Everyone knows that professional football players are in peak physical condition; however, people fail to realize how complex training for football can be. Unlike most other sports, football requires the players to be at their max size, strength, and weight; and on top of that the workouts and strengths needed vary by position. Lineman, for example, need a lot of body weight and bulk as well as power. Wide receivers and cornerbacks on the other hand need maximum strength, speed, and agility while minimizing their bulk. To make it to the NFL a player must be in top physical condition. Some of the fittest athletes currently in the NFL include Reggie Bush, Julius Peppers, and Cam Newton; and some of the fittest people to ever play in the NFL include Steve Young, Jim Brown, and Lawrence Taylor. However, there are a few that stand out from the rest:
Adrian Peterson: The Minnesota Vikings running back has been tearing up the football field for years earning basically every award possible, including Pro Bowl starter, NFL MVP, and Offensive Player of the Year. All 6’1 217 pounds of Peterson is an absolute beast. In order to keep himself in such great shape, Peterson spends a lot of his time in the gym and eats mostly baked foods like fish, chicken, and potatoes. These baked foods keep Peterson powerful but lean, making it easy for him to keep his impressive 4.4 second time in the 40 yard dash. Even through all of his controversy this year, he’s not let any of that stop him from keeping the beast within alive.
Calvin Johnson: At 6’5, 236 pounds, Johnson is a freak of nature. Johnson’s build is a large part of his record-setting performances—he is rewriting the NFL Receiving record book one amazing catch at a time. However, Johnson’s spectacular twisting, diving catches do not just come out of nowhere: Johnson does 30 second weighted, one-handed planks while pulling at a resistance bar with the other hand with extra weigh on his hips. Yes, you read that right. Johnson works hard in the weight room for every yard he has ever earned on the field.
Herschel Walker: After 13 years of fighting to touchdowns, everyone assumed Walker would take a break and rest his body when he retired at the age of 35. Walker had a different plan, however: he immediately began training for mixed martial arts, an equally physically demanding sport. Walker has since retired from fighting, but up until age 50 his daily regimen consisted of 3,500 sit ups; 1,500 push ups; and an 8-mile run. He even considered returning to football—at age 50.
Rob Gronkowski: Gronk may have struggled through a tough, injury-plagued 2013 season—one in which his quarterback, Tom Brady, had an exceedingly difficult time finding reliable passing options in his absence. But that didn’t stop the monster big kid from coming on strong this year and making his plays count at Super Bowl XLIX. At 6’6”, 225 pounds, he’s a truly imposing figure able to smash through huge NFL defenders with ease (well, as much as that’s possible).
Marshawn Lynch: One of the best freight train-like backs in the NFL, Lynch is, of course, most famous for the insanity of the “Beast Quake” touchdown run he pulled off during Seattle’s upset victory over the Saints during the 2010 playoffs. But, in the years since, he’s contributed much more to the Seahawks’ resurgence by being one of the most consistently prolific rushers in a league becoming more pass-oriented each year. “Beast Mode” runs a 4.46 40-yard dash and thrives in the weight room, as you might imagine, benching 355 pounds and squatting 485. It’s no wonder this Skittle-popping tank of a man has easily cleared the major rushing benchmarks in each of his past three seasons (1,000-plus yards/10-plus TDs), while being an immovable pass blocker and short-range receiver.