Jordan Bush is a strength and conditioning professional from Jackson, MS. He currently works in Weston, FL, as a performance coach at The House of Athlete, working with professional and collegiate athletes of multiple sports. Jordan works firsthand with NFL Combine Prep and is also the Head of NFL and NBA Off-Season Strength and Conditioning. He has worked with more than 75 current NFL athletes.
Freelap USA: When the athletes first come to you, what are the first steps in the Combine training process?
Jordan Bush: When athletes first arrive for NFL Combine/pre-draft training, the first and most important thing we want to address is their overall health. The athletes are coming off long seasons and may come in with nagging injuries. They are often left banged up from playing games all season, so the first thing we address is their health.
We must keep in mind that our time is limited with these athletes, especially those who are competing in the postseason. We complete numerous evaluations and health screenings, such as:
- Nutritional consultations.
- Blood work.
The health of the athlete is the number one priority for us. This is the prequel to writing our preparation programs, so we know what issues to work around to maximize results.
Freelap USA: What does the typical week look like for a Combine athlete?
Jordan Bush: Combine training typically lasts about 8–10 weeks depending on the length of the season and Bowl games. The timeframe can shift due to playing in postseason games such as the Reese’s Senior Bowl. Our athletes will train six days per week during Combine preparation.
Monday, Thursday, and Saturday are used for speed, which vary between starts, accelerations, and max velocity. Tuesday and Friday are position-specific days and agility work (short shuttle, three-cone drill). We only allocate position-specific work to twice a week due to athletes just finishing their season and being familiar with position work. We prioritize spending more time on the things that they are less familiar with, such as speed training.
Wednesdays are utilized for active recovery, which involves a low-impact recovery-based pool workout, chiropractic adjustment, massage therapy, and yoga. Lastly, on Sundays we allow our athletes the full day off to relax and recharge for the upcoming week. Strength training is included five days per week. Monday, Thursday, and Saturday are our upper-body emphasis days, and Tuesday and Friday are used for lower-body focus.
From a day-to-day standpoint, our athletes arrive at 7:30 a.m. or 8:30 a.m., depending on their group times for speed/position work. When athletes first arrive, they weigh in and eat breakfast to give them time to let their food digest before we train. After breakfast, they get treatment from our athletic trainers before we transition to the field for training.
Once guys are done on the field, they return to the facility for lunch and pre-lift treatment. We take our athletes through a 20- to 25-minute mobility session before every lift. Lift starts at 1 p.m. or 2:30 p.m., depending on their groups, and lasts around 90 minutes.
After the lift session is complete, our athletes refuel by getting a post-workout shake and another two meals to take home to eat. We pride ourselves on keeping athletes’ stress levels to a minimum, so we want our athletes out of the facility and relaxing as much as possible.
Freelap USA: What technology is involved in the draft preparation process?
Jordan Bush: For Combine training, we place huge emphasis on tracking everything we do for data and analytics. We never estimate anything in this process because we want to make sure we are as accurate as possible. We utilize technology to aid in this process.
We use massage guns and foam rollers for all our soft tissue work for pre-activation. All our athletes are equipped with McLloyd GPS sports vests for GPS data tracking. We track acceleration, max velocity, top speed, heart rate, etc. We also use this data so we can determine how much load and volume an athlete is getting from running and field work sessions.Technology allows for us to pinpoint our strategy to get the best results possible, says @JBush____. Click To Tweet
For speed work, we use the Brower laser timing system for our timed runs. In the weight room, we use PUSH bands for our velocity-based training to make sure guys are moving with intent and a purpose when we train. We execute all our jumps via D-WALL, so we can get an accurate analysis of the athlete’s force production and output. The D-WALL also has a built-in vertical jump tracker, so we can also test our athlete’s vertical jumps without using a Vertec.
For body composition data, our athletes use an Evolt Body Composition scanner that tracks bone density, body fat percentage, lean body mass, skeletal muscle mass, etc. This is important for us because we can use this data to customize the athlete’s meals for those who need to gain or lose weight during Combine training. Tech allows for us to pinpoint our strategy to get the best results possible.
Freelap USA: What other resources do you utilize to give your athletes the best experience during their prep?
Jordan Bush: During Combine training, it is our job to give our athletes every single resource and extra edge we can for them to be successful. From a facility standpoint, we call ourselves a “one-stop shop” because we want to limit the times the athlete has to go off-site for anything. We have onsite a full-time chef, nutritionist, dietician, and chiropractor, and weekly onsite PT evals, athletic trainers, and other support staff for the athletes at their disposal.
Our wet room has a hot tub, cold tub, sauna, and steam room, which provides our athletes with extra treatment and body care when needed. We also have numerous former NFL greats such as Ryan Clark, Ray Lewis, Chad Ochocinco, Michael Vick, and more who return to talk to our athletes about not only the NFL, but life after the NFL. We have weekly sessions with our Combine athletes about financial literacy, interview prep, social media, mental health, and much more.
It is important for athletes to know how to be a professional on and off the field. Our goal is to make sure that when they are away from the facility, they are conducting themselves in a way that positively represents not just them, but also their families.
Freelap USA: What are the common behavior traits that are displayed by those athletes who see results in your Combine preparation?
Jordan Bush: This is the fourth Combine class I’ve been blessed to work with, and the common denominator I see for most of the guys who are successful is their focus. Combine training goes by fast, but individual days can feel very long. There are days where you may not feel like getting out of bed. There are days when your legs feel heavy, and you feel slow. There may be times when you want to go out and party when you know you should be resting your body. It’s all about the decisions you make, and the guys who perform really well are normally the guys who aren’t easily distracted and are extremely focused.It’s all about the decisions you make, and the guys who perform really well are normally the guys who aren’t easily distracted and are extremely focused, says @JBush____. Click To Tweet
I emphasize to our athletes all the time, “You are 8–10 weeks away from changing not only your life, but your family’s life forever.” This statement is true. How you perform at the Combine can determine how much money you make and where you get drafted.
One of my favorite stories is about KJ Osborn. KJ did Combine training with us in 2020 at IMG Academy, and I call him the “Golden Child” of our class. He did everything right and more. KJ was an extremely underrated prospect coming out of college at the University of Miami. He didn’t get an invite to any post-season Bowl games, and he received his Combine invite on the last day invitations went out to players.
However, you would have never known that by his work ethic. He never missed a training session, he was on top of his nutrition, he did the extra work, and he trusted the process, and it paid off for him. He was drafted in the fifth round by the Minnesota Vikings. He just finished his second season in the NFL, started the entire season at slot receiver, and caught seven touchdown passes.
I always reference him when I think about the process done the right way. When guys are focused, work extremely hard, and limit distractions, more often than not, they will perform well at the Combine and have a successful NFL career.
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