Athletes & Celebrities

The 2015 NFL Strength Team

We offer our annual salute to the best of the NFL’s fastest and strongest.


Defense: J.J. Watt

If you think being on a perennial losing team that can’t sort out its quarterback situation is demoralizing, you’d be right— except you’d be wrong when it comes to J.J. Watt, the Texans’ All-Pro defensive end who attacks his off-season workouts with the same ferocity he uses to charge an offensive tackle. “If you’re not trying to be the greatest to have ever played the game, then you’re wasting your time,” Watt told M&F. Watt is a walking embodiment of every dusty old sportswriter cliché about hard work and sportsmanship.

He’s brutal to go up against but has never been cited for dirty play. In the gym, he chases PRs on the kind of conditioning work most guys just want to skip. While doing box jumps a few years ago, he became obsessed with attempting higher and higher boxes. In April, he topped a staggering 61-inch box.

SEE ALSO: J.J. Watt Eats Almost 9000 Calories a Day >>>

When HBO featured Watt in the latest season of Hard Knocks, it showed him flipping a 1,000-pound tractor, which, two years ago, Watt could flip only once. A year later, he got 30 reps. This past off-season, in separate workouts, he got 51 and 65 reps. “It’s all just mental,” Watt said. “Create that vision in your head that nobody’s going to work harder than you. Then you go out and prove it.”


Designed by Brad Arnett of NX Level Sports Performance in Waukesha, WI.

Max-Effort Upper Body
(1) Shoulder Pack Roll : 2 sets, 10 reps (shoulder blade retraction and shoulder external rotation)
(2) Incline Bench: 4 sets, 10 reps (45%), 5 reps ( 60%), 3 reps (70%), 5 reps (80%)
Speed sets: 3 sets, 5 reps (55%), 2 sets, 5 reps (80%) (Watt has a 375–400 incline max)
(3) Dumbbell Floor Press: 4 sets, 8 reps (Watt uses 100- to 150-pound dumbbells)
(4) Fat-Bar Pullup: 3 sets, 10 reps
Superset w/Chest-Supported T-bar row: 3 sets, 12 reps
(5) Chest-supported T-bar row: 3 sets, 12 reps
Superset w/Straight-Arm Lat/Serratus Pulldown: 3 sets, 10 reps
(6) TRX Arm Curl: 3 sets, 12 reps
Superset w/Band or Cable External Rotation: 3 sets, 10 reps
(7) Tempo Run: Eight 40-yard tempo runs at 75% max speed