Train Like an NFL Pro: The Complete Guide

NFL players hold complete athleticism. They’re big, brawny and powerful.

Anyone who understands this demanding league knows it’s important for NFL pros to stay on top of their game – physically and mentally.  On the field, their body is the tool for the job they need to get done. To win, keep winning and make it to that all-important Super Bowl.

These players work hard all year round to keep performing at peak levels. It’s no wonder – being able to sprint 40 yards in 4.4 seconds or take on multiple poundings and tackles for 17 weeks straight demands a killer combination of skill, conditioning and power.

So, strength, speed and agility training play an important part in their game plan.

Do you want to push yourself like an NFL pro?

To be the powerful, hardened success on the field, NFL pros spend a great deal of time in the gym. If you have some fat goals to meet, you have to get at it too. Luckily, here at Instant Knockout, we know exactly how the champs train. We know how you can engage your whole body to build strength and power – and burn fat like the professionals.

This is your ultimate guide to training like an NFL ace.

In this guide, we cover:

  • How to train like an NFL pro
  • Exercises to build brawn and burn fat
  • Explosive workouts for complete athleticism

Let’s go!

The NFL Pro

Competing in the NFL isn’t easy. Each and every player must be in peak condition to battle equally built oppositions. They work hard to stay good – they work even harder to get better. They train to stay resilient.

These players are an elite force. There’s a reason why they play in one of the most demanding sports on the planet[1].

Want the physical benefits of an NFL pro? Or looking to reach ultimate fat burning mode? Here are the workouts you need to do reach your fat loss goals and upgrade your physique.

Refined workouts

Based on a 4-day training schedule, this refined workout regime should help you work your way to a conditioned, brawnier physique – just like the beasts you see on the ground.

Day 1: Speed training circuit

Day 2: Rest

Day 3: Agility training circuit

Day 4: Rest

Day 5: Intense power training circuit

Day 6: Rest

Day 7: Total body strength and fat burning circuit

TIP: Before each workout, try and start with a dynamic warmup. These reduce the risk of injury, boost recovery time and improve your physical performance. Give these a try:


Exercise Reps
Leg swing 10 (each leg)
Lateral lunge 10 (per side)
Inchworm 10
Arm circles 10 forward & 10 backward


Speed training circuit

Speed can be the pivotal factor between a win or a loss – and an NFL pro knows it. NFL players are known for their speed on the ground with some even clocking in running speeds of 22mph during play[2]. Getting a little faster on your feet can help with burning fat and make you feel physically fitter.

Repeat this circuit three times.

Exercise Reps
High knees running 30 secs
Prowler sled push 8
Box jumps 8
Resisted sprint drills 6

How to perfect each exercise

1. High knees running Stand straight and tall and run in place as fast as you can. Bring your knees as high as possible, driving through the balls of your feet.

2. Prowler sled push Load up the sled with weight – you’ll be able to judge how much first by seeing if you can get it going. Take up a low position against the sled, setting up your feet so that they are the same width as your usual running posture. Pushing with either straight or bent arms, embrace your core and drive through your forefoot as you move forward.

3. Box jumps This exercise is great for fat burning. With your feet shoulder width apart, stand facing the box. Lower yourself into a quarter squat, keeping your black flat. Sway your arms forward and use the momentum to jump up onto the box landing with both feet. To cushion your landing, make sure you bend both legs and stand up before stepping back down off the box.

4. Resisted sprint drills Wear a form of resistance over your shoulders or round the waist. You can normally use a resistance band attached to a sled or partner. When attached, propel yourself forward and maintain proper running form. One rule of thumb is to add no more than 10 per cent resistance and run no more than 5 meters.

Agility training circuit

In NFL, agility is vital for any NFL pro. They must be quick and agile to tackle, block or shield against the offense. Likewise, they must be light on their feet to punch a hole in the defense while keeping hold of the ball. These practical workouts will move your body like a real athlete and keep your physical dexterity on point.

Repeat this circuit three times.

Exercise Reps
Medicine ball chest ball & shuffle 8
Single leg goblet squats 10 (each leg)
Lateral plyometric jumps 30 seconds
Jump rope 60 seconds

How to perfect each exercise

1. Medicine ball chest ball & shuffle Hold a medicine ball with both hands at your chest and face a sturdy wall. Make sure you’re far enough from the wall to have space to extend your arms and pass the ball, however, be sure you’re close enough to catch it too. Throw the ball at the wall and shuffle laterally, catching it back and bringing it to your chest. Change shuffle directions along the wall.

