When he received the call that he had been waiting for all of his life, Jeremy Kelley was happy but apprehensive. The young wide receiver had caught the attention of the Indianapolis Colts scouts and they were bringing him in for a workout this past offseason.
“It was on such short notice,” he recalls. “They called me on a Friday and wanted me there on Monday. I knew that I wasn’t in the shape that I wanted to be in, so in my mind, I was dying!”
He apparently was conditioned better than he gave himself credit for because Kelley was in fact signed and given an invite to training camp, where he is battling right now for a roster spot.
At 6’6” and 225 pounds, Kelley is big for a receiver and also plays special teams. “I play with the physicality of a defensive end or linebacker,” he says. “And with the strength of a tight end. But you also have to be quick enough to get away from a defensive back.”
To accomplish that, the former CFL and AFL player had to modify his training routine to include more than just the conventional-type movements such as squats, bench presses and cleans.
“I started doing more functional training,” he explains. “I was able to get my core involved while performing other exercises by using unstable platforms. The core muscles have to be accentuated so you can come out of cuts smoother and transition on the ball better. For me as a big guy, that’s crucial with the DBs being smaller and quicker.
“Once I hit my core, everything else got stronger.”
Kelly began doing some exercises on a 360 platform (a Bosu ball with a flat top and the bottom having an air compressed cylinder), giving it what he describes as a “trampoline-type feel to it.”
Here are some examples of the exercises Kelley does in this fashion:
“The functional movements build up strength and recruits the muscles that I’m not used to using.”
To build up his speed and endurance, Kelley also includes explosive exercises into his weekly routine. “You never want to be outrun by someone,” he says. “You don’t necessarily have to be the fastest, but you have to last the longest.”
To do this, Kelley will head outdoors four to five times per week for speed and interval training. “Weights are good, but when it comes down to it, can you move?” he asks no one in particular.
Running on a track and working his craft with route drills and catching passes all are done over and over. He set a goal for himself to run a six-minute mile and did even better than that with 5.57.
Every Wednesday is a recovery day for Kelley, but not a rest day, mind you. He will do some hot yoga and relax in a hot tub, but also run a mile at a slow pace. “You want your legs to be right when you come back,” he concludes.
Sounds like the Colts made the right call.
Photos courtesy of the Indianapolis Colts