DeMarcus Ware could barely walk when he retired from the NFL. The Super Bowl 50 champion All-Pro linebacker was coming off multiple surgeries to treat a fractured arm, which sidelined him for more than a month during the 2016 campaign, and for a season-ending back injury that December.
After announcing his retirement on Twitter on March 13, 2017, Ware tried to figure out what his next step was, literally. The 34-year-old built a home gym in his two-car garage in Texas and began his self-rehabilitation process. After learning what worked for himself, Ware got certified in Functional Movement Screen (FMS) testing and became a NASM Certified Personal Trainer to understand what would work for others.
“Fitness was the way I almost found myself again,” Ware said. “It gave me an opportunity to first figure out how I could recover, and what I needed to do to rehabilitate myself to where I’m at right now. … I got to a point now where I’m in better shape than when I played, and I started thinking to myself, ‘How could I give this to everybody else?’”
Today, Ware is giving others the opportunity to train like him and other NFL stars including Von Miller, Leighton Vander Esch, Tyron Smith and Chris Harris via his new fitness app Driven to Win.
Utilizing Apple-backed technology including advanced 3D visualization and augmented reality, users from experienced athletes to first-time fitness goers advance through a personalized program catered to each individual following an initial testing phase. Exercises are recommended as the app monitors movement using motion capture and 3D modeling to analyze each user.
Not only that, but users have the ability to view and cite engaging lifelike 3D models of Ware and fitness partner Angela Daniel to mimic proper form from all angles. Avatars of Ware and Daniel can also join users for their workouts through advanced augmented reality features.
The app also features adaptive rest durations based on heart rate and speech patterns as users are able to talk into their phones.
“It’s like if a trainer is there asking if you’re tired and how you feel,” said Ware, who had 138.5 sacks in 12 NFL seasons with the Dallas Cowboys (2005-13) and Denver Broncos (2014-16). “It learns along the way, so the more you use it and the more information you give it, the smarter it gets.”
Driven to Win’s personalization continues from the initial testing phase. Users start at one of three levels—Warrior (beginner), Leader (intermediate) or Legend (advanced)—and progress through five levels of workouts in categories of stability, endurance, hypertrophy, strength and power. The app, which also features structured workouts based on focus areas, will also recommend certain warmups, workouts and recovery exercises based on specific user needs or issues, whether it’s a sore hip or bad shoulder.
As users progress through the levels in each of the three main categories, they’ll have the ability to challenge Ware, Miller and Co. to a variety of exercises, while utilizing AR technology as if they are in the living room, weight room or garage with each user.
Driven To Win offers three subscription options: $14.99 per month, $74.99 for six months, or $99.99 for 12 months. The app will continue to expand with new workout content and athlete appearances from other pro organizations, including MLS and WNBA.
“A lot of people have really big goals but they don’t know how to bite off the small incremental things that motivate them each and every day,” Ware said. “If they can do that, the big goal starts to become a lot more achievable because they’re progressing to that point by getting little plusses along the way to keep them going.
“I’ve been a captain in the NFL for 12 years being able to motivate people in the locker room and they become champions, and I’m a champion myself. Now I want the weight room to be the locker room and I motivate people through fitness. That’s my passion now.”