2. Single leg goblet squats Grab hold of a kettlebell and stand facing away from a bench/chair. Bring your right foot off the ground, extending the leg out in front of you. Push your hips back, bend your knee, and keep straight as you slowly lower down to sit. Once seated, return your right foot to the ground. Repeat on each leg.

3. Lateral plyometric jumps How does an NFL pro move with such agility? This move will seriously test your mobility. Place a line on the floor using cones or something similar. Stand alongside the line. With your feet no more than hip-width apart, bend your knees to squat. Push upward through your heels quickly and sideways towards the other side of the line. Land softly, squatting deeply. Repeat the jump back and forth over the line, keeping your shoulders and hips facing forward.

4. Jump rope Stand with your rope behind you and your feet placed together. Keep your hands at hip height and flick your wrists to circle the rope up and over your head. Jump up and over the rope slightly off the ground. Try to keep your shoulders and arms relaxed, using your wrists only to turn the rope.

Intense power training circuit

NFL players are known for how intense they are on the field. They move fast and bring down the offense in the blink of an eye. Compared to other, less-fiery athletes, their bodies make powerful blocks and endure severe contact on the field. For this reason, power and strength is a must. These intense workouts will help you build up the power that so many players have.

Repeat this circuit three times.

Exercise Reps
Bench press 10
Power clean 8
Front squat 8
Romanian deadlift 10

How to perfect each exercise

1. Bench press Lay underneath the bar on a flat bench, making sure it lines up directly above your eyeline. Reach up and grab the bar with a medium grip-width. Unrack the bar and lower it to your mid-chest. Your elbows should be bent at 90-degrees. Press the bar back up until your arms are straight.

2. Power clean Grab a barbell from the floor with your hands outside shoulder width. Stand up explosively and shrug the bar, keeping it as close to your body as possible. As the bar reaches your chest, quickly drop into a squat position and flip your wrists so that your palms are facing the ceiling. Catch the bar across the front of your shoulders and stand up. From this position you can drop the bar to the ground – if you’re on a lifting platform.

3. Front squat Start with the barbell on a power rack at shoulder width height. Grab the bar with both hands facing toward the floor and about shoulder width apart. Bend your elbows downward and bring your upper chest towards the bar so that it rests on your shoulders. Push your elbows upwards and your shoulders forward so the bar is totally pressed into them. Lift the bar off the rack, taking one step back with each foot. Your feet should be shoulder width apart as you drop down into the squat and return to the starting standing position.

4. Deadlift The deadlift is a great exercise for achieving your fat loss goals. Grab a barbell or kettlebell and place it on the floor. Keeping your chest up and lower back flat, hinge at the hips and bend at your knees to pick up the bar. Tighten your glutes and core and raise to a standing position. Make sure your arms are extended. Bend at your knees as you lower the bar back to the ground, keeping your back flat and arms straight.

Total body strength and fat burning circuit

Becoming, bigger, faster and brawnier is part of any NFL players’ game plan. More muscle means less fat – what’s more, it protects them from risk of injury. These all body exercises will help you reach your fat loss goals and add some mass to your physique.

Repeat this circuit three times.

Exercise Reps
Overhead press 10
Bent over row 10
Medicine ball sit-up 8
Dumbbell lunge 10

How to perfect each exercise

1. Overhead press This one will seriously get you feeling like an NFL pro. Taking the bar from a power rack, stand with it on your front shoulders and your hands placed next to your shoulders. Focus on squeezing your shoulders and press the bar over your head, tilting your head backwards slightly. Lock your elbows at the top and keep your chest up during each rep.

2. Bent over row Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, bend at your knees and lean forward from the waist. Keep your back straight and grab the bar with your hands palm face down. Let the bar hang with your arms straight and squeeze your shoulders to row the weight up towards your sternum. Lower it back down again.

3. Medicine ball sit-up Lay on the floor with your knees bent at 90 degrees. Grab a medicine ball with both hands and perform a sit-up, raising the ball straight over your head.

4. Dumbbell lunge Stand with your feet hip distance apart and hold a dumbbell at each side – palms facing your body. Take a controlled lunge forward with your right foot, making sure your knees are bent at 90 degrees and your front thigh is parallel to the ground. Push your right heel into the floor, bringing your left leg forward back to the starting position. Repeat on the opposite leg.

Post-workout cool down

Remember your post-workout cool down. A jog will flush out any lactic acid and the dynamic exercises will help you stretch your muscles. Foam rolling will also help to reduce any muscle aches and stop them from getting taut.

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