Antonio Cromartie’s workout uses 3 football drills to make himself better. As a defensive back in the NFL, he has to work out hard to stay on top. Antonio Cromartie has the double challenge of having to react to the football, and opposing players. Cromartie was invited to participate in NFL Up!, where he shared his workout. Antonio says his top 3 drills are:
- Jump Balls
- 5-Cone Reactions
- Tire Pulls
A member of the New York Jets, Antonio Cromartie’s workouts focus on reaction time, explosion and speed. Antonio Cromartie uses the Jump Ball Drill to react to the football. He then uses the 5-Cone Reaction Drill to work on explosion. Finally, his trainers use Tire Pull Drills to improve Antonio Cromartie’s speed.
Here’s a description of 3 drills Antonio Cromartie uses in his workout:
Reaction Jump Ball Drill
The Reaction Jump Ball Drill focuses on Antonio Cromartie’s reaction speed. His trainers use medicine balls, but any object will do. The medicine ball is used to concentrate on hand-eye coordination and strength. To do this drill:
- Moving laterally down a vertical line, try to mimic another player.
- That player will move back and forth, trying to juke you as you mirror his movements.
- When the ball is tossed towards you, jump up and catch it in the air.
- Throw the ball toward the ground, as hard as you can, aiming for the other player.
- Then, focus on dropping your hips quickly as you contact the ground.
- Switch roles, so the other player goes from offense to defense. (3-5 sets)
Antonio Cromartie’s trainer explains the exercise:
We toss the ball quickly into the air, slam it down with a lot of force, drop his hips down quickly, and be ready for the next move.
In the NFL, the DB is challenged by having to react both up and down, as well as, left and right. To do so, reaction drills focus on jump balls followed by breaking either left or right. Antonio Cromartie says:
With all the reaction stuff that we do, it’s all about how fast can how fast can we get off the ground for a jump ball. how fast can we move when a receiver makes a break, can we react to it and get back to his inside hip or his outside hip.
A lot of stuff we do as a defensive back is using our hips and our feet. This method teaches us to move our feet a lot more, so we’re not using our hands as much. When a receiver reacts one way, we can try to recover quicker, we can get back in front of him.
5-Cone Reaction Drill
The 5-Cone Reaction Drill focuses on reaction time.
- Set up 5 cones, each one 10 yards apart.
- Assign a number to each cone, then have a partner call out a random number
- Run to that cone, focusing on defensive form and posture.
- At each cone, jump over the cone side-to-side 3 times.
- After 5 cones, take a breather, then repeat the drill as necessary.
Cromartie’s coach talks about using this drill: As a defensive player, he’s always reacting, we want to see how fast we can make him in that aspect.
Technique is what you have to depend on. Staying low, bending your knees, having the right posture…You got out of high school because of your athleticism. Once you get into college, worry about your mechanics. When you go into a game, you’re not worried about your athleticism, because you got your technique. That’s when the athleticism takes it’s part.
Tire Pull Drill
The Tire Pull is where Antonio Cromartie and the NY Jets focus on speed. Speed starts with explosion. But, he has to be able to go forward, backwards and to the side. His trainer says the tire pull drill is easier to put together then you might think. To do the drill:
- Attach a sled together by going to a tire yard, and get a belt to pull it along with.
- Use cones, or mark distances in 3, 10 yard increments.
- Run 10 yards forward to the (1st cone), then shuffle sideways back to the start.
- Then, run 20 yards (2nd cone), again shuffle laterally back to the start.
- Now, run 30 yards forward, then backpedal back to the start. Go for 2 sets of this drill total.
Antonio Cromartie’s workout uses the Tire Pull drill to make sure his body is ready to go to work. His trainer says:
We do backpedal, forward, lateral shuffles. We work a lot of different movements. This is about trying to raise his work capacity. And doing so in a football specific manner.
About the sprinting and shuffling aspect of this exercise, Antonio Cromartie talks about how it helps him, especially when he’s in press/man coverage:
This is going to teach you how to always finish on a play. I can do this all day. When I’m in press, it’s always about turning my feet. Once I get ready to turn around, it’s about explosion which is why I’m doing my shuffling.
Cromartie says Tire Pull Drills aren’t just about footwork and explosion, but also about endurance:
Once I’m turning around, I focus on my shuffling. The backpedal part is more about endurance for my legs. But also, it’s making sure I’m staying low in my backpedal.
The biggest thing for a cornerback, coming up, is to understand the game. Antonio Cromartie says the important thing is to work each day. Don’t go out on the field just wanting to get it all over with. The most important tip Cromartie gives is to always know where to keep your feet and eyes. Focus on getting better with each movement. Antonio Cromartie says you have to:
Know how each drill is going to make you better. Remember to always be thinking: How I’m going to Get Better today!
Cromartie says after that, it’s all about becoming a great leader. With defensive teammates like Darrelle Revis, Calvin Pryor, Marcus Gilchrist, Buster Skrine, Marcus Williams and Dion Bailey, Cromartie is always trying to stay on top. Leading by example, and knowing how each drill is going to help him get better is crucial to his success. These drills are what keep Antonio Cromartie on top in the NFL.