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Training season: Shape guru helps Bush, L.T. prime

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Concudan, May 20, 2007.

  1. Concudan

    Concudan Still Chargin Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 5, 2006
    Full Article

    By Jim Corbett, USA TODAY
    Reggie Bush learned a humbling lesson about what it means to give it all up in a bid to play at the highest NFL level. It came during his final season at the University of Southern California while he was working out with San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson.
    Twenty minutes into his session with last year's league MVP and Tomlinson's personal trainer, Todd Durkin, at Durkin's Fitness Quest 10 training facility in suburban San Diego, Bush got sick.

    Even though Bush threw up, he never gave up, impressing L.T. with his resolve.

    "The thing that stuck out, even though Reggie did give it up, was his work ethic," Tomlinson says. "A lot of guys can't handle the intensity of this workout. It's so fast, so hard. If it's your first time, you're going to struggle."

    Says Bush: "When I worked out with L.T., it gave me an opportunity to see what it takes to be the best running back in the game and how the results translated on the field."

    FIND MORE STORIES IN: Super Bowl | George W Bush | Saints | SAN DIEGO CHARGERS | Ladainian Tomlinson | Reggie Bush | Drew Brees | FRE
    Durkin trains more than 30 NFL players, including New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith, 49ers linebacker Derek Smith, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer and Chargers defensive linemen Luis Castillo, Jacques Cesaire and Igor Olshansky.

    "I said, 'Reggie, you're working with an all-pro athlete here,' " Durkin recalls. "To his credit, Reggie came back in that same workout and kept going. But it was an example of, 'Whoa, there's another level I have to get to.' "

    This is self-improvement season in the NFL — time to chase that next level. Having a personal-training program is as mandatory for players as those so-called "voluntary" team workouts.

    The elite take great pains and pride in priming their bodies and minds for the grueling six-month gantlet required of a brutal, collision sport.

    A former William & Mary quarterback whose go-to receiver was Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, Durkin, 35, was 2006's MVT — the most valuable trainer — whose position-specific regimen of core and joint strengthening challenged MVP Tomlinson and runner-up Brees to raise their games to new levels.

    The former Chargers teammates and Walter Payton co-Men of the Year recipients, who remain close friends, are serial competitors, relentlessly pushing each other to achieve more.

    Tomlinson, who scored a record 31 touchdowns last season, has averaged 1,564 yards rushing, 511 yards receiving and 21.5 rushing touchdowns in four years under Durkin's tutelage.

    "Todd's training helps me in exploding through the hole, and I've stayed healthy," Tomlinson says. "That's where it's really working for me."

    Brees, who is now fully recovered from the dislocated left elbow he suffered in the Pro Bowl, has also reaped great benefits. Durkin was key in helping him achieve his comeback from career-threatening surgery to repair a 360-degree tear of the labrum and a partially torn rotator cuff inside his throwing shoulder after the 2005 season.

    Brees threw for a league-best 4,418 yards in 2006, leading the 10-6 Saints within one win of the Super Bowl.

    "The month of May is when you get your head back on for football," says Durkin, who just opened a new, 5,000-square-foot facility. "Drew and L.T. are starting to train head-wise for what it's going to take to get to the Super Bowl and win a championship.

    "L.T. wants to prove he can have the same kind of season again. He's been working as hard as ever."

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