AT THE URGING of
his uncle Henry (Sugar Poo) Buchanan, a super middleweight boxer (14--0, 11
KOs), Merriman, last season's NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, began a
boxing-oriented regimen. He calls the workouts "the best conditioning you
can do," and his trainer, Thai boxing champ Melchor Menor, says,
"Shawne never slacks." Beyond punch-throwing, Merriman, 22, does some
unusual core-building exercises.
Standard crunch, but with the 160-pound Menor standing on Merriman's lower
abdominals. Merriman does 50. He also does 30 as Menor pounds his belly with
his fists. PURPOSE As opposed to a typical crunch, this isolates the lower
abs--the pressure forces Merriman to focus on that region and also to breathe
deeply and steadily.
HEIGHT: 6 feet
push-up stance atop two physioballs, hands on the outside of the top half of
the ball. A spotter can help stabilize the rear ball, but should not hold the
ball unless it rolls. Two sets of 50. PURPOSE Exercises the entire core, which
must work to keep balls from rolling. Helps train upper and lower body to stay
aligned when hit.
training sessions that Duckett endures six days a week each July in San Diego
(home of his trainer, Doug Hix) typically lead to one thing. "I almost
always throw up," Duckett, 25, says. "Throwing up means you're pushing
your body to the limit." Duckett's regimen--which includes an hour of
running, leaping and cutting on a beach to take advantage of its unstable
surface--forces him, he says, to engage his core to maintain balance.