Football fans will have to wait a couple more weeks before they get to see Myles Garrett unleash his talents on the NFL.
The Cleveland Browns rookie defensive end with a physique like Lou Ferrigno sustained a high ankle sprain shortly before week 1 which is expected to keep him sidelined another two to four weeks. But when he returns, expect some fireworks. Garrett has been training for his NFL debut since he was in high school, and he’s molded himself into a football player with stunning brute strength and remarkable athleticism.
Shortly before Garrett reported to training camp, STACK caught up with him to witness one of his workouts. Steal some of his moves, and you’ll be on your way to serious gains.
Bent-Over Barbell Rows help Garrett build the pulling strength and stability needed to toss offensive linemen around like rag dolls. ”First, I’m going to attack [the lineman] because I don’t know if it’s a pass or a run,” Garrett says. “[Then] I’ve got to be able to get him off me, and that’s where this comes in.”
How To: Start with your feet hip-width apart and the barbell over your feet. Bend down and grasp the bar with a shoulder-width overhand grip. Keeping your core tight and back flat, pull your shoulders back to initiate the row and drive your elbows back. The bar should touch or almost touch your body under your chest. It’s OK to use a slight rock to initiate the movement. Lower the bar with control until your arms are straight and return to the starting position. Keep your core tight and back flat throughout the movement.
The Landmine Press and Catch is a more explosive version of the traditional Landmine Press. Tossing the barbell up into the air requires more power than simply pressing it. Catching and controlling the barbell with your other hand during its descent requires greater core stability than most other pressing variations. “I’ve got to be able to press people out of my gap,” Garrett says. “One of my moves is the long arm. So the first thing I’m going to do is come off for two steps, then stab him under his armpit or in his chest to get him off me. I’ve got to be able to hold [him] there.”
How To: Start with your feet hip-width apart and bend your hips and knees to assume an athletic position. Keep your core tight and back flat. Explosively press the angled barbell and release it. Your opposite arm should be extended and prepared to catch the barbell. Carefully catch the barbell with your opposite hand, guiding it down to just above your shoulder. Then explosively press the angled barbell back to the other side. Continue alternating until the set is complete. Make sure to start off with a light load, adding weight only after you’ve mastered the movement.
Sets/Reps: 3×8-12 total reps
You don’t get shoulders the size of boulders without including some type of Shrug in your routine. But Dumbbell Shrugs aren’t just about aesthetics. This exercise targets the trapezius muscles, or traps. Stronger traps help the shoulders hold up against violent blows while also keeping the neck more secure during contact. Such things will benefit Garrett as he battles in the smashmouth trenches of the AFC North.
How To: Start with a dumbbell of equal weight in each hand by your side. Lift the dumbbells as high as possible by elevating your shoulders toward your ears. Briefly hold the Shrug before lowering to the starting position.
Half-Kneeling Rotational Med Ball Slams are an awesome exercise for building core strength and stability. To reach his full athletic potential, Garrett must be able to transfer the energy created by his powerful lower half into his upper body. If his core isn’t strong enough to transfer that energy, his performance will suffer. “Med Ball Slams take stability in your core. The core is where everything comes from. Once [the core] gets tired, everything breaks down,” Garrett says.
How To: Begin in a half-kneeling position with the med ball on one side of you. Keeping your core tight, and your torso and lower body stable, bring the med ball overhead. Forcefully slam the med ball into the ground on your opposite side. Catch the ball and continue alternating back and forth. Once you’ve completed half of the set, switch knees and finish the set.
Sets/Reps: 4×10 total reps
Jumping Med Ball Slams are an intense exercise that allow Garrett to unleash his inner beast. I thought that poor med ball might travel straight through the ground to China. Like Half-Kneeling Rotational Med Ball Slams, Jumping Med Ball Slams also work on transferring energy through the core. However, they also add an element of triple-extension training.
How-To: Begin in an athletic position with the med ball held down by your knees. Bring the ball overhead and extend your hips, knees and ankles to jump into the air. As you come back to earth, slam the med ball into the ground with as much force as possible while also landing softly. Catch the ball off the bounce and repeat until the set is complete.
Battle ropes are a great way to build upper-body strength and endurance while also recruiting your core. Battle Rope Alternating Waves build quick hands and can tire you out in a hurry. “Rope work really feels like conditioning for your arms so they won’t get worn down over the course of a game,” Garrett says.
How To: Anchor a battle rope to a fixed object. Grab the ends of the rope with your palms facing in. Stand facing the anchor in an athletic position. Raise one arm to shoulder level, then quickly lower it back to starting position while simultaneously raising your opposite arm to shoulder level. Keep your elbows tight to your sides and your core tight as you wave the ropes. Alternate as quickly as you can without losing form and don’t let the ropes touch the ground.
Sets/Reps: 3×30 seconds
For the Body Control Tennis Ball Drill, you’ll need to leave the weight room and get on the field. To be a great pass rusher in the NFL, you must be able to bend. Bend refers to the ability to get underneath and around a blocker while simultaneously curving toward the quarterback’s “spot” (the point where he intends to survey the field from). Despite Garrett’s massive 6-foot-4, 272-pound frame, he displayed extraordinary bend during the preseason. This drill works on the fluidity, athleticism and balance needed to hone this skill. “I’m trying to master my athleticism,” Garrett says. “I never know how great I can really be if I don’t attack every single drill as hard as I can.”
How To: Watching the video will help you get the best sense of how to set up for this one. Once you have the proper setup, begin by sprinting out of your starting stance. Decelerate at the cone and lean into your turn. Pick up the tennis ball (in stride, if possible) and sprint around the remaining cones.
Sets/Reps: 5 reps on each side