With the end of the football season rapidly approaching many players are already deep into their offseason football workouts to get back into shape for next fall. We can benefit from their training regimens by identifying what skills they possess, how they got them, and how their training can be adapted to fit our routines. Here are three skills and the exercises to improve those skills.
JJ Watt of the Houston Texans is nicknamed “JJ Swat” for his ability to leap from the defensive line and swat a thrown ball to the ground. An explosive jump ability is great for hurdling, hiking, distance running, skiing, or any activity where hip and leg strength is essential. What football workouts does JJ do to strengthen and improve his swatting ability? Box jumps. Box jumps are a popular crossfit exercise, are spectacular for HIIT training where the goal is to get the heartrate up high very quickly, and are easily adaptable for all skill levels (read: start low and get progressively higher.)
Want to be impressed? Watch JJ Watt to a 59.5 in box jump. No, that’s not a typo.
Vernon Davis of the San Francisco 49ers runs a spectacular 4.38 40 yard dash. For comparison, Usain Bolt runs the 40 in about 4.65. That type of quickness makes Davis a huge weapon for his team, and by copying his football workouts you can improve your speed as well. Twice a week in the offseason Davis practices Power Cleans to strengthen his legs and build explosive speed. Power cleans are a great all-around weight workout.
Never heard a power clean? Watch the video below for how to do one correctly and please use a spotter.
NFL running backs are often the position players with the shortest careers because their bodies take a beating. They have to be able to take a full force hit from a guy like JJ Watt, stay on their feet, push through a pile of massive dudes, then break into a full speed run while being able to shift directions very quickly. Marshawn Lynch of the Seattle Seahawks, one of the top three players at position in anyone’s book, does three sets of planks as a regular part of his football workouts, stabilizing his core and aligning his hips/knees/ankles to guard against injury.
There are lots of other great exercises that are a regular part of football workouts including ladders, up-downs (similar to burpees,) sprints, and every variety of weight lifting. If there is a player in the NFL (or any sport) who is known for being good and something you want to improve on, search online to see what that player does to improve on that particular skill.