NFL players are among the fittest athletes in the world. Their bodies are tested day in and day out not only by physical exertion required to play the sport, but by the brutality that the game of football demands. These top athletes train year round to keep their bodies in top shape and are surrounded by teams of trainers who provide the best workouts and techniques money can buy. But you don’t need millions of dollars or fancy equipment to perform some of the same workouts that NFL players use, here are some that you can do at home or in park.
Think about how every play starts for an NFL lineman; squatting down and exploding at the hike of the ball. This explosive power comes not just from strength training, but from explosive training (who’da’thunk?) as well. Squat jumps are a great lower body, cardiovascular, and explosive exercise you can do anywhere. Without weights, squat down till your butt is below your knees while keeping your weight on your heels, rather than rising up like an air-squat – jump as high as you can while you explode out of the squat. As you land, go right back into a squat and repeat. Try doing five sets of ten squats to start, and work your way up from there.
20 Yard Shuffle
Basketball players will be used to this drill for it is much like the suicide drill which focuses on sudden stops, starts, changes in direction, and sprints. For the 20 Yard Shuffle, mark out 5 yard increments with three markers. Start by straddling the middle marker, turn and sprint five yards to the left, plant and turn and sprint 10 yards to the far marker, finish by sprinting back to the middle, then reverse the direction. This not only helps with explosiveness, but also helps improve the fast twitch muscles required to make sudden changes in direction and the exercise will increase endurance as well. Do the shuffle (hey it’s a dance too!) eight times total, four times in each direction, three times a week and keep track of your time to gauge your improvement.
Everybody wants a six-pack, but few people realize that your abs don’t stop with those muscles that are up front and center. The oblique muscles are found to the sides of your abs, and strengthening these as well as toning up that six-pack you’re so close to getting helps to strengthen every part of your core. A strong core is vital in building a strong body as every range of motion relies on a stable core to help it perform. Target your obliques with Russian twists by balancing on your butt (your chest and feet should be in the air at about 30° to the floor) and twisting your upper body. Hold your hands together and try to touch the ground on each side when you twist, and begin using medicine balls as you get stronger.
Most people don’t have a bench press at home, but almost everyone has stairs or a chair to prop their feet up on. Much like a normal pushup, inverted pushups simply require you to be in a plank position and to lower your chest to the floor, then push up as you extend your arms. By raising your feet you better target your chest to develop those pecs like a NFL linebacker. Try starting out by doing three sets of ten reps. These can be a lot more difficult than you might expect, especially if you are propping your feet up high – start with just a phone book if you find these too difficult at first.
There are many more exercises you can do at home that NFL players use to push themselves ever higher. Be safe, go hard, but have fun while you get into shape.
Article contributed by Jerome Manson a sports enthusiast who enjoys both watching games and writing about them. When he is not cheering on his team from the stands, Jerome is blogging about the NFL for selectaticket.com.