Editor's note: For most athletes, working out is just part of the program. Lifting weights, sprints, batting practice. They know the drill. But for the top athlete working out is more than just a routine. It's a way of life and they do just about anything to push their bodies to the next level. Sweat is regular feature in ESPN Magazine and on ESPN.com that takes a look at the players who know no limits when it comes to sweating it out.
Exaggerated winces ripple through the group as wide receiver Mike Caldwell belly flops into the indoor pool at North Carolina A&T.
"That's gonna hurt," taunts junior Curt Walls as Caldwell climbs out, his stomach flushed.
Breaking the monotony of preseason two-a-days, the Aggies receiving corps have gathered at this unlikely spot to perfect a very specific aspect of their game: "We're working on keeping our feet inbounds while stretching for the ball," explains Walls.
The idea is simple: tiles = inbounds, water = out of bounds. A pass is thrown over the pool, and when the receiver lays out for the ball, he drags his feet at the ledge edge for the "completion." Whether or not the grab is made, though, a watery landing pad lets the wideouts condition themselves to sacrifice their bodies for a catch. It also allows for multiple reps, as Caldwell, still nursing a stinging torso, understands: "You can lay out without hurting yourself. Had I been on the field, I might be coming up with some deep bruises and chipped ribs."
Which makes the occasional belly flop seem like a small price to pay.
Sweat also appears in ESPN The Magazine.