm failing to see how the general statements I made would fail to address individual capabilities.

        This guy won't even be picked if they see him as a sloth. Every program must be matched to someone's current abilities and capacities as well as needs.

        Where does this conflict with what I said above?

        I wouldn't train this particular person like a well conditioned athlete.

        I didn't say that I necessarily would either…..I just said I would make him as good as he could possibly be at the tests he has to perform under the given constraints (time limitations, injuries, fitness level, etc.).

        This guy needs a lifestyle change and I doubt 12 weeks of regular combine work will maximize his potential.

        Combine preparation is rarely if ever about maximizing potential so much as it is achieving maximum results under the above mentioned constraints. In the case of the combine preparation time is always a limiting factor.

        ELITETRACK Founder

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        utfootball4 on #50817

        all very good points mike, i think 12weeks could help guys change there lifestyles i have seen it bc once they see those millions they change really fast (diet, keeping shape etc)

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        Daniel Andrews on #50818

        1.  Improving potential is combine related, sure its geared to specific tests.  However, how the athlete looks and presents himself is another big factor.  He's going to weighed and measured.  There is nothing like a good first impression.  If this guy make an impression there and continues to have a good combine he'll impress and someone will take notice.  I am really only concerned about 1 test, and that would be his 225 bench press, his other numbers should improve, but if they stay the same they are above average.  I am not saying I would not work other areas, because that is not the whole focus of what I presented.  I wanted to improve his overall work capacity with a hypertrophy type routine, that would help with the body composition element as well help him with his 225 bench press.  The parameters you presented to us provided the perfect fit.  8-12 Reps for 4-5 sets @ 225-275 lbs on the bench would help start him and would be similiar to what he would do in starting out with most bench press routines used for combine prep.  Not to mention a typical bodybuilder workout would have him lifting 4x per week 2 days upper/2 days lower.  Not much different from UT, but like I said I want to create a better hormone profilet thus the hypertrophy routine.

        2. Taking someone from a detrained state due to prior injury requires taking into consideration the athletes psychological profile and lifestyle changes in these instances are much harder to conquer.  Especially for someone who hasn't applied themselves.

        3.  Another factor we all missed is how and what did he do in rehab and are there lingering side effects from rehab or lack of rehab.

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