Do you want to be more like the guys you’ll be watching every Sunday during the NFL season? Well then you need to train like one. Trust me, no NFL players pump up their muscles by spending hours on a treadmill, elliptical or a stationary bike. So ditch the steady-state cardio workouts and start a more structured strength, power and anaerobic fitness routine.

Start Lifting Heavy 

In order to gain maximum strength and muscle, you need to move heavy weight, and increase the load and intensity of the workouts. Lift heavy and work out hard for short bursts of time – pushing your body harder, but for short durations. Cardio is necessary, but upgrade slow steady-state cardio for intensive cardio that gets the heart rate high and keeps it there for a short time, followed by an equal amount of recovery time.

I’m not saying that you should go out and try to bench press 275 lbs. like professional football players, but I would suggest using the heaviest weight that you could manage to lift (with correct form) for a total of 5 repetitions. Focus on the large muscle groups that function as prime movers, such as quadriceps, hamstrings, chest, and back. Pay less attention to smaller muscles such as biceps, triceps and calves. Alternate cardio days with sprint intervals at 85% of you max heart rate (220 – your age), and use a heart rate monitor to ensure you’re working at the correct intensity.

Up next: A sample strength and cardio workout to get you started.

Strength Workout:

Power Clean – 5 sets x 3 reps
Squat – 5 sets x 5 reps
Bench Press – 5 sets x 5 reps
Dumbbell Row – 5 sets x 5 reps
Deadlifts – 5 sets x 5 reps
Dummbell Overhead Press – 5 sets x 5 reps
Pullup – 5 sets x 5 reps
Burpee – 5 sets x 10 reps; 30 seconds rest between sets
Plank – 1 minute
Swiss Ball Crunch (using band for resistance) – To failure
Plate Twist – To failure

Cardio Workout:

Endurance Sprints: Two 150-meter sprints with 30 seconds rest between each run. Finish each run in less than 20 seconds.
Rest three minutes
Three 200-meter sprints with 30 seconds rest between each run. Finish each run in less than 30 seconds.
Rest three minutes
One 300-meter sprint. Run in less than 50 seconds.
Rest five minutes
Stadium Stairs: Sprint up stairs and walk down.  Do 10 repetitions with 10 seconds rest between each rep.
Rest five minutes
Sled Drag: Load a drag sled with 90 lbs. Sprint with the sled for 30 yards, then rest for 30 seconds. That’s one repetition. Do 8 reps.

Exercise Physiologist, and Sports Conditioning Coach, Byron Paidoussi sculpts athletes, as well as average Joes, into superheroes. Certified Personal Trainer, Pilates Instructor and Nutrition Counselor, Whitney Cole is a triple-threat in the fight against fat. Together they own and operate FITNESS and FUEL LA in West Hollywood, California, where they inspire clients to exceed their fitness potential by developing no-fail, holistic total-body conditioning and performance nutrition plans. 

Go Back to the All-Strength 2019 Football Training Guide >>