How to Boost Your Combine Performance

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Physical tools mean so much to football scouts. In the case of the NFL Combine, some argue it matters too much.

But the importance of measurements never is more emphasized than in February, when hundreds of college standouts head to Indianapolis to participate in the NFL Combine. Here, players are paraded around to different stations, measured, weighed, tested, interviewed and, ultimately, criticized or praised for how they grade out. Millions of dollars are made at the NFL Combine. Millions can be lost, as well.

In recent years, the NFL Combine has seen increased exposure and hype, particularly around the core physical tests that all the players go through.

These tests aren't just for NFL prospects. College coaches look at them, too, and high school coaches love players who can excel in these areas. Combines are set up for athletes as young as 13 to start getting used to the testing and gaining exposure.

So what can you do to get better in the core tests that have become so important to football evaluators? Active.com can help. Here is a breakdown of all the critical combine events, and a collection of links to help you improve in each of those areas.

Bench Press

At the NFL Combine, the bench press is a test of strength where athletes try to lift 225 pounds as many times as possible. Overall, the bench press is a respected measure of strength for football players and one of the most popular lifts out there. Many NFL-bound wide receivers can do about 20 reps, while the strongest linemen can exceed 35 reps.

  • 5 Tips to Improve Your Bench Press - Improving your bench can be done in multiple ways. Here are five different areas you can work on that will have you lifting more than you ever have.
  • 7 Muscle Myths - A lot of gossip circulates the weight room about what's good for your muscles and what's not. This article puts some of those to rest, so you know for sure if your hard work is being compromised.

40-Yard Dash

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Perhaps no event at the NFL Combine is more hyped. The 40-yard dash is the NFL standard for speed, and players at the combine are clocked at the 10-, 20- and 40-yard mark of their run to evaluate various strengths, from explosiveness off the starting line to acceleration in the final half. Big money often is made or lost based on an athlete's 40 time.

The fastest wide receivers and defensive backs typically can run between 4.3 and 4.4 seconds, while NFL prospect linemen run closer to five seconds flat. Some of the fastest times ever recorded are around 4.2 seconds, from players like Deion Sanders, Bo Jackson and Raghib "Rocket" Ismail.

Three-Cone Drill

Three cones are set up five yards apart in an "L" shape. Athletes start in the three-point stance at the top cone, sprint five yards to the bottom cone, back to the top cone, then sprint back to the second cone, run around it and head over to the third cone. The athletes then run around the third cone, head back to the second cone, cut around it and go back to the beginning. Quickness and shiftiness are key to doing well in this drill.

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