A Dynamic Warm-Up followed by Sled Runs, extensive core training, Tire Flips and timed sprints on the Real Runner machine: Patrick Chung’s movement prep and core warm-up might be harder than your entire workout.
“When we’re done with that, we’ll go through an extensive lift of eight to 10 exercises,” Chung says. “A lot of Olympic lifts: Power Cleans, Hang Snatch, some Single-Leg Squats. We’re doing something explosive every day.”
And that, in essence, is why the New England Patriots safety is at the pinnacle of his game in just his third NFL season.
In case you didn't notice, the common thread in his warm-up and the foundation of each and every Chung training session is core work. “A strong core is what keeps your speed up, keeps you running faster for a longer time,” he says. “Your core, glutes and all the small muscles that you don’t normally focus on make a huge difference when it comes to fast-twitch movements.
“My motto is, ‘If you can run forever, you can play forever,’” he proclaims.
Performing exercises in circuit fashion also adds a conditioning element, elevating his heart rate, so Chung is better able to handle the workload of heavy lifts such as Cleans, Snatches and other power movements.
Try the following Chung-approved circuit three times through, with limited rest between sets. [Chung often works the speed bag as active rest between circuits.]
Rotational Rope Row
Reps: 6-8 each side
Chung: “It’s hard just to hold yourself up. Start on the ground first and advance to the bench. Adding the bench makes it harder, because your body is at more of an angle and you’re going down lower. It’s pretty much all core and upper body power to pull yourself back up to start position.”
Benefits: “This helps with tackling, taking on blocks, shedding blocks and having that body control to stay at the edge.”
Real Runner Sprints
Duration: 10-15 seconds
Chung: “The Real Runner hurts, man [laughs], especially when the resistance is turned up. We’ll go 10 to 15 seconds. I just run until he says stop. I’m not worried about the time; if you worry about the time, then you’re waiting for it to be over and it feels like it’ll never stop.”
Benefits: “That’s for running form, hitting your full stride: knees all the way up, legs all the way back. You’re under resistance the whole time, which is going to make you more explosive.”
Chung: “This just kills your legs. Your core has to be tight to be able to explode up with power. It’s painful work but it helps a lot.”
Benefits: “This helps with explosion and endurance. It gets your quads, hamstrings and all the smaller muscles in your legs.”
Hanging Core Stability Holds
Duration: 12 seconds
Chung: “You lift your legs and put your body in a position where your core is tight, your abs are flexed, and you’re just keeping everything tight. It’s all body strength and body control.”
Benefits: “You have to have body control to be able to stop on a dime. You’re using your abs and all the small core muscles to explode out of your break, fight off the receiver, and go up and get the ball.”
Photos: Dave Arnold // Dave Arnold Photography
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