How Chicago Bears LB Shea McClellin Got Ripped

May 13, 2014

Look at any NFL team and you’ll see players of many different shapes and sizes. Why the disparity? Every position has specific demands, so players must optimize their bodies for their roles on the field.

So, imagine what it’s like to change positions after spending the majority of your career specializing. Ask Shea McClellin, because after two seasons at defensive end for the Chicago Bears, he is switching to linebacker.

Defensive ends are among the largest players on the field. They need extra bulk to tangle with offensive linemen. But linebackers are strong, lean and quick. So in addition to learning his new position, McClellin had to transform his body this off-season.

To do this, he trained with Scot Prohaska, a nationally recognized sports performance consultant. The transformation was remarkable.

RELATED: Scot Prohaska's Brutal Barbell Complex 

Making the Switch

“When Shea came to me, he was 266 pounds and 17.5-percent body fat,” Prohaska says. Those stats put McClellin slightly above average for defensive ends, but he was far too heavy to play linebacker, hampering the need to be quick.

“In my research, I’ve found that for every one percent reduction in body fat, you have a three percent increase in speed,” says Prohaska. “So getting lean was a priority because it instantly makes him faster.”

Nutrition became a focus for McClellin, because you can’t out-train a bad diet.

“The first thing I noticed was he is storing tons of fat in his belly,” says Prohaska. “That tells me right away that he’s not managing his carbohydrate and blood sugar very well. So we modified his carb intake and timing. And we cleaned up the quality of his food, so he was eating organic foods and grass-fed meats."

But, McClellin also needed to get stronger. “Shea’s plyometric work was unbelievable. He can get around in space like crazy,” Prohaska says. “But he couldn’t lift a lot of weight maximally.”

McClellin wanted make an impression on his teammates by showing that he put in the work needed to succeed at his new position. “One of his main goals was to get validation from one of the veteran guys that they can trust him at his new position,” Prohaska says.

WATCH: Patrick Willis' Strength Training Superset

The Workout Plan

Prohaska devised a plan to meet McClellin’s goals in 10 weeks, which is a relatively short amount of time for a complete body transformation. It featured four training days per week:

  • Monday – Upper-body strength/mass
  • Tuesday – Lower-body strength/mass
  • Wednesday – Active recovery (massage, sauna, etc.)
  • Thursday – Upper-body power
  • Friday – Lower-body power
  • Saturday – Active recovery (massage, sauna, etc.)

In addition to weight room work, Prohaska prescribed a speed workout for each training day. “I taught him how to drop his hips and get the right angle to change directions properly,” he says. “It showed him how to take advantage of his new strength.”

The Results

Prohaska says McClellin weighed in at OTAs at 253 pounds and 9.5 percent body fat. That’s a 45 percent drop in body fat and 11 pounds of new muscle—in only 10 weeks.

His transformation was so dramatic that Bears GM Phil Emery said, ‘‘He looks like an extra from a Dolph Lundgren movie, doesn’t he?’’

Check out McClellin's before and after pictures, and view the above videos to watch McLellin’s workouts in action.

Shea McClellin's Physical Transformation

Want to try McLellin’s workout and transform your body? Click here for a 3-week sample of the program. Also, learn how to perform many of the unique exercises below.

Exercise Instructions

The unique exercises prescribed in McClellin’s workouts are explained below.

Foam Press – A Board Press, but with foam.

Prone Lateral Raise – Adjust a bench to a 35-degree incline and lie on it on your stomach. Hold the dumbbells with your arms below your shoulders. Pinch your shoulder blades together and raise the dumbbells to your sides until your arms are parallel to the ground.

Dumbbell Zottman Curl – Perform a Dumbbell Curl. At mid-rep, rotate your arms so your palms face the ground and lower the dumbbells to the start. Perform a second Curl with your palms facing down and rotate back to a standard curl position.

Snatch-Grip Deadlift – Hold the bar with a wide grip like you would use for a Snatch. Perform a Shrug at the top of each rep.

Low-Pulley Split-Squat – Assume a staggered stance with your right foot forward in front of a cable machine. Hold a cable handle with your left hand. Perform a Split-Squat.

Barbell Hip Bridge – A Glute Bridge, but with a barbell across your hips.

