Just because it’s the off-season doesn’t mean the NFL’s elite players aren’t still getting after it in the gym or on the field. They say football is a year-round sport, and keeping yourself in top shape during the off months is essential if you want to come into training camp or practice with a leg up on the competition. But without coaches guiding you in the locker room or giving you a plan to follow, it can be difficult to figure out what to do on your own time. Fortunately, NFL players love to post their workout techniques to social media for your viewing pleasure. Here are five drills and exercises you can take from some of the NFL’s best to stay sharp this summer.
1. Andrew Hawkins’ Insane Footwork Drill
It’s OK if you can’t go through this speed ladder and cone drill as fast as Cleveland Browns wide receiver Andrew Hawkins does in the above video. No one can. That dude is like Superman with Flash’s feet. But the concept is the same. The speed ladder is a fantastic tool for taking your footwork to the next level; and countless NFL players, from All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson to Dallas Cowboys safety J.J. Wilcox, speak about how much it helps them. Toward the end of the drill, while maneuvering through a series of cones, Hawkins throws in some mini-hurdles, a helpful twist that you can add to your speed workout.
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2. J.J. Watt’s Box Jump
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Look, you’re not going to be able to nail a 61-inch Box Jump. You aren’t J.J. Watt. Not to mention, Watt’s form in the video is less than desirable. Performing your own Box Jump on a smaller box but with perfect form will provide bigger benefits, like strengthening your legs and improving your explosiveness.
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3. Donte Whitner’s Tennis Ball Hand/Eye Coordination Exercise
The Cleveland Browns safety is well known for trucking people like you do in Madden, except in real life. But his hand/eye coordination play a big part in allowing the All-Pro heavy hitter to wrap up opponents. During a recent workout, Whitner practiced catching a tennis ball in one hand, throwing it back, then catching it with the other, as a partner did the same right next to him. The tennis balls flying around all over the place force Whitner to hone in on catching the ones coming his way.
4. Travis Kelce’s Battling Ropes
If you’re looking to boost your heart rate while engaging your core in an extremely simple way, do what Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce does: Get yourself some battling ropes. Using these bad boys engages almost every part of your body, from your arms to your legs to your hamstrings to your back. If you want to dial it up a notch, throw in a Split Squat, like Kelce does in the video above. You’ll feel it the next day, but in the best way possible.
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5. Colin Kaepernick’s Farmer’s Walk With Chains
Another simple but effective exercise to bolster your strength is the Farmer’s Walk. Whether you perform it with dumbbells or with the enormous things San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is holding, gripping something heavy and walking over a specified distance will engage and strengthen essential football muscles. Your shoulders, back, biceps and triceps will all be firing. If you want to add extra resistance, throw some chains over your torso like Kaepernick. After a few weeks of these, you’ll feel light as a feather out on the field.
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