The Scores Report chats with Drew Brees’ trainer, Todd Durkin
September 15, 2010 2 Comments
At your local gym, you may have been offered a chance to try out a tool called the TRX Suspension Training, which is an innovation by former elite Navy SEAL Randy Hetrick.
As a Navy SEAL, Hetrick often found himself in remote safe houses with limited means to keep he and his soldiers in shape. Using only salvaged parachute materials, Hetrick created what would eventually be named the “Best Total Body Tool” by Men’s Health magazine.
The TRX Suspension Trainer was born.
One of the many trainers that have incorporated TRX not only in his athletes’ workouts, but also into his own workouts is Todd Durkin. Of the many athletes Todd works with during the offseason, perhaps his most recognized is New Orleans Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees.
During the offseason, Brees flies all the way from Louisiana to train with Durkin and the TRX, which obviously speaks to Todd’s credibility as a trainer. And considering Brees is coming off a Super Bowl win this past February, clearly Todd’s methods work.
We recently had the opportunity to chat with Todd about a variety of topics, including his work with Drew, TRX and the “Get with the Movement” campaign, which is defined as a rally cry that dares American fitness enthusiasts to free themselves of their everyday routine. It encourages people to get off their exercise machines and take a more dynamic, moment-focused approach to building their overall health and achieving personal goals.
We also asked Todd to share his favorite Drew Brees story, what specific workouts he uses to train a Super Bowl-winning quarterback and how the TRX can help everybody from the “weekend warrior” to yes, even grandma.
Also for more on the “Get with the Movement” campaign, visit http://www.getwiththemovement.com.
The Scores Report: Hey Todd, how are you?
Todd Durkin: Real good! Things have been a little crazy around here, but it’s exciting with the new book coming out.
TSR: I bet! Hey, I’ll jump right into it – I wanted to first ask you about your involvement with Drew Brees and his training. Obviously he wins a Super Bowl last year and you played a role in his preparation, so can you tell our readers what you do, how you work with athletes and breakdown that overall process.
TD: Absolutely. I’ve been working with Drew now for eight years and we’ve always had a program that pushed him to be the best he could possibly be. Obviously with him winning the Super Bowl in February, it was the highlight of his career and my career as well. There were many folks and many things that played a factor in that and one thing I can tell you is that Drew is an extremely hard worker and everything that he’s earned he’s worked for.
TSR: You don’t have to go over everything Todd, but can you breakdown what specific workouts you would have a player like Drew do? What kind of training would you put a quarterback or any NFL athlete through during the offseason?
TD: As far as the quarterback is concerned, a lot of my emphasis is on the core, as well as shoulder and joint integrity. I do a lot of shoulder work with my quarterbacks. If you really want to emphasize those two areas compressively speaking, then if you were to watch one of our workouts it really is from feet to fingertips. We work on everything. The first 10 minutes or so is simply spent on a dynamic warm up, then we do a lot of movement training like foot quickness, speed and lateral movement, then of course we have our core training and joint integrity program. We do a lot of strength and conditioning, and of course flexibility plays a major role in No. 1, staying pain free and No. 2, performance enhancement. Our workouts are typically about 90 minutes long and this past season we had nine NFL quarterbacks here at my facility training and 30 NFL athletes overall training in preparation for the 2010 season. My job is to push these guys to make sure they can be their very best and part of what I do is always staying ahead of what they’re accustomed to. So even if they’re used to using things like the TRX in their program, I always have one or two moves to challenge them. We’ve got a whole plethora of tools that we can use to challenge them to be great.
TSR: I think the typical fan like myself assumes that NFL players generally use the “caveman” type of exercises like the bench, like the squat, etc. But it sounds like you don’t limit your players to only those exercises and you challenge them in a variety of ways, whether it be the use of the TRX or what have you.
TD: Diversity is the key for anyone – not just a pro athlete. If you want to be great, you have to diversify your workouts. I love old school exercises such as the bench press and such as the squat. That is a part of the program, but the key word is “part.” If you were to watch one of our workouts, you would see some traditional exercises, but a lot of what I do is training movement and not just pressing a weight. We will rarely sit on a machine – a lot of it is free weight. A lot of it is high intensity training where we’re using super-setting back and forth, complex setting, and exercises that are going to keep the tempo up so it’s working on their strength and their conditioning at the same time.
TSR: Give me your favorite Drew Brees moment from the last couple of years.
TD: Man, there are so many! Wow, well one of the best stories about Drew is the oft-told story about how he came back from major shoulder surgery when everyone doubted whether he would come back at all. Drew never doubted that he would be back in the NFL again after he suffered that devastating injury in 2005. That’s always one of my favorite stories. I guess one of the more recent stories that I can share is when Drew won almost every ESPY award in July and we went out and had a great time afterwards. But of the athletes, there was only one person up the next morning at 7AM and that was Drew Brees. And that’s consummate Drew. I was training him in the gym at 7AM the day after the ESPYs – the morning after there were a lot of parties and hoopla afterwards. But Drew is so disciplined in his approach that despite his busy schedule with appearances, endorsements, community involvement and everything he does, he never lets those things be a distraction. He continues to do what he needs to do to be in the best shape of his life and compete at a world-class level.
TSR: He seems like an incredibly humble guy and that story is a testament to who he is. Getting back to that story about his shoulder injury, it’s amazing to think that when he was a free agent that offseason, that the Miami Dolphins could have had him. That’s where he wanted to go, but they went with Daunte Culpepper instead and Drew wound up with the Saints. Obviously that worked out for all parties involved – great story.