Pelvic Tilts – Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the ground. Depress your lower back to the floor to tilt your hips.

Iso-Pause Dumbbell Rows – Perform two Dumbbell Rows. Pause at the middle of the second rep and hold for the specified time. Continue this pattern for the remainder of the set.

Single-Arm Braced Dumbbell Shoulder Press – Perform a Dumbbell Shoulder Press with one arm and support your body with your opposite arm.

Bowler Squats – Stand on one leg. Bend at your hip and reach down and across your body with your opposite arm.

Low-Pulley Hip Pull-Throughs – Adjust a cable machine to its lowest height. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your back facing a cable machine. Hinge at your hips to bend over and grasp a rope attachment. Forcefully extend your hips to stand up straight.

Plank with Band Rows – Assume a plank position in front of a resistance band attached to a pole or rack. Hold the resistance band with your arm straight. Perform a Row.

Source: Chicago Sun-Times 


Andy Haley
- Andy Haley is the Performance Director at STACK. A certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), he received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Miami...
Andy Haley
- Andy Haley is the Performance Director at STACK. A certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), he received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Miami...
Must See
Abby Wambach Will Do Whatever It Takes
Views: 4,462,236
RGIII Talks About His Legacy
Views: 25,475,477
Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds
Views: 37,127,207

Featured Videos

A Day in the Life of NBA D-League Star Seth Curry Views: 69,070
Kevin Love's Cone Hop Basketball Shooting Drill Views: 9,456
Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 2: Laying the Groundwork Views: 133,452
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

Perfect Dwyane Wade's Signature Euro Step
Views: 1,308,880
What Ryan Hall Eats for Breakfast
Views: 795,300
STACK Fitness Weekly: How To Do a Muscle-Up
Views: 778,676
Greg Nixon's Hill Training Program
Views: 705,782
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,561,942

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

What You Need to Know about Fats

What Are Fats: What You Need to Know This article is the second installment of our 3 part series on the different macronutrients. Part 1 was a detailed...

Feed for Speed: 5 Foods and Supplements That Make You Faster

Macronutrients, Part I: Carbohydrates

Why Your Gut Might Be the Most Important Part of Your Body

The Soccer Tournament Nutrition Checklist

How 100 Pro Athletes Like Their Eggs

Avoid Pigging Out: How to Conquer Food Cravings

Bone Broth Breakdown: Should You Eat This 'Super' Soup'?

Are Chokeberries the Next Super Food for Athletes?

Cheerios With Quinoa: Coming Soon to a Grocery Store Near You

Are 'Healthy Chips' Really Healthy? 5 Popular Options Examined

Surprising Muscle-Building Snacks

Fuel Up for Soccer Like the U.S. Women's National Team

Game-Day Nutrition for Soccer Players

Russell Wilson Wants You to 'Eat the Ball'

Eat Like a Champion, Part 2: How to Lose Fat Safely

How and Why to Eat Mindfully

Performance-Boosting Snacks with a Satisfying Crunch

Study Ranks Paleo As Second-Worst Diet

Is It Okay to Eat the Same Thing Every Day?

5 Changes Fast-Food Restaurants Are Making to Become Healthier

Why Every Athlete Should Drink Tea

Fuel Your Performance with Peas

How to Turn Nutrition Goals Into Actions

What You Need to Know About Protein

How Can Zero-Calorie Diet Soda Be Bad for You?

Types of Yogurt: What's New and What's Best for Athletes

Simple Nutrition Tips for Faster Workout Gains

The Nutrition That Powers Joe Thomas's Iron-Man Streak

3 Tips to Eat Healthy on a Budget

How to Build a Meal Plan to Suit Your Body Type

Why Are People Drinking Charcoal?

Big Breakfast, Small Breakfast, No Breakfast: Which Is Best?

The Right Way to Gain Weight During the Off-Season

8 Recovery Foods Recommended by Sport Dietitians

Halftime Snacks for Quick Refueling

Why Chicken Soup Strengthens Your Immune System

4 Endomorph Diet Strategies to Accelerate Fat Loss

Post-Holiday Chocolate Health Benefits

Eat Like a Champion, Part 3: Post-Workout Nutrition

12 Grab-and-Go High Protein Snacks