NFL is not only about those fun NFL player props bets, for which DraftKings is recommended by the way; for the players, it involves an unrelenting amount of training. Achieving the physique and athleticism of an NFL athlete is no small feat and certainly something to boast about if you manage to achieve it. NFL athletes work incredibly hard, both on the field and in the kitchen, to ensure they are in peak condition for the upcoming NFL season.
Football is an intense sport that requires an immense level of athleticism so it comes as no surprise that most, if not all of the players, have a strict training regime. If you want to train like an NFL athlete, here is everything you need to know to get started.
Set Clear Goals
Before getting started with your NFL training regime, the first thing you should do is set out clear goals that you would like to achieve. Most NFL players go into the rigorous training season with specific goals in mind based on how they played in the previous season, and what they want to achieve for the upcoming season.
Setting goals provides great motivation to continue with this intense training and can encourage athletes to focus on specific training programs. Setting goals is also a good way to measure your progress objectively. While some goals focus more on performance metrics, others focus on health and fitness, consistency, or even personal growth.
Strength And Conditioning
Most football players are large and very strong and this is a result of their extensive strength and conditioning training programs. J.J. Watt, a former Houston Texans defensive end is famous for his intense training regimen that pushes himself to his limit. He largely accredits his success to this training regimen.
While each player has a different role within the team and they don’t all require the same levels of strength, strength training and conditioning are important when it comes to enhancing your performance, preventing injury, and even improving your mental toughness.
A football game lasts for 60 minutes with 15 minutes in each quarter. This means that for 15 minutes straight, players are constantly on their toes, running as fast as they can either to score a touchdown or to tackle those who are getting in the way of the players trying to move the ball to the right side of the field.
This is intense cardio that can be exhausting if not trained efficiently. Cardiovascular training is crucial for NFL players to:
- Improve endurance
- Aid in recovery between quarters
- Assist in body temperature regulation
Former Arizona Cardinals wide receiver, Larry Fitzgerald, claims that he was only able to play into his late 30s because of his commitment to cardiovascular fitness.
Agility And Speed Training
Cardiovascular conditioning goes hand in hand with speed and agility training.
Agility is a major asset in football allowing players to perform at high levels, offering significant contributions to their teams. Agility and speed training can help in many ways:
- Improved athleticism
- Enhanced reaction time
- Reduced risk of injury
While not all players are required to have top-notch speed and agility, they all train these skills because they are valuable within a football team. Football is a game that is based on the players’ reaction to what is happening at the moment, and improved agility and speed can make a world of difference.
Although nutrition may not seem like it is important, the food you eat directly correlates to your performance on the football field and in training. Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is well known for his disciplined approach to nutrition which focuses on a plant diet filled with nutrient-rich foods.
While a plant-based diet won’t work for everyone, having a well-rounded and nutritionally balanced diet will offer many benefits including:
- Improved energy production
- Optimal body composition
- Increased immune function
- Mental sharpness
NFL players have a good understanding of nutrition and what they need to consume both in peak season and off-season. It is a critical part of their training regime.
In addition to that, all NFL teams have a dedicated nutritionist who specially designs nutrition plans for each of the players.
Rest And Recovery
Although it can be tempting to train every single day in order to achieve your goals, research has shown that consecutive training without any kind of rest or recovery can actually hinder your progress rather than improve it.
Rest and recovery play an important role in the training regime of an NFL player for many reasons. Not only should you be resting when you have an injury in order to prevent it from getting worse, but you should rest periodically throughout your training season in order to lower the risk of injury, promote muscle rejuvenation, and encourage energy restoration.