TD: Yeah, well they read the medical reports and the medical reports had many, many question marks about whether or not he would come back. So when you read a report that says he may never be able to throw a ball again, let alone play in the NFL, and you’re investing millions of dollars in that player, if you judge that strictly on the report then you don’t take the guy. But if you look at Drew Brees – who has the mental mindset of a champion – like the Saints did, well they truly were the winners in the long run.
TSR: Well said. Talk to me about the “Get with the Movement” campaign, what’s your role in it, what is it and what’s in-store from here.
TD: One of the biggest things that I use, and not just with the athletes but all of my clients, is the TRX. The reason I like the TRX is because it combines strength conditioning with joint integrity and core strength all at once. The TRX is a simple tool to use, but it’s not simple in the fact that it’s easy. It’s simple to use, yet it’s extremely challenging and it’s great for all levels. Male/female, young/old, skinny or fat – you can use the TRX. I travel with it and I use it when I’m on the road – that, and a super-band typically. I can fuse it into one of my boot camp workouts or use it right here at the facility. The “Get with the Movement” campaign for me is about going for greatness. It’s about people believing in themselves and realizing that training and conditioning is the absolute foundation of success in anyone’s life. If you want to be world-class and you want to be extraordinary in your life, it starts with your physical conditioning. And when one commits to physical conditioning, they can overcome challenges and adversity and then anything is truly possible. The “Get with the Movement” campaign is simply a message to inspire people to be their best and to live extraordinary lives.
TSR: Talk to me more about the TRX. You said that this could be used by anybody – including “weekend warriors?”
TD: Oh, yeah – absolutely. We have our kids on it, we have our moms, our pops, our grandmas, our grandfathers, our pro athletes and our “weekend warriors” and fitness enthusiasts on it. The reason that is, again, is because it’s challenging. You’re using your body weight and most of us have enough weight on us to provide us with a great workout. It provides the ability to challenge yourself in many different ways, simply by the way you position your body by using the TRX. So the “weekend warrior,” we often find, goes out to compete, whether it be flag football or soccer, or softball, or tennis, or golf, and they often get hurt or injured. The TRX is often a built-in system to help guard against injury. It’s going to strengthen your body and it’s going to be appropriately challenging for all folks.
June 5, 2010: Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints practices during the Saints mini training camp in Metairie, LA. Tyler Kaufman/CSM.
TSR: Perhaps what’s most interesting to me about the TRX is that it incorporates everyday movements into your workout, yet strengthens your muscles as well, so you’re getting a workout with it too. It’s all about using functional movements not only to get you strong or whatever your goals are, but also helps you in everyday life.
TD: Absolutely. Amen to what you said – you’re 100% correct. I often say bulk is for the beach and movement is what we need to be focusing on now. What we need to make sure is that from feet to fingertips we’re strong and flexible. Most of us aren’t in great shape and when I say that, I’m talking about both metabolically and aerobically. You know, one could be strong and have bulk, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in great shape. If you’re looking to lose 20 or 30 pounds, or you’re looking to get your body stronger, more fit, change body composition, etc., then TRX is a great tool that you can use whether it be at the gym, in your house, or at the hotel room. You can use it to get your body to work out at the appropriate level. Again, I often combine my TRX with a jump rope or some body weight exercises because it’s all you really need to get the results you want. I have a world-class facility and we have world-class athletes in here all the time, but you’d be shocked to see the simplicity of some of the tools we use to get the world-class results that we typically see year after year.
TSR: Functionality is the word that keeps coming to mind when I listen to you talk about the TRX. It sounds like a very cool tool and something that everyone can use.
TD: Absolutely. Well, I think we all want better function, which is a great word. Whether it’s a world-class pro football or baseball player looking to improve their performance on the field, or whether it be the “weekend warrior” that’s looking to improve his recreational skills at whatever game he’s playing, or whether it just be a mom or pop that wants to lose weight and improve energy, the TRX allows one to use a very simple tool to get great results without hurting oneself. So many times people go back into the gym and they’re excited to use the weight that they used to do when they were 18 or 20 and they realize they don’t recover like they use to. Their joints hurt, their knees hurt, their back hurts, and they don’t know what to do. Well, the beauty about the TRX is that you can very simply adjust the level of intensity by the way you position your body. You can work your body in 20 minutes or less and get a great workout in, so once again, it’s a tool. It’s a tool that one can incorporate into their program to improve function and to help out their performance – whatever that means to them.
TSR: I’ve thoroughly enjoyed speaking with you today, Todd. I know you’re very busy, but one last thing – how can our readers find out more about you, what you do not only with Drew Brees, but other athletes, and of course, TRX.
TD: The best way is fitnessquest10.com, or todddurkin.com. We’ve got a lot of video on our sites and I do a monthly free newsletter where I inspire, motivate and educate people all over the country.
TSR: Excellent, well thank you again for joining us today!
TD: Hey, you’re a great interviewer – that was easy, man. What’s your background?
TSR: (Laughs) I do mostly sports, but the fitness content intrigues me as well, so this was great for me to talk about all areas.
TD: Well, I talk with a lot of people and you can tell who’s skilled and who’s not and you’re definitely skilled.
TSR: I really appreciate that, Todd – thank you.
TD: You got it, Anthony – take care!
TSR: You too! We’ll talk to you again soon.