Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
25 Apr

WOW: NFL Combine


4 40-yard Dashes
2 Max Pushups (or Bench Press), Two Minute Rest
10 Vertical Leaps
10 Broad Jumps
5 Cone Drill Runs
5 Shuttle Runs


Warmup: 30 second Grok Squat, lateral, forward, and backward leg swings (10 each leg). A few light, medium effort (70%) sprints to loosen the joints. Five jumping butt kicks (jump up and kick your own butt with your heels).

Professional football requires its athletes to be powerful, fast, big, and strong. This leads to some brutal collisions, years of which might lead to health problems for participants later in life, but it also leads to some interesting tests for determining said power, speed, size, and strength. You likely aren’t heading to the NFL anytime soon, but you can still enjoy the workouts. This one is based on the NFL Combine, which is the test that all prospective rookies complete before the draft to give teams an idea of their strength, speed, and power. Strength, speed, and power are generally desirable, right?

Some of the exercises should be familiar to you. A dash is just a short sprint. Pushups (or bench presses) don’t need to be explained. The rest? Let’s go over them briefly.

You probably know about vertical leaps, but paying attention to your technique should elicit greater results. Ideally, to mark your progress you’d stand flat-footed and measure your overhead one-handed reach, then jump, reach, and measure the difference. If you can’t measure, just jump as high as you can each time. Swing your arms to generate more power, as seen here.

Broad jumps are also performed flat-footed. Use the arm swing, like in the vertical leap, to generate power.

For the cone drill, set up three cones (or any object) in an L shape about 5 yards apart from each other. Start at the first cone. Sprint to the second, then immediately back to the first. Sprint back to the second and weave around it. Sprint to the third, loop around it, sprint back by the second and finish at the first. If that’s confusing, watch this video of the cone drill done right.

For the shuttle run, start in an athletic stance. Run five yards to the right, touch the ground, pivot, run ten yards in the other direction, touch ground, pivot, then run five yards back to your starting position. Here’s a great video showing how it’s done.

Take your time in between exercises. Don’t rush from vertical leaps to broad jumps to cone drills without stopping; you’ll want to allow time for recovery and, thus, the ability to give your maximum effort.

A few things to remember:

  • Think about explosiveness in the jumps. Really swing those arms and extend those hips to get the most distance/height.
  • The running drills are as much about agility and quickness as they are about raw speed. Heck, even more so. Work on pivoting and changing direction quickly.


If the shuttle run or cone drill are too easy for you, you can always increase the distances between cones. So, instead of running 5, 10, and 5 yards for the shuttle, run 10, 20, and 10 yards, or 10, 10, and 10 for the cone drill.

What Are WOWs?

  • Workouts of the Week (WOWs) are an optional component of Primal Blueprint Fitness that add a fractal and often fun and playful quality to the basic PBF protocol.
  • In most cases WOWs should only be completed by those that have mastered Level 4 of each Lift Heavy Things Essential Movement. Also, it’s recommended that WOWs replace one or both Lift Heavy Things workouts or the Sprint workout (depending on the WOW) each week instead of being done in addition to the Lift Heavy Things and Sprint workouts.
  • Learn more about WOWs and Primal Blueprint Fitness by getting the free eBook. And access all Workouts of the Week in the WOW Archive.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Looks like fun. Maybe I’ll do this after I do the CrossFit Open 11.6 WOD.

    Hal wrote on April 25th, 2011
  2. I am doing these tonight. it’s perfect weather and not that bad of a workout for a beginner to moderate physical level like me 😀

    Bobby wrote on April 25th, 2011
  3. I can’t wait to do this. Is this really exactly what is done at the NFL combine?! Or, is what you listed a shortened version?

    Primal Toad wrote on April 25th, 2011
  4. Oh I love this I to it all the time while training for football In my off season.

    Austin wrote on April 25th, 2011
  5. Sounds like a fun workout! I am going to have some fun tonight in this nice weather with this workout. Wish me luck!

    Mark - LookSharpFitness wrote on April 25th, 2011
  6. That is what’s done at the combine..except bench press for max reps with 225lbs. And they don’t do more than 3 repetitions of each (best out of 3 – I think).

    Martin wrote on April 26th, 2011
  7. I’m not surprised that something like this is done at the NFL combine, as the exercises you listed test both speed, coordination, and ability to change directions quickly. Obviously, these attributes are enormously important in the sport of football.

    Jeremy Priestner wrote on April 26th, 2011
  8. I was watching the NFL Combine on ESPN I believe… Man, talk about explosiveness in these guys.

    The combination of power, speed and athleticism was beyond belief. The explosive sprints and jumps really get the job done.

    Add in some deadlifts and other explosive movements on other days and maybe we can make the draft.


    Sam- Look Like An Athlete wrote on April 27th, 2011
  9. I have a question regarding this workout and the primal fitness pyramid. So it recommends a maximum of 10 minutes of sprints up to 1x/week (in the podcast though he states up to 2x/week for sprints). Is this whole workout supposed to be done in under 20 min.?

    Zach Rusk wrote on February 1st, 2014
  10. 40: 5.4 s
    Bench: 165lb x 9
    Cones (double distance): 13.0 s
    Shuttle (double distance): 8.49, 8.49, 8.11, 8.83, 8.49 s

    Zach rusk wrote on April 19th, 2014

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