TEAM: Jacksonville Jaguars
POSITION: Strong safety
HEIGHT: 6'1" WEIGHT: 225
NO ONE OUTTRAINS Donovin Darius. The Jacksonville Jaguars' strong safety is his own fitness guru and taskmaster, having created the punishing workout regimen that helps him thrive as a bone-rattling hitter. (His 790 career tackles is a team record.) A workout obsessive since his days at Syracuse, where he got a bachelor's degree in exercise science, Darius, 29, experiments with new exercises (training with an ultimate-fighting champ led him to add martial arts--style punches and kicks to his routine, for example) and jazzes up old ones. Here's a guy who, when he hits a heavy bag to improve stamina, enlists a workout partner to bombard his midsection with a 20-pound medicine ball as he strikes the bag--thus simulating being blindsided on the field. "I've known guys who've trained with Double-D," says Jaguars linebacker Akin Ayodele with a laugh. "Most come back saying the same thing: 'I ain't ever doing that again.'" Darius, who says his training "helps build the confidence I need on the field," worked out five days a week 9 a.m. to 12:30. p.m. for much of the off-season (weekends he rested). A drill-by-drill look at a day in his weekly regimen is on page 44.
SI.com > For Darius's complete five-day workout go to SI.com/workouts. Also posted are the regimens of the other NFL players on the following pages. You'll also learn how cutting-edge trainer Kurtis Shultz whips the Minnesota Vikings into shape and how Detroit Lions nutritionist Mark Skamiera gets his players' weights up (or down).
ONCE A WEEK
AS PART OF the speed drills Darius does at the start of each week, he harnesses himself to a 35-pound steel sled on which he stacks weight then drags it along the grass. "I can add as much as I want," he says. "I can lighten up the weight and sprint or put added weight on it, which makes it like running up a hill." Here's a typical pair of drills for Darius.
1 TEN 40-YARD DASHES No resistance. Twenty-second rest intervals.