The Training Behind Super Bowl XLIX

Discover the exercises that top players in Super Bowl XLIX perform to improve their performance on the field.

The New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks boast rosters full of talented players. But all the talent in the world wouldn't do the athletes much good if they didn't put in work in the weight room and take care of their bodies.

Here are 12 exercises athletes from the Patriots and Seahawks have performed to train their bodies and ultimately help them get to Super Bowl XLIX.

New England Patriots 

 

Tom Brady: The Fogel Drill

Tom Brady is not known for his speed, but last off-season, he made a commitment to get faster. Under the guidance of renowned throwing coach Tom House, Brady performed the Fogel Drill, designed to improve his footwork and balance, which in turn improves his throwing mechanics when on the move and allows him to get extra zip on the ball because he is more stable and can drive through the ground.

How to:

  • Set up 2 to 4 cones on the field where a wide receiver would typically catch a pass from you. These are your targets.
  • As a partner calls out each movement, either shuffle laterally, sprint forward or backpedal, changing direction as quickly as possible.
  • On your partner's signal, throw a simulated pass (no ball) to the target he specifies.
  • Continue moving through the drill and throwing simulated passes for 30 seconds.

Devin McCourty: Mirror Drill

Devin McCourty performs the Mirror Drill with his twin brother Jason. This improves his agility and helps him better shadow his opponent—a critical skill needed as a safety.

How to:

  • Set up three cones in a straight line equal distance apart over 5 yards.
  • Stand facing a partner at the first cone.
  • Have your partner shuffle from cone to cone, randomly changing directions.

Sets/Reps: 1x2

Nate Solder: Physioball Plank Perturbations

Nate Solder is tasked with protecting Brady's blind side from hulking linemen and speedy linebackers. Physioball Plank Perturbations strengthen his core muscles so he is balanced and stable when opponents try to knock him out of position on the field.

How to:

  • Assume a plank position with your hands on a physioball.
  • Tighten your abs and keep your body in a straight line. Don't let your lower back sag.
  • Have a partner slightly tap the physioball in random directions as you fight to maintain the plank position.
  • Continue for the remainder of the set.

Sets/Duration: 2-3x30 seconds

WATCH: Nate Solder's Path to the Pros

Patrick Chung: Rotational Rope Row

Patrick Chung's challenging core move makes him a more physical player on the field. "This helps with tackling, taking on blocks, shedding blocks and having that body control to stay at the edge," says Chung.

How to: 

  • Standing on a bench, grasp ropes affixed to the top of a Power Rack.
  • Lean forward, rotate your upper body to the right and lower toward the ground while maintaining body control.
  • Rotate your upper body, lowering until your back is just above ground and your arms are extended overhead.
  • Engage your core and upper body to explosively pull your body up to start position.
  • Perform on opposite side; repeat.

Sets/Reps: 2-3x6-8 each side

Darrelle Revis: Gassers

Revis makes conditioning a priority. When playing man coverage, typically against the opposing team's best receiver, he needs to be able to keep up on every play. If Revis's endurance fails even once, the offense could capitalize with a game-changing play.

How to:

  • Stand on the sideline facing the opposite sideline.
  • Sprint to the opposite sideline, or 54 yards.
  • Sprint back to the starting sideline.
  • Repeat once more to complete one rep.

Sets/Reps: 7-8x1

Julian Edelman: 45-Degree Single-Leg Hops

One of the shiftiest players on the field, Edelman can explode from side-to-side to elude defenders. He improves this skill by performing exercises that increase his lateral, lower-body power.

How to:

  • Set up six cones in a diagonal course, about 2.5 yards apart.
  • Starting at the first cone, explode off your outside leg to hop at a 45-degree angle toward the next cone.
  • Land with a slightly bent knee and immediately hop off your outside leg to the next cone.
  • Repeat at each cone.

Sets/Reps: 3-4x6

Rob Gronkowski: Standing Med Ball Press

As a self-proclaimed "bro," Gronk loves the Bench Press. He also needs to be powerful in an athletic position, not pressing off his back, so he performs the Standing Med Ball Press. This simulates how he'd drive his hands into an opponent to block or get separation.

How to:

  • Holding a med ball at your chest, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent.
  • Have a partner stand 5 yards in front of you.
  • Keeping your core tight, drive your arms forward to throw the med ball to your partner.
  • Your partner catches the ball and throws it back to you.
  • Catch the med ball and immediately repeat.

Sets/Reps: 2-3x5

Seattle Seahawks

Russell Wilson: Explosive Step-Ups

Russell Wilson eludes defenders and explosively sprints out of the pocket thanks to his lower-body power. Explosive Step-Ups work one leg at a time, so he can move to his left or right equally effectively. 

How to:

  • Stand 6 inches in front of a knee-high box or bench with your right foot fully on the box.
  • Contract your right quad and glute to explosively drive your body up.
  • Drive your left knee up until your thigh is parallel to ground.
  • Bend your right knee and hip to lower your left leg to the ground and return to the starting position.
  • Repeat for specified reps; perform on opposite leg.
Sets/Reps: 3-4x5 each leg

Marshawn Lynch: Resisted Sprints

Lynch's renowned "Beast Mode" runs are truly spectacular. His powerful legs keep churning as opponents attempt, but fail, to take him down. This drill improves his lower-body power, which increases his overall speed and helps him drive through defenders.

How to:

  • Attach a resistance harness to your waist with the resistance cord behind your back. Have a partner hold the cord.
  • Sprint forward, keeping your body in a forward lean to drive back through the ground. Your partner should provide enough resistance so that you can slowly move forward.
  • Continue for the specified distance.

Sets/Distance: 4-5x15 yards

Richard Sherman: Four-Cone Backpedal Drill

Quarterbacks rarely target receivers covered by Sherman. That's because he uses his speed to cover a receiver during his entire route. The Four-Cone Backpedal Drill increases Sherman's forward and backward speed and his transition, so he can make snap adjustments and always maintain his defensive position.

How to:

  • Set up four cones in a straight line equal distant apart over 7.5 yards.
  • Stand next to the first cone with the course behind you.
  • Backpedal to the second cone. Stop and sprint back to the first one.
  • Repeat the pattern to each cone.

Sets/Reps: 4-5x1

Earl Thomas: Tire Flips

Earl Thomas patrols the Seahawks' defensive backfield with ferocity, dishing out crushing blows. Tire Flips train the muscles he uses to tackle, helping him put more force into the ground to drive forward into his opponents, wrap them up and bring them to the field. 

How to:

  • Squat down and get solid grip with your hands under the tire.
  • Drive through your heels, extending your hips, knees and ankles.
  • Forcefully shrug your shoulders and catch the tire at shoulder level.
  • Keeping forward momentum, push through with your arms to flip the tire.
  • Repeat for specified reps.

Sets/Reps: 3x5-10 

The Entire Seahawks Team: Yoga 

It was reported that the entire Super Bowl XLVIII-winning Seattle Seahawks team does yoga as part of its training routine. It may sound counterintuitive to traditional styles of training for football, but yoga is becoming more and more popular in the athlete community.

Read 9 Myths About Yoga, Busted.

 

 

 

 

 


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: FOOTBALL | PHYSIOBALL | MARSHAWN LYNCH | POWER | TRAIN | MED BALL | PRESS | SPRINT | THROW | DRILL | CONES | RECEIVER