Four members of the San Francisco 49ers have spent a sizable chunk of their time off this month training with Michael Bennett in Oahu. DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead, who spent five days training with Bennett last offseason, decided to spend three weeks in Oahu this year and brought Eli Harold and Ronald Blair to join the party.
I was fortunate enough to be able to attend one of these sessions earlier this week. The workouts happened at HOP, Hawaii Optimum Performance, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and they were predominately non-stop for the three full hours. There were several members of the Seattle Seahawks defense training as well including Earl Thomas, Cliff Avril, Cassius Marsh , Quinton Jefferson and Frank Clark.
The day started with a warm up of calisthenics and continued onto agility drills focusing on footwork.
The program shifted to blocking, including hand work and then circuit training. What I found the most interesting was the coaching coming from not only the original owners of HOP but from Bennett, who is now a part owner in the business. He selflessly teaches and trains at the same time, offering instructions and the reasons why the techniques will help their play. He would coach one-on-one and also speak to the group collectively. Much of the work was on hand and body placement to increase their leverage. When you’re 6’7 like Armstead and Buckner are, getting low and getting as much leverage as possible is paramount.
The players all worked together, no matter the team, learning, improving and sweating in the warehouse setting where the facility is located. With the humidity being what it is in Hawaii you can imagine the environment when the roll-up doors come down at the start of the session.
I spoke to all four 49ers after the practice so I’ll have more on this visit throughout the week, including more videos and pictures of the workouts. Aloha!