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Football on field
Fitness
Published Thursday Jan 30, 2020 by Mindbody Team

The Game Day Workout: How to Train Like a Pro Athlete

Fitness
Motivation
Expert Advice

The Big Game is coming up in just a few days—and if you’ve ever looked out on the field and been awe-struck by those football muscles, you’re not alone. It’s hard not to be impressed by these giants, who often weigh in at over 250 lbs. but can still run a 40-yard dash in under 5 seconds.

But no matter your fitness level, you can work to develop a pro-athlete-level workout routine. We did the research—here’s how to build a gridiron-inspired workout to get you looking like Jimmy G in no time (we like to aim high).

Start with stretching and dynamic warm-ups.

If you’ve ever been to a game well before kickoff, you’ve probably noticed the athletes warming up on the sidelines. They’re preparing their bodies for the rigors of an extremely intense 2-3-hour game. You should do the same before your workout. 

We can’t emphasize enough the importance of warming up before your workout. To start, you should know there are two basic types—static and dynamic. 

Static stretches are the standard ones you’re probably familiar with (like touching your toes or doing the flamingo). Depending on the body parts you’re targeting with your workout, you should work through a series of a few of these bad boys to limber up and prepare for intense exercise.

Dynamic stretches are ones that involve movement (a little self-explanatory)—you won’t be standing still during this routine. Dynamic stretching includes things like high knees, lunges, backpedal jogging, jogging in place—anything that gets you moving and warms up your muscles.

A combination of dynamic and static stretches targeting your preferred muscles before your workout will have you limbered up and ready for action!

1
Start with stretching and dynamic warm-ups.

If you’ve ever been to a game well before kickoff, you’ve probably noticed the athletes warming up on the sidelines. They’re preparing their bodies for the rigors of an extremely intense 2-3-hour game. You should do the same before your workout. 

We can’t emphasize enough the importance of warming up before your workout. To start, you should know there are two basic types—static and dynamic. 

Static stretches are the standard ones you’re probably familiar with (like touching your toes or doing the flamingo). Depending on the body parts you’re targeting with your workout, you should work through a series of a few of these bad boys to limber up and prepare for intense exercise.

Dynamic stretches are ones that involve movement (a little self-explanatory)—you won’t be standing still during this routine. Dynamic stretching includes things like high knees, lunges, backpedal jogging, jogging in place—anything that gets you moving and warms up your muscles.

A combination of dynamic and static stretches targeting your preferred muscles before your workout will have you limbered up and ready for action!

Boost your cardiovascular capacity.

Every football game includes periods of 10-20 seconds of incredibly intense action, accompanied by some downtime when the players plan their next play. To prepare for this type of high-intensity, short-term activity, NFL athletes use bootcamp-style High-Intensity Interval Training (AKA HIIT). This type of training is exactly what it sounds like—performing high-intensity workouts (like sprinting or battling ropes) for about 20-40 seconds. After that, you’ll take a