You’re never too old to learn something new, as Herschel Walker proved during his workout at D1-Savannah this past Saturday, May 14. In fact, Walker’s passion for learning has been a defining quality of his athletic career.
The former Heisman Trophy winner was an All-American sprinter at the University of Georgia, a member of the U.S. bobsled team at the 1992 Winter Olympics and a black belt in Taekwondo—all before he retired from the NFL in 1997.
Reflecting on his early career, Walker says, “Athletes have to take responsibility for what they do. Everyone is not going to be a great athlete, but why not be the best that you can be? The way that starts is by working out and building a foundation.”
Walker was building another foundation during his workout at D1-Savannah. Kurt Hester, D1's national director of training, says, "He wants to learn more about training and how he has to train for a fight." Yes, that's correct; Walker, who already owns a 2-0 record as a mixed martial arts fighter, is preparing for his third Strikeforce match.
Just how old is Walker? “I’m older than the average bear,” he proclaims. If that’s the case, the 49-year-old looked like a grizzly as he performed Sled Pulls, Sledgehammer Hits and Tire Flips alongside Hester.
“Some of the exercises we did are things I did as kid, but I didn’t have the proper technique when doing it,” Walker says. “I used to pull a tire [and] chop wood all the time as a kid. Now, [Hester] is showing me the proper way of doing it.”
Walker is what you call “country strong.” In his youth, moving heavy objects and swinging a sledgehammer were not part of his workout program. They were part of his way of life in the rural confines of Wrightsville, Ga., located in the heart of the Peach State.
“When I was growing up, I was what people called ‘big-boned,’ or what I called fat,” Walker says. “One summer, I decided enough was enough. I went out and got books on fitness, and that whole summer I dedicated myself to working out.”
Here was the source of Walker’s legendary training regimen. For years, folks read tales of his extraordinary workout routines: 1,000 Push-Ups and 2,000 Sit-Ups every morning and afternoon.
Training at D1-Savannah was different. Walker worked through a low-intensity metabolic conditioning circuit, created by Hester to teach him the how and why behind his training. But fans who gathered around the outdoor turf area got what they came for when Walker slipped off his shirt, dropped down and busted a set of Push-Ups, executing each rep with flawless perfection.
Herschel Walker talks training with Kurt Hester.
Walker and Hester perform Plate Carries.
Iron sharpens iron: Walker embraces Hester after knocking out the third and final round of the circuit.
Photos: Dave Kiss