July 28, 2023

Get ready for the NFL season like the pros and train like your favourite players. 

Across the United States of America, NFL training camps are kicking off meaning the season is drawing closer. The glimpses we’re seeing of running routes, passing plays, and sprints down the field remind us that football might be on TV for half the year, but the training season for players never stops — especially during training camps.

The reality is that players need to come to training camp already in shape for grueling drills and midsummer practices. Training camps are no joke, players must fight to survive as another season begins under the sweltering summer sun. The days are long, the pain is real, and the pressure is incredible.

The hard work pays off, though. There’s no doubt that players in the NFL are some of the most athletic humans, and if you’re looking to step up your workout game, it can’t hurt to take a few pointers from the pros. You might not have the advantage of several months of pre-training camp workouts on your side, but there are definitely ways to adapt those routines to your own gym workouts.

Here’s a few tips and some exercise routines that will make you feel like you’re in the middle of a training camp, unfortunately minus your favourite team’s swag.

Focus on the basics

If you’re looking to get in great shape, don’t think you need an intricate new routine. NFL players train by doing exercises like the bench press, Romanian deadlifts, and ladder drills to name a few. Check out the full workout routine blog of former NFL great Andre Johnson.

Emphasize core exercises

If you’re looking to increase your speed and agility, following tips from the speediest of the NFL players will help you out. Micah Parsons, defensive end for the Dallas Cowboys, does exercises like cable-resisted physioball crunches to help him to make sure he can beat the tackles and get to the quarterback. The majority of the moves he does on the field have an offensive lineman grabbing and tugging on him, so he has to use his core to make an explosive movement to beat the block and get to the quarterback. In other words, even NFL players don’t get out of crunches. They’re just more intense.

With a cable machine behind you, lie with your upper back on the physioball while holding the crunch straps in each hand just above your chest. As you crunch upward into a sitting position on the ball, the cable resistance behind you will help to strengthen your core, especially as you keep those muscles tight the entire time. Include this in your workout by doing 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps each.

Work out in the sand

This tip won’t be helpful if you don’t have access to a beach or a sand pit, but the benefits are huge if you do. The sand absorbs all the force you exert with your feet, which means your muscles have to work harder than when you’re working out on firmer surfaces like rubber or grass. Performing drills on the sand barefoot can also help to prevent injury in the long run because without shoes the muscles in your feet and ankles learn to work in unison with your knees. Your Achilles tendons might complain, but otherwise it’s a great way to get more out of some simple cardio or drills.

If you don’t have access to sand hills can be a good alternative to improve your speed.

Squats, squats, squats

Squats build strength while also improving balance and stability, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that most football workouts include tons of variations. The Kettlebell Bulgarian squat is one, used by former Green Bay Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk. Numerous variations are also staples in several football-inspired workouts, including box squats and more.

Plus, squats have great implications for everyday life. Building muscles in your legs and back (and really all over) helps to take the stress off your knees. Squats can get a bad rap for being knee-killers, but they’ll actually benefit you when performed properly. Some resources advocate for full-body squats, where you’re going as low as you can go. If your knees are already in bad shape, this might not be a good call for you, but definitely don’t neglect some variation in your typical gym routine.

Mind over matter

Former New Orleans Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees can slam a 420-pound truck tire with a sledgehammer, but that was just one part of his training routine. In most cases, the mental state dictates how successful a training session actually is. The future Hall of Fame quarterback overcame injuries and was known to be the last one on the field during his training days, completing extra 300-meter shuttle runs. NFL players are always looking for that edge to get one percent better each day.

It’s that one percent better that will make a difference on the field during NFL Sundays, and it’s the same mentality that will make sure your workouts keep improving.

Story Reference: https://www.menshealth.com/fitness/a19531639/inside-the-nfls-secret-training-camp/