The better an NFL player’s range of motion, the stronger he’ll likely be to produce on the gridiron and sustain the rigors of a punishing football season. At least that’s what Chicago-based physical therapist David Reavy—who has worked with Philadelphia Eagles receivers Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor, along with Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman—believes. For Reavy, an NFL player’s explosiveness starts in the pelvis, which he calls the foundation of every athlete.
“What I find in professional athletes a lot of times is that the big muscles shut down—the glutes, the abs, and the lats—because you’re out of alignment in your pelvis,” he says. “A lot of times, when the hip flexor gets tired, it actually throws your pelvis out of alignment, and that could occur when you take a hit or land wrong.”
When Reavy started working with Jeffery during his second NFL season back in 2013, he assessed the wide receiver’s posture as “horrible” and used hip flexor movements to get his pelvis back into alignment. The results? A breakout season for Jeffery, who had 89 receptions for 1,421 yards and seven touchdowns to win the Most Improved Player.
When Jeffery injured his shoulder prior to the start of the 2017–18 season, he called Reavy for help. Jeffery produced 789 receiving yards and nine touchdowns that year and earned a four-year, $52 million extension before the Eagles won the Super Bowl; it was later revealed that he played the entire year with a torn rotator cuff—meaning Reavy’s methods allowed him to play effectively while hurt.
Regardless of a player’s age or position, Reavy believes getting them to buy into the importance of their pelvis to maximize their mobility could aid in extending their longevity. “Once you get them to understand their pelvis,” he says, “it changes the game.”