There’s nothing stopping the ordinary person from training like they play for an NFL team barring physical incapabilities. NFL players, like most athletes, go through grueling regimens in order to be at their best, with the Super Bowl and securing a contract usually at the forefront of their thinking approaching every season.
You absolutely do not have to be in the league to train like you’re in it and you could model your training after any of the top specimens around should you so desire. There’s not much equipment needed either – a visit to a standard gym should leave you well in position to train like a pro, plus there are plenty of exercises which could be done at home.
J.J. Watt is one of the fittest players in the NFL and has been around since 2011, having gotten drafted by the Houston Texans in 2011. The veteran defensive end now plies his trade for the Arizona Cardinals, who are 40/1 to win the Super Bowl next season per the latest NFL picks.
Watt has a pretty solid routine. He begins his workouts around 5 or 6 in the morning, starting with warm-up exercises. He does those for 30-40 minutes with no shoes on as he wants to maintain ankle stability and balance.
Many of Watt’s warm-up exercises are focused on his core so that his body is fully engaged when he gets to the heavy stuff. The exercises are a combination of glute and lower abdominal work but it also focuses on the groin and pelvic floor stability.
They include planks, glute extensions, side planks with leg raises, lateral leg walks with bands, bird-dogs, and dead-bugs.
The player also does plenty of box jumps and long jumps as agility is just as important as strength for someone required to perform the job he does.
Watt’s training circuit is detailed below and you can follow it, as well as execute the ones noted above 4-5 days a week.
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) August 24, 2021
Watt uses a 1000lb tractor tire for his flips but you should definitely go for a lighter one unless you’re confident in your ability to flip one that heavy or you have done so before. The exercise is quite beneficial to the core and posterior chain.
To perform this workout, get down in a deep squat position close to the tire as it lies flat. Grab it, using the treads for grip and explode upwards, using your hips as hinges while driving up through the legs. The exercise reaches its peak when the tire goes high enough to be flipped. Repeat until you hit your set amount of reps and, of course, keep your back straight at all times to avoid injury.
A common exercise among pro football players, sled pushes do require a proper setup and that could be found in most top gyms. For starters, push the sled slowly, either at a walk or light jog with the chosen load. Turn around and pull the sled at the same pace. For best results, end the exercise with an explosive sprint on the push.
This workout is great for strengthening lower-body muscles like the calves, quads, glutes, and hamstrings. You could choose a box of the height you desire and you might be pleased to find yourself needing a taller box as time goes by.
Start the exercise by facing the box with feet set shoulder-width apart before bending into a quarter squat. Then swing your arms back and then forward while jumping. The aim is to land on top of the box lightly with feet flat and knees bent.
If you’re new to box jumps, it would be best to start with a shorter box until you get the hang of it.
Watt also uses free weights in the gym. According to his trainer, he does power cleans at 380-400 pounds, 700-pound back squats and bench presses up to 500 pounds. The aforementioned figures aren’t his maxes, though, just the way he’s made to train. You could do the exercises with much lighter weight but, should you keep at it, you could reach Watt’s numbers.
Of course, you don’t have to copy Watt’s gym workout and can mix it however you feel comfortable. Different things work for different people.
A few exercises you could include in your workout are listed below:
Weighted Shoulder Roll
Incline Bench Press
Dumbbell Floor Press
Thick Grip Pull-Ups
Chest-Supported T-Bar Rows
Safety Bar Box Squats
Safety Bar Chaos Reverse Lunges