Use these NFL-style strength training exercises to build explosive strength, develop incomparable stamina, and sculpt lean muscles fit for a pro athlete.
9 Hard-Core NFL-Style Strength Training Exercises
Alternating Grip Definition: It’s a type of grip where one hand’s palm is facing you and the other isn’t. Powerlifters use it to maximize their strength.
1. Barbell Squats
Barbell squats are among the top three best compound exercises for overall strength. Apart from building leg muscle mass, these strength-training exercises help improve your lower body balance and power. A few months of some solid barbell squats may help you sculpt quads that can withstand heavy tackles on the field.
- Stand in front of a squat rack, place your feet shoulder-width apart, and keep your arms at the sides.
- Place the barbell across your traps and grip them tight.
- Lower your body down by pushing your glutes back and bending your knees until they hit 90 degrees.
- From there, drive your heels through the ground to push yourself back up.
- This counts as one rep. Do three to four sets of 12 to 15 reps.
2. Bench Press
To become an NFL player, athletes need to build a solid pair of pecs that can take a beating, and the bench press can help you with that. While you may not aim to become a professional football player, you can still develop the upper body mass and strength of one with the bench press. Remember to contract and squeeze your pecs with every rep you push out.
- Lie down on the bench with the bar aligned with your chin.
- Grip the bar as tight as you can then unload it from the rack.
- Lower the weights down all the way to your chest. Remember not to drop it on your pecs. Rather, use your muscles to slowly lower the weight down.
- Next, push the weight up as hard as you can.
- Do three to four sets of 12 to 15 reps.
Tip: If you want to make things more challenging, try doing the bench press with a pair of resistance bands tied around your arms. The weight of the barbell paired with the bands’ resistance is exactly what you need to break your PR.
The deadlift is a hardcore move that works more muscle groups than any compound exercise does. It strengthens your grip, builds leg muscles, and even improves posture. If you want to tackle harder than you’ve ever tackled before, then this exercise is perfect for you.
Important: Remember to observe proper form when busting out deadlifts. Incorrect posture may lead to back injuries. Also, make sure to do some dynamic stretching exercises to enhance flexibility and muscle power.
- Stand in front of a loaded bar on the ground. Your feet should be slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Squat down and grasp the bar with an alternating grip.
- Keep your back straight and thighs parallel to the floor. Also, your shoulders should form a straight line down to your knees.
- Drive your heels through the ground to lift the weight up until the bar passes your knees.
- Push your chest out as you hold the weight.
- Slowly lower the weight back down.
- Do three to four sets of 5 to 7 reps.
4. Mountain Climbers
This HIIT exercise triggers fat-loss while improving overall strength. Mountain climbers target your core while working your lower body muscles at the same time. It’s the perfect exercise to train you to do harder, longer sprints.
- Assume a push-up position with your hands beneath your shoulders and legs straight behind you.
- Pull your right knee toward your chest while keeping your left leg straight.
- Next, quickly kick your right leg back while simultaneously pulling your left knee in.
- Alternate between your right and left leg.
- Do as many as you can in 60 seconds, rest, and then perform two more 60-second sets for a total of three rounds.
Burpees are some of the best hardcore strength training exercises at home. All you really need for this HIIT exercise is your body and some free space. If done properly, it can improve your endurance and explosive strength. This is perfect for running backs who need to sprint all throughout a game.
- Stand upright with your arms at the sides and feet shoulder-width apart.
- Bend down to a half-squat position then quickly drop your hands on the ground.
- Kick your feet back to assume a push-up position, then quickly draw them back in toward your chest.
- From that position, jump up as high as you can while throwing your arms over your head.
- Do three to four sets of 20 reps.
Tip: The goal of this exercise is to perform each move as quickly and explosively as possible.
6. Sled Push
NFL athletes know the importance of the sled push. It’s basically training you to push heavy objects forward as hard and fast as you can. The sled push is the perfect workout to improve overall strength and endurance.
- Load the pushing sled with as much weight as you want. We suggest starting with a volume you’re comfortable with to prevent back pain.
- Bend down, push your hips back, grip the bars as tight as you can, and start pushing forward.
- Do three sets of 60-second pushes.
7. Romanian Deadlift
To build a solid pair of legs, you need to train your hamstrings as well. We see too many gym-goers ignoring their hammies. While squats and deadlifts work them, you need a strength training exercise that isolates this muscle group, such as the Romanian deadlift.
- Stand in front of a loaded barbell, place your feet shoulder-width apart, and keep your arms at the sides.
- Squat down and lift the weight up past your knees. This will be your starting position.
- Push your hips back as far as you can while keeping your back straight. Imagine you’re trying to touch the wall with your butt.
- Drive your hips back to the starting position.
- Perform three to four sets of 5 to 7 reps.
No list of strength training exercises is complete without this all-time favorite. Push-ups are solid bodyweight exercises you can do anytime and anywhere you want to. Whether you’re at home or at the gym, all you really need is your body. They stimulate muscle growth without sacrificing your flexibility. If you’re training for athletic performance, you wouldn’t want to compromise your functional strength for muscle mass.
- Lie on the floor face down then prop yourself up with your arms extended underneath your shoulders, hands shoulder-width apart, and legs straight behind you.
- Lower your body down until your chest is just a few inches away from the floor.
- Push up as hard as you can by driving the palms of your hands through the floor. Keep your back straight all throughout the exercise.
- Do three sets of as many high-quality reps as you can.
9. Box Jumps
Box jumps work every single muscle group in your lower body. Your calves, hamstrings, quads, and glutes will all work together so you can propel yourself up as high as you can. They’re great for increasing lean muscle mass and improving lower body strength. It gives your muscles the training it needs to jump higher and tackle harder than ever before.
- Stand in front of a platform. The higher it is, the harder it will be for you.
- Keep your arms at the sides, feet shoulder-width apart, and knees relaxed.
- Breathe in then jump onto the platform while swinging your arms for momentum.
- Step down from the platform.
- Do three sets of as many reps as you can.
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These are just some of the best strength training exercises for you to do. The goal is to perform compound exercises that work multiple muscle groups at the same time. Pair these workouts with a solid diet plan of healthy fats, carbs, and of course, protein to maximize the results. Create a solid exercise routine that suits your goals, lifestyle, and needs, then commit to it, no excuses!
What are your favorite strength training exercises? Share them with us in the comments section below!
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