>> To see the rest of the selections to our NFL Strength Team, pick up the October issue of M&F, on newsstands now.

When people describe a prototypical wide receiver in today’s NFL, they’re talking about someone who stands at least 6’3″, weighs around 220 pounds and has blazing speed with great hands. In short, they’re talking about Arizona Cardinals standout Larry Fitzgerald, a no-brainer selection for our annual NFL Strength Team.

Entering his fifth season out of Pitt, Fitzgerald has earned the reputation of being a physical receiver, a guy who isn’t afraid to go over the middle and who is equally at home catching the ball in traffic or on a deep out. Lucky for us, Larry took time away from the grueling schedule of Cardinals training camp to talk about his training, the upcoming season and his favorite off-season workout.

M&F: You were a physical receiver in college and you’ve carried that reputation to the NFL. What are some of your favorite exercises that have kept you on top of your game?

LF: I love doing hand cleans and squats. They’re perfect because of the explosive movements that I have to do as a receiver. The biggest thing for me is that in high school, I didn’t really know what I was doing in the weight room. Once I got to college and now the NFL, I work with trainers who know what I need to do for my position. I have a lot better idea now of how to train.

M&F: Do you train with other wide receivers only, or do you work out with other positions as well?

LF: I’d say the closest position that we train with is probably running back. We do a lot of the same things: running, changing speeds, blocking.

M&F: When it comes to blocking, do you work on upper body strength so you can take on a defender?

LF: Definitely. We do bench press twice a week to keep our upper body strong. You have to be strong and physical because whether you’re blocking downfield or running a route across the middle, you’re running taking punishing blows. We actually do a lot of core work to help out our balance.

M&F: In addition to core work and weight training, how else do you train to get ready for the season?

LF: My big thing in the off-season is spin classes. It gives you an outstanding cardio workout, but it doesn’t give you the pounding on your joints like running. I usually do a 45-minute class. It really builds the strength in your legs.

M&F: How about nutrition? What kind of diet are you on as you go through camp?

LF: Every morning I wake up and eat a Myoplex bar and a bowl of cereal with an English muffin. I also have a banana and my daily vitamins. After our first training session, I usually have a Myoplex recovery shake and get off my feet to let my body heal for the second practice. After that, lunch is a turkey burger with a sweet potato. Dinner I’ll usually have a steak or some shrimp. I’ll eat a little heavier at dinner.

M&F: Glad to hear that the Cardinals keep you well fed. How are you feeling about this season in general?

LF: I’m excited for the upcoming season. I truly feel so blessed to be able to play a sport that I grew up loving. I’m like a kid in a candy store. But as far as this season, the playoffs are first and foremost on our minds. We haven’t been since I got here and we want to change that this year.

M&F: Any personal on-field goals?

LF: I just want to win, but I like to keep my fantasy guys happy, so the big numbers will be there.

M&F: Thanks for the time, Larry. Good luck with the season.

LF: Thank you.

>> For more on Larry Fitzgerald, visit the official site of the Arizona Cardinals at www.azcardinals.com.

>> For more information on Larry’s nutrition, visit http://eas.com/teameas/larryfitzgerald/.