As a defensive back, you need flexible and strong hips and glutes to compete against elite wide receivers. Cornerbacks, especially, need the hips and glutes to cover receivers who are usually the fastest and quickest athletes on the field. Its tough to cover someone when you don't know where they are going!
I played defensive back in college so I'm definitely an authority on the need for accelerating backwards, forwards, shuffling, etc. We practiced "running backwards at game speed" every day until it became a natural movement.
As a defensive back, you need to train your body for backwards acceleration and other footwork skills. Many times, you need to adjust quickly into a back pedal, shuffle or hip turn to defend your receiver.
There are exercises that you can practice to improve your backwards acceleration and hip turns. As with all speed exercises, backwards acceleration practice should be done with "game-time effort."
You also must keep your shoulders leaned forward in order to maintain dynamic balance and to be able to stop and go "on a dime."
Some common exercises to improve your hips and glutes are: back pedal, hip turn and run, hip turn and shuffle, hip turn and crossover, shuffle and run, continuous hip turns, hip twists, hip in outs, leg swings and hip flexions/extensions.
Some good strength exercises to do: squats (one-legged and two-legged), step ups, lunges of all types and bulgarian split squats.
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Mark Dilworth, BA, PES
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