After spending a year on the Philadelphia Eagles' practice squad, Michael Bamiro found himself without a job when he was cut in August 2014. The 6-foot-8, 340-pound offensive lineman was undeterred.
"I knew I had the talent to be in the NFL," Bamiro said. "There are always things to improve upon. I wanted to try to get better while I waited for a team to give me another shot."
Bamiro started training at the STACK Velocity Sports Performance Center in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Not one to toot his own horn, Bamiro at first trained on his own. He even attended the center's adult fitness classes. Needless to say, the big man turned heads.
"He definitely stood out in our Adult V-Fit classes, working out with random 50-year old ladies," sports performance coach Aaron Bonaccorsy recalled with a laugh. "But the classes did help him develop a base layer of conditioning. After about a week, I had him working out privately with me."
Knowing that Bamiro could get a call from an NFL team at any time, Bonaccorsy took a unique, sport-specific approach to make sure his client was in ready-to-play shape.
"I tried to make it like a football game. He'd perform a maximum intensity drill, such as Prowler Pushes, Tire Pulls or Rope Slams, for about five seconds, then sprint or shuffle for two seconds. Each rep lasted about seven seconds, because an average football play takes between four and seven seconds," Bonaccorsy said. "He'd get 40 seconds of rest between reps."
Bonaccorsy also helped Bamiro work on his core strength and overall flexibility. His improved mobility had a big impact on how Bamiro moved. "From doing those workouts, I felt as strong and loose as I ever have," he said. "Velocity helped me refine my game and sharpen up a lot of things."
After two months of training with Bonaccorsy at Velocity, Bamiro got a call from the New York Giants, the team he grew up idolizing. The Giants asked Bamiro to participate in a team workout so they could evaluate him. "It was a good, intense practice. I think they wanted to see if I could keep up," Bamiro said.
He managed to do more than keep up. Bamiro stood out. He said, "They told me they loved the way I moved and how agile and mobile I was—especially for my size and since I hadn't been on an NFL roster in about two and a half months."
A day later, Bamiro got the call. The Giants wanted to sign him to their practice squad. Bamiro happily accepted.
When asked about the signing at a press conference, Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said of Bamiro, "He's in outstanding shape, so he's here."
Bamiro spent the rest of the season with the Giants. The team recently re-signed him for next season on a futures contract, which means he'll have plenty of opportunities to move up the depth chart during OTAs and training camp.
"It's honestly a dream come true," Bamiro said. "I grew up a Giants fan. This is a blessing."
BY THE NUMBERS
STACK Velocity Sports Performance Center
2005 Marlton Pike East, Cherry Hill, New Jersey
21,000-square-foot indoor climate controlled facility
Sports medicine clinic
Comprehensive strength training equipment
30-yard Astroturf surface
6-lane, 65-yard sprint track with built-in laser timing system
Large rubberized hard court surface.
Full sports and orthopedic physical therapy training room
Full Breakdown of Football Conditioning
Begin with a Prowler Push, Tire Pull or Rope Slams for 5 seconds.
Immediately follow that with Sprints or Shuffles for 2 seconds.
Rest 40 seconds, then repeat.
Perform in sets of four, to mirror the four downs of a football series. One set equals a "quarter."
After the second quarter, put on a weighted vest for the "second half" to mimic the fatigue experienced late in games.
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