Abdul Foster spent a year and a half working on his book “Next Generation Football Training” (Page Street Publishing). “I always wanted to put done literature out there,” said Foster, who is the owner of IX Innovations, a sports training facility in Houston. “I’m always compiling info. It’s about finding new info to improve what you do.”
Foster’s brother is four-time Pro Bowl running back Arian Foster. Abdul has worked with other athletes, including star wideout Andre Johnson. Foster’s book is primarily photographs with instructions, something that someone who wants to do the workouts can follow without having to study all the reasons. Foster said the players he has worked with dong necessarily ask for the science reasoning, just as long as they know they’re improving. “They want to make sure you know what you’re talking about because they want to get better,” Foster said. “Just tell me what I have to do. Tell me what to do without science mumbo-jumbo which is necessary for someone in science.”
In the book, Foster describes a new breed of trainer, as the workouts and exercises have changed over the decades. “Twenty to 30 years ago our understanding of the body correlating to performance wasn’t what it is today,” Foster said. “It was fairly archaic in how they went about it.”
Decades ago, a lot of athletes looked like average guys off the playing field but in the last few decades, the players are becoming quicker, stronger and faster. “Me and my brother talk about this all the time. Guys who are heralded as greats but you can’t help but look and compare,” Foster said. “Would Jim Thorpe be in the NFL today?
Would he be Adrian Peterson or would he even make a team? In the past, some guys were construction workers during the day, whereas guys today, like Adrian and Arian, are competing against guys who have been honing their craft since they were six or seven, and spent day and night perfecting it.”
Arian Foster had been was the second all-time leading rusher at Tennessee but went undrafted in 2009 before signing with the Texans. So Arian and Abdul put their time to training. “Arian’s a workhorse. Work hard. That’s all he knows,” Foster said. “At 4 AM we’d get something in. Then he’d go to practice and I’d go to work. Then when we were done, I’d race across town and race to the track and do track work. We’d do three to four workouts a day.”
In 2010, Foster shocked the football world by leading the league in rushing. Did the Texans know that Arian was being trained by his brother?”I don’t think they paid too much attention to him. Then 2010, they may have started following,” Abdul said. But they weren’t going to stop what was working. “It’s like the old adage, If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Once Arian had made the team, he had to dedicate more time to learning plays, schemes, teammates, and coaches. “We were working specifically on him,” Foster said. “He needed all of that.”
So as not to contradict what was done by Texans trainers, Abdul would monitor and tweak his workouts with Arian. But
Abdul wasn’t surprised that his undrafted brother was a perennial Pro Bowler all of a sudden. “I understand the sport,” Foster said. “I understand the talent pool. I understand the game. It was just a matter of him getting an opportunity.”
Arian was with Houston through the 2015 season and played four games with the Dolphins in 2016 before retiring. Injuries had shortened his career, limiting him to eight games in 2013 and four in 2015 with a Pro Bowl 2014 campaign in between.
“To a small degree I felt bad for him sometimes,” Foster said. “After a game, sometimes he would struggle to get out of bed and go to the bathroom. That was tough to see. But you understand they’re gladiators. This is what they signed up for.”
Foster also works with non-athletes who might be trying to lose weight or build muscle. Some issues are the same. Extremely tight hip flexors can be caused by sitting at a desk all day or an athlete can get it from being in the running position.
The book has been getting positive feedback. “It’s simple for everybody which was one of my main goals,” Foster said.