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The Athlete’s Edge Evolutionary training: Archuleta explodes past his competition

Kelvin Bryant

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The Athlete’s Edge

Evolutionary training: Archuleta explodes past his competition

By Nolan Nawrocki, Contributing writer

June 19, 2001

Adam Archuleta

at the Senior Bowl

Working out in front of NFL scouts in Indianapolis this past February, St.

Louis Rams first-round draft pick Adam Archuleta posted some of the most

impressive results for a safety in the 17-year history of the NFL Draft

Combine. The 6-foot, 211-pound Archuleta ran a 4.42 40, had a 39-inch vertical

jump and bench-pressed 225 pounds 31 times.

The reason Archuleta was drafted with the 20th pick in the 2001 NFL draft was

no accident. Archuleta’s numbers are the result of years of sweat and

training in preparation for this opportunity. As a 172-pound high school

junior, Archuleta became intrigued by an article written by Jay Schroeder,

founder of Evo-Sport, and felt compelled to contact him.

Schroeder developed Evo-Sport based on a principle that is widely regarded in

strength and conditioning literature but rarely practiced — plyometrics.

Nearly every part of the program involves absorbing and rapidly propelling


Rather than perform a standard bench press, Schroeder teaches athletes to

explode through the movement, release the bar from their hands at the top of

the lift, drop their hands to their chests, catch and explode back into the bar

as fast as possible. Schroeder keeps his hands ready at all times, watching

athletes to make sure they catch the bar.

What impresses Schroeder about Archuleta’s ability to bench-press 530 pounds

is not the sheer mass being moved, but that it is moved in 1.09 seconds. Force

on the football field is the product of mass and acceleration. Traditional

weightlifting programs concentrate on moving mass regardless of how much an

athlete struggles to perform the lift. Schroeder emphasizes performing lifts

quickly, which increases the amount of force produced and has turned Archuleta

into a havoc-wreaking machine on the football field.

When Archuleta began the Evo-Sport program, he benched 265 pounds in 2.76

seconds in the concentric or ascending phase of the lift. He squatted 273 in

3.47 seconds, ran the 40 in 4.79-4.81 and had a 26-inch vertical jump. Today,

his personal best in the bench press is 530 pounds in 1.09 seconds and in the

squat, 663 pounds in 1.24 seconds. At an individual workout for NFL scouts, he

ran the 40-yard dash in 4.37 seconds and jumped 39 inches vertically.

As a walk-on football player at Arizona State, Archuleta quickly earned a

scholarship and became Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year last season as a

senior. In his five years at ASU, Archuleta trained with Schroeder in addition

to completing the workout program the rest of his team performed.

"The will to prepare for success is more important than the will for success,"

Schroeder said. "If you want to be the best football player or the best safety

or the best center or the best bench presser, then be willing to work that

hard, not just put in the same work that everyone else is putting in."

Archuleta said he paced himself through ASU’s workouts so he could

concentrate on Schroeder’s program.

"You could jump and you could exercise all day long, but that doesn’t mean

you are going to get any better," Archuleta said. "Everyone squats and

everybody runs and everybody jumps and everybody benches, but it’s the way

that you do it. There’s no secret exercise. It’s the way it’s applied.

And that’s where Jay’s expertise comes in."

While Archuleta was accustomed to receiving compliments for his football

prowess in high school, Schroeder challenged Archuleta. Schroeder evaluated how

Archuleta compared with other athletes and gave him a program to complete

before he would agree to work with him. After Archuleta showed signs of

progress over several months, Schroeder welcomed him into his gym. Not long

afterward, he kicked Archuleta out for not working hard enough and told him not

to come back. The next day, Archuleta showed up and waited in the doorway of

Schroeder’s office while he completed office work. After ignoring him for

more than an hour, Schroeder told him, "All right, let’s work out."

"He challenged me to come in here every day, and he really put me through some

beat-down workouts," Archuleta said. "He really tested my intestinal fortitude

and really taught me what it was like to work hard. He put me through a lot of

tests and was constantly trying to teach me and mold me and get me to

understand what it took to be a good athlete and what kind of sacrifices it was

going to take."

A key component of Schroeder’s program is repetition. Typical football

programs train each body part twice a week and allow ample opportunity for

rest. In Schroeder’s program, athletes might train the chest 12 times a week.

His clients usually exercise twice a day, six days a week. Football players use

their muscles constantly during a week in practice and games. Why should their

weight-room preparation be any different?

A typical chest workout for Archuleta involves 100-300 repetitions with weight

varying between 225 and 275 pounds. Schroeder gives Archuleta a set number to

perform, and he must perform the concentric phase of each lift in less than a

quarter of a second. If he doesn’t explode fast enough, the repetition does

not count toward the prescribed goal for that day. For every 15 reps he

completes, he has to do one to three supermaximal reps from 500 to 600 pounds

on his own.

Many strength experts would argue that Schroeder’s intense program neglects

recovery time, decreases strength and increases injuries, all of which are

symptomatic of overtraining. However, Schroeder says his program is

specifically designed to overtrain an athlete.

"We try to overtrain to a 3 to 7 percent deficit on purpose," Schroeder said.

"The longer we can maintain that level, the greater the supercompensatory

effect is later on. If we go deeper in the overtraining than that, it sets us

way back, but if we go at 3 to 7 percent, we maintain great results."

The game of football is played in 45-second spurts. On an average play, an

athlete expends his energy fully for five to 10 seconds, followed by a 35- to

40-second rest. A series usually lasts anywhere from three to 15 consecutive

plays. A long series of plays leaves most players gasping for air and eager to

hit the sideline for water and rest. Compared to the stress placed on an

athlete in Schroeder’s workouts, he believes a 15-play series is relatively


Several NFL players have begun Schroeder’s program, only to leave the gym

after 10 minutes and never return. Schroeder assumes they left because it was

too difficult.

