NFL players have to stay fit and in shape throughout the year. Their workouts get intense as the season approaches. The players spend time in the gym and outdoors, combining exercises and sports activities to keep their bodies ready for the season.
Every NFL player has their own fitness regime. Many people wonder how NFL players stay in shape for the season and achieve high levels of fitness. While some keep it a secret, others share a few pointers and videos with the fans. Let’s take a look at the process behind the scenes.
Things NFL Players Do to Stay in Shape for the Season
Let’s find out what the NFL players do to stay in shape for the season.
- Physical Examination
All players have a complete physical checkup before official training starts for the season. The team management wants the players to be at the top of their health to deliver their best on the field.
The physical examination is extensive and elaborate. From general fitness to X-rays, MRI, and electrocardiograms, necessary tests are conducted to get detailed reports about each NFL player’s health. Most players get assessed by their personal physicians. Their internal and external organs, blood samples, and other vitals are tested. They want to make sure that even minor health issues are detected and treated before the season begins. This reduces the risk of life-threatening medical conditions on the field.
- Corrective Exercises
Physicians and trainers recommend corrective exercises based on the reports of the physical. These exercises are intended to help overcome minor injuries or achieve greater fitness levels to better their performance.
The most common corrective exercises are ten push-ups on the toes and five single-leg squats. The player shouldn’t feel any pain when exercising or after completing the sets. These exercises can be performed by young NFL trainees too.
- Stretching and Running
Body flexibility is a crucial factor. This is achieved through stretching exercises and running. The hamstring and calf muscles are the primary focus, along with the hip flexors. A hamstring pull can be a nightmare for an NFL player. They do their best to avoid it by designing a workout that involves stretching at different levels.
For example, Patrick Mahomes workout is a combination of deep stretches and yoga to warm up the muscles before he starts the session. Patrick trains with his school friend and personal trainer, Bobby Stroupe, to customize the workouts based on his fitness levels.
- Focus on Agility
Agility is non-negotiable for an NFL player. He is expected to be quick on the field and always in motion to tackle opponents. NFL players start their running sessions five months before the season. However, ‘running’ takes another form in training.
The players perform sprints, sweat at agility drills, and incorporate other flexibility moves to improve their agility on the field. They practice the actions and moves from the game and pay more attention to their positions on the field. This helps them play their game more naturally and with greater ease.
- Strength Building Programs
NFL players are listed among the strongest people in the world. Strength and power are necessary to be explosive on the field and combat physical attacks during the game. Strength-building exercises and diet are an integral part of their training programs.
The upper body muscles, hips, legs, and core are targeted. NFL players need to build raw strength and channel it into the game without injuring themselves. The players perform a ‘wave cycle’ where they change the number of sets and the intensity of the training every week (or once every two weeks). The strength training is followed by power training. Then, the players get back to strength training again. The cycle is repeated until their body attains the necessary fitness level.
Managing weights is another way to improve their upper body strength. For example, Jamie Gillian did intense running, pull-ups, push-ups, squats, and running a marathon while wearing a 20 lbs vest. Kyle Jusczcyk ran with a sled tied to his back. His girlfriend sat on the sled throughout the run.
- Consistent Workout Sessions
NFL players cannot afford to stop their workout sessions. They change their exercises during the off-season but stay fit and avoid injuries. An off-season workout regime is as important as the training program for the season. Some of them play other sports like volleyball or go swimming for miles as a part of their off-season workout plan. The players might relax and party, but they also ensure not to overdo anything or make drastic changes that can affect their fitness for the next season.
NFL players dedicate themselves to the game and plan their workouts to stay in shape, irrespective of the season. Training to become an NFL player requires persistence, hard work, dedication, and commitment. Start at the basic level and achieve the highest level of fitness through the years.