Try Ben Watson's Football-Specific Exercises to Build Upper-Body Strength

November 1, 2011

Cleveland Browns tight end Ben Watson never has a dull day in the weight room. That's because Tim Slominsky, general  manager of Euphoria Fitness, where Watson trains, keeps things interesting with creative new exercise techniques that build solid upper-body strength.

Slominsky takes traditional upper-body exercises and tweaks them to prepare Watson for game situations. For example, he prescribes the Lat Pulldown, [creating] resistance with the bands, but adds a three-second isometric hold at the bottom to promote extra strength that allows Watson to secure the football when defenders try to knock it loose. The resistance band in place of a traditional cable bar gives Watson a different feel for a common—but extremely beneficial—exercise for building back strength.

Even for the venerable One-Arm Dumbbell Row, Slominsky found a way to add a twist. He says, “I like doing the One-Arm Dumbbell Row because it takes stability away. You can add a band to it or you can smack the back of his arm." Smacking the back of Watson's arm mimics how his opponents smash into him on the field. The 6'3" 225-pound juggernaut from Georgia must hold on to the dumbbell like he would a football.

Add these upper-body strength exercises to your workout for a functional blend of old and new techniques. And check out the rest of Ben Watson’s workout to see how the beast gets it done.

Perform the following exercises in circuit fashion.

Lat Pulldown With Resistance Band

  • Wrap resistance band around straight bar
  • Keep lower back flat, head back, chest up and butt out
  • Lean back 45 degrees
  • Pull bar down to chest
  • Hold for three seconds

Reps/Sets: 4x12

One-Arm DB Row

  • Keep butt and chest out
  • Maintain straight line from head to core

Reps/Sets: 4x12 each arm

Joe Baur
- Joe Baur is a certified personal trainer with a bachelor's degree in mass communication from Miami University [Oxford, OH]. He became certified with the National...
Joe Baur
- Joe Baur is a certified personal trainer with a bachelor's degree in mass communication from Miami University [Oxford, OH]. He became certified with the National...

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