"It’s not for the faint of heart," Schroeder said. "It’s very difficult

training, both the mental and emotional training. We’ll bench sometimes 12 to

15 times a week. People aren’t mentally and emotionally in tune to doing

that. So just the sheer repetition of heavy, fast moving of loads is enough to

make you tough. Someone like Adam, he can go out and run near his max speed

many, many, many times even under duress."

While Archuleta’s strength coaches at ASU did not like him consulting

professionals outside of their supervision, Archuleta is a firm believer in

Schroeder’s program.

"(ASU coaches) didn’t like what we were doing and tried to make excuses that

it wasn’t good for me and blah, blah, blah and whatever," Archuleta said.

"The results don’t lie. And the kind of football player that was made

doesn’t lie either. So people have egos, and people get jealous, but I mean,

the bottom line is what’s happening. Am I getting results? Am I getting

better? Am I a better football player? Am I getting less injured? Am I

stronger? Am I faster? That’s the bottom line, and that’s all I’m

interested in."

Archuleta is not the only athlete seeing results. Schroeder trains Arizona

Cardinals WR Rob Moore and QB Chris Greisen, San Francisco 49ers TE Brian

Jennings and Kansas City Chiefs TE Troy Drayton, in addition to many champion

powerlifters, college softball players and other clients aged 4 to 82.

Upon seeing Archuleta’s successful results from Evo-Sport, his agent, Gary

Wichard, began referring other clients to Schroeder. It took one visit to the

gym to convince Rob Moore of the value in Schroeder’s program. As an 11-year

veteran wide receiver, Moore has gained nearly 100 pounds on his bench press in

five months and is now benching 425.

According to Wichard, Schroeder’s training is certainly evolutionary, as the

title Evo-Sport infers.

"I’ve never seen anything as football-oriented as this kind of training,"

Wichard said. "Everything is done with speed. I’m talking about lifting 500

pounds with speed. Don’t give me pretty-boy bench presses that are slow. He

doesn’t even count those. You have to explode. If you watch Adam’s game on

the field, his game is about explosion and force, and that is what Jay is


While Schroeder’s program is innovative, the fundamental principle of his

teaching will always remain the same. It is best demonstrated by the words of

his protégé, Archuleta:

"I just try to go to bed every night with the attitude that nobody put in more

time or worked as hard as me that day."

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I found this interesting 2001 article on Adam Archuleta on an Eagles forum (http://groups.google.com/group/alt.sports.football.pro.phila-eagles/browse_thread/thread/94b3b153c96a8b84/0f49fe63f7dc3283?lnk=st&q=%22adam+archuleta%22&rnum=6&hl=en#0f49fe63f7dc3283).

It was evidently published at profootballweekly.com, but has vanished from their archives. It shows Archuleta's willingness to bet his career on an experimental training method that paid off, and his ability to stick with a program that others could not.

I picked up a copy of Archulata's training video, "Freak of Training" and it shows some of these techniques in action. He spends a lot of time dropping weights and explosively returning them to where they were before. Clearly not a training method for the poorly coordinated...

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I'm not convinced this guy is worth the coin we gave him...

I've seen him whiff on a number of really easy tackles, and his pass defense numbers are pretty horrific.

I'm guessing that Williams knows something I don't, can't wait to see what it is.

I felt the same way when we signed him but this article does tell us that he's dedicated and is willing to give it his all. At least knowing we'll get effort is making me pretty happy about his signing. Ryan Clark seemed to have less talent when we brought him in than Archuleta but Williams maximized his potential and Ryan did what he could. I'm pretty excited about seeing what Adam can do now.

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Since we are posting articles about Adam Archuleta, I thought I would link to this article that ran in espn magazine 2 years ago.


Here are the highlights of the article:

"Last September, against the 49ers, Archuleta spent most of the game covering Terrell Owens. He knocked down two passes and limited Owens to 42 yards on five catches in a 27-24 Rams win. In a December win against the run-happy Bengals, Archuleta worked as a fourth linebacker in the box."

"Last November against the Ravens, after sitting out three weeks with a sprained ankle, Archuleta notched five tackles, one sack, two passes defensed and a forced fumble that he returned 45 yards for a TD. The way he morphed effortlessly between roles – from safety to corner, from a blitzing threat to a centerfielder – it looked like the Rams (who won 32-22) actually had 12 players on D. "At times," says Mike Martz, "he's one of the more dominant players in the league."

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Here is the NFL client list for Evo-Sport:

Adam Archuleta

Todd Heap

JJ Stokes

Steven Trejo

Nick Greisen

Chris Greisen

Wes Mallard

Brian Jennings

Dwight Freeney

Terrell Suggs

Rich Coady

Levar Woods

Josh Scobey

Ladell Betts

Matt Bowen

Deshon Polk

Not sure what to make of that. Heap, Bowen and Betts (the only guys I know that much about) seem to have injury issues. On the other hand you can't argue with the jump in vertical, bench and 40 time Archuletta had.

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I remember back in about 1999, ESPN the magazine wrote a big article about Jason Sehorn and his comeback from an ACL tear. He was doing a similar workout to this, focusing on explosive lifts, speed, balance, etc. He may have been the prototype/guinea pig for this type of workout. Marv Marinovich was his trainer and Sehorn had bulked up to something like 230 lbs and claimed to be running a 4.4 40-yard dash.

It didn't seem to help him all that much in the long run, but these training methods are probably the wave of the future. Strength coaches are focusing more on lifts that simulate actual game movements, as opposed to traditional power lifting moves.

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