Tuesday the 3rd of July 2018 at FFS Gyms is the day I saw the biggest human being I've ever seen in my whole life.
His mass was so immense he filled the entire doorway of the entrance. He was huge and he was here to train at FFS. At 140 kgs and 6ft4. We had an NFL football star, who was 2nd in the draft in his year and held some combine records here in Leeson Street ready to train. For the coach and football fan in me, I was really excited to see what was about to go down. He is an elite Nike sponsored athlete and Nike had flown out a coach from Oregon to go through his session. I was training myself at the same time and I got a front row seat to see how a 140 million dollar athlete trains and what I found out both surprised me and gave me great confidence as a coach. The big man in question is Ndamukong Suh.
Ndamukong Suh is one of the most decorated players with the highest earnings of any defensive player in NFL history He has earned over 140 million dollars so far in his career and is currently playing with the LA Rams, who are destined for a Superbowl ticket. He is a superstar in every sense of the word.
“Suh” is known as the biggest, most aggressive and “dirtiest” elite defender in NFL history. “His immense talent may be the only reason he isn’t black-balled from the league, because he also has an extensive and ugly history of dirty plays, both before and after the whistle.” -Boston Globe. He has racked up over half a million dollars in fines which include stomping on arms, kicking players in the helmet and over the top aggression after the play.
I wan't to train like an NFL athlete
His body is a not so much a wrecking machine as a controlled aggressive response unit, capable of attacking and shutting down quarterbacks with pinpoint accuracy producing devastating consequences for opposing offences. His terrifying size is completely at odds with his speed, agility and reaction. When you stand in his presence and know what he is capable of ...you take a deep sigh when you hear of Rugby players thinking of going to make it at the NFL.
Suh trained for 2 and half hours with his coach at FFS and he was not a huge talker but he was engaging and did his best to pretend to completely understand my accent at all times. He was incredibly well mannered, quietly confident and had no sense of ego about him. He obviously leaves all the rage on the pitch.
“If you find my aggressive and dominating play dirty, then that's your opinion. But I would assume most people want someone who is going to do anything and everything within the lines to win for their team, because I know I would” -Suh
I wan't to train like an NFL athlete
What I learned from Suh
Suh is a one man million dollar industry. He is in the later part of his career and his body is his livelihood. In its entirety, his prehab/warm-up took nearly 90 mins!
He started with trigger pointing and myofascial release techniques. Foam rolling & hockey balls started on the hip region (glute med, max, quads, hamstrings) with very concentrated slow deliberate movements with lots of pressure holds and flexions. Gradually drip feeding dynamic movements into his routine (spiderman to windmills, groiners, dynamic pigeons, knee tuck to hammy rolls, counterbalance squats, cook squat with single arm reaches) Then into activation work some band glute variations, think on rev/forward lunges with overhead reaches, single leg glute activations, single leg rdls wall assisted. Dynamic stretches were also dripped feed into the activation exercises( couch stretches, banded hamstring stretches and ankle mobility drills) The session then went into strength circuits all controlled smooth movements with moderate weights (single leg front foot elevated rev lunges, rdls, rdls to press, eccentric deficit single leg squats, band row variations for upper back and kettlebell posterior chain exercises) This was followed by a 20-25 mins cooldown of static stretching targetting many of the areas of the myofascial release at the start. (side lying hip flexor stretches, couch stretches, supine glute stretches, pigeon stretches) Then he was done thanked us all for letting him train, took a picture and off he went back to LA.
What FFS can take from NFL Athletes
The huge takeaway for FFS is that everything that Suh did in his session was not alien to me or our coaches. We implement a lot of what Suh was doing in some variation already either through our class formats or session structures. A lot of the exercises that I mentioned above would be familiar to our members. Our movement & mobility classes for release techniques, yoga/ animal flow for dynamic stretching/activation. Suspension and Bodyweight classes for relative strength, S&C for resistance strength and metabolic conditioning for parasympathetic cooldowns/static stretching protocols.
His concentrated effort, consistency and application of his coaches cues were evident on every rep. He was serious about what he was doing and everything he did had intended consequences on his development. If you have been playing at the highest level in high school, college and the NFL you don't have time for fluff only the things that give you the biggest bang for your buck.
His session wasn't a training montage video. It was basic exercises executed well. It is clearly evident he has been doing them for a long time. So for yourself what you can learn is that by mastering basics, being consistent, honest and hard working delivers the best results in the long run.When you are doing well it's even more important! I promise it will not be in vain , becoming the strongest version of yourself is the biggest reward you will ever receive.
If you wan't to train like an NFL athlete or simple want to get the most out of yourself and become truly stronger check out our strength facility here at FFS or online.
Author: Craig is a PT,S&C Coach and Head of Bodyweight Training at FFS Gyms. He also feels if he went to school in Texas as opposed to Kilkenny he could have been an All American scrambling quarterback.
Ndamukong Suh Career highlights and awards
5× Pro Bowl (2010, 2012–2014, 2016)
3× First-team All-Pro (2010, 2013, 2014)
2× Second-team All-Pro (2012, 2016)
NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year (2010)
Outland Trophy (2009)
Lombardi Award (2009)
Bronko Nagurski Trophy (2009)
Chuck Bednarik Award (2009)
AP Player of the Year (2009)
Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year (2009)
Unanimous All-American (2009)
2× First-team All-Big 12 (2008, 2009)