Regeneration: The Secret Behind Pro Football Players' Longevity

November 27, 2012 | Roy Holmes

Must See Flexibility Videos

Have you ever wondered how some great professional football players play past their so-called career average? You may think they have some secret formula for success that only millions of dollars can buy. I am here to inform you that a simple technique called regeneration—"regen" for short—is the key to their longevity.

By definition, regeneration is the act or process of regenerating or the state of being regenerated. What does this mean for athletes? They cannot give their max effort if their bodies do not have time to recover.

At Athletes' Performance, we train our athletes on average for three to four hours a day. We expect them to be at their best each day, which is asking a lot. (Check out AP's Combine Training.) However, we don't assume they will miraculously perform at peak levels, which is why regen is such a big part of our program.

We schedule regen workouts twice a week to give our athletes' bodies the opportunity to bounce back. In addition, we include some type of recovery during each daily training session. And it’s not just about training either. Proper nutrition and sleep also facilitate better recovery. (Learn three performance-enhancing smoothie recipes.) The end result: Our athletes are positioned to perform at their peak and reap maximum gains from their training programs.

Here are some ways that we use regeneration techniques to help our athletes recover, improve their performance and help them feel better for the upcoming season.

Trigger Points: Pecs

During a training session the body is put under stress. This often produces trigger points, or what some call "knots." If you have a knot in your shoelace, you need to pinpoint the area and loosen the knot, not simply pull harder. That is how trigger point therapy works—in contrast to static stretching.

Starting Point

Lie on your stomach with a tennis ball under one of your pecs.


Adjust the position of the ball until you find a sore spot. Roll slowly over this area for 60 to 90 seconds.

You Should Feel

An eventual release, similar to a deep tissue massage.

Mobility: 90/90 Stretch

After your trigger point work is complete, your body will feel looser and less resistant to movement. This is the best time to improve mobility. I'm not talking about increasing the flexibility of one specific muscle. Mobility refers to the range of motion at a particular joint or area of the body.

Starting Point

Lie on left side with legs together, knees bent to 90 degrees and pad or towel between knees. Extend arms straight out in front of chest.


Rotate chest and right arm to the right and place shoulder, then back of hand on ground. Keep pressure on pad/towel throughout movement and do not rotate hips. Rotate back to starting position.

You Should Feel

A stretch through your torso and your upper back.

Sets/Reps: 2-3x6 each side

Foam Rolling: Desired Areas

If you are preparing a pizza, you must knead the dough and roll it before it can be stretched. It's the same with muscles. Our muscles are covered by tissue called fascia. Think of it as like a plastic bag over a chicken breast. If you were to massage the bag, you would have to dig pretty deep to affect the chicken.

Foam rollers are effective because you roll a muscle repeatedly under your body weight to break up adhesions. This enhances recovery and improves overall mobility. Find out how to foam roll here.

Flexibility: Hip Stretch

Flexibility is key for any athlete, but don't confuse it with mobility. Flexibility has more to do with the elasticity of a particular muscle group.

Starting Point

Lie on your back and wrap a rope or band around one foot.


Keeping opposite toes pointed up, slowly pull foot with rope across your body. Exhale and hold the stretch for 2 seconds.

Sets/Reps: 1x10 each leg

You Should Feel

A stretch in the outside of the thigh of your roped leg.

Coaches always say, "I need you to give me 110%, and when that is gone, I need you to give me more." If you do not take care of your body, the "more" they're talking about will never be possible. Your body is your business, and if your body can't bounce back from training, your business will not be successful.

Learn more about Athletes’ Performance and the professional and elite athletes they support on STACK's Athletes’ Performance page.

Roy Holmes
- Roy Holmes is the performance manager and a performance specialist at Athletes’ Performance in Frisco, Texas, where he oversees the elite and college performance programs....
Roy Holmes
- Roy Holmes is the performance manager and a performance specialist at Athletes’ Performance in Frisco, Texas, where he oversees the elite and college performance programs....
Must See
Derrick Rose Explains How He Stays Positive
Views: 6,036,397
Skylar Diggins Attacks the Off-Season On and Off the Court
Views: 6,829,964
Brandon Jennings: "Always Improve"
Views: 4,232,968

Featured Videos

Get in Shape for Baseball With Austin Adams' Metabolic Conditioning Circuit Views: 2,372
A Day in the Life With Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Travis Kelce Views: 7,149
Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 4: Skill Training Views: 330,200
Load More


STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers


Latest issues of STACK Magazine


Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice


Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes


Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Paul Rabil's Box Jumps
Views: 848,711
Perfect Dwyane Wade's Signature Euro Step
Views: 1,309,063
Colin Kaepernick's Core Workout
Views: 883,469
Abby Wambach Will Do Whatever It Takes
Views: 4,541,559
Dwyane Wade Jumps Onto a 42" Box
Views: 10,741,217

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Increase Your Flexibility Without Stretching

Generally, the best athletes are more prone to injury. This is because they function at peak performance, the fine line between injury and optimal...

Are Tight Hips Slowing You Down?

You're Doing It Wrong: The Warm-Up

3 Tips To Make Your Stretching Routine More Effective

Stay Pain-Free With These Advanced Stretches

Animal Flow Scorpion Reach for Injury Prevention

Mobility Training for Hockey Goalies

Fundamentals of a Pre-Workout Warm-Up

Balance Exercises That Are Game-Changers

The Best Stretching Exercise for You

Why and When You Need to Change Your Pre-Game Warm-Up Routine

Improve Your Balance with Stability Ball Exercises

The Importance of Recovery Workouts

Dynamic Warm-Up Exercises Done the Right Way

Go the Distance With This Baseball Yoga Warm-Up

How to Release Muscle Knots and Trigger Points

Must-Have Additions to Your Baseball Stretching Routine

Build a More Powerful Golf Swing With These Mobility Drills

Green Bay Packers Discover Football's Fountain of Youth

Best Exercises for Improving Joint Mobility

Optimizing Energy Transfer in Your Lacrosse Shot

3 Exercises That Fix Common Baseball Hip Mobility Issues

Add Warrior Poses to Your In-Season Training

3 Yoga Twists to Keep You on the Field and Improve Your Game

Why You Shouldn't Stretch 24 Hours Before a Game

Improve Your Squat With 6 At-Home Hip Flexor Mobility Exercises

Pre-Workout Warm-Up Steps You Can't Afford to Skip

The Ultimate Pitcher's Warm-Up: 4 Shoulder Exercises with Bands

Dig Like a Pro: Exercises for Volleyball Mobility

How to Fix 4 Common Tight Areas in Your Body

The Most Important Muscle You've Never Heard Of

How Hockey Goalies Can Get More Flexible for a Better Butterfly

Dynamic Warm-Up Exercises for a Safe, Effective Workout

These 9 Exercises Will Improve Your Hip Mobility

The Yoga Warm-Up for Basketball Players

Find Your Effective Pregame Basketball Warm-Up

Reducing Tight Hamstrings without Stretching for Hockey Players

Flexibility for Cross Country From the Ground Up

6 Thoracic Spine Exercises to Improve Mobility