The three most
important things in DeAngelo Hall's off-season workout? Core, core and core.
The speedy 22-year-old Falcons cornerback--who draws frequent comparisons to
his idol, Deion Sanders--splits his regimen into morning sessions designed to
increase his overall movement ability and afternoon sessions that hone his
upper body. But every exercise is tailored to strengthen his midsection as
well. Hall, like 49ers rookie tight end Vernon Davis (SI, Aug. 21), trains at
Athletes' Performance in Tempe, Ariz., and last off-season he persuaded
teammate and Pro Bowl tight end Alge Crumpler, and Falcons rookie cornerback
Jimmy Williams to join him.
"I feel my
work pay off from the moment training camp starts," Hall says. "I know
what it feels like going through two-a-day practices because I've been doing it
for four weeks." Hall, a Pro Bowl selection last season, has four
interceptions this year and was a major reason the Falcons (3--2) allowed just
one offensive touchdown through their first four games before losing to the
Giants last week. Here's a look at Hall's four-day-a-week routine:
Hall begins with
15 minutes of stretches (11 exercises). He starts simply, skipping while
swinging his arms, then moves into a series of lunges and twists. At left is
the drop-step lunge--back straight, arms extended. The movement loosens the hip
flexors, glutes, hamstrings and calves. Hall moves sideways after each lunge,
alternating his lead leg until he covers 15 yards (about 16 lunges in all).
Ken Croner, sets up a row of five, six-inch-high hurdles, evenly spaced over a
distance of five yards. Swinging his arms upward on each jump and never bending
his legs more than a few inches, Hall hops each hurdle. Extending up through
the hips is key. Hall lands with his torso vertically aligned and stable and
holds the position a few seconds before hopping again. "If he's not stable
through his midsection," says Croner, "he's not able to land like
that." Four sets of hurdles.
Croner holds a
bungee cord attached to a strap around Hall's waist. Slightly crouched and
concentrating on moving with his hips, Hall backpedals 20 yards on a diagonal,
changing direction every five yards. Four sets at the end of his 75-minute
morning routine help maintain form after fatigue has set in.
?Hall starts his
upper body workout with a warmup in which he passes a six-pound medicine ball
from hand to hand around his midsection, then around the insides of his legs in
multiple variations (right). About five minutes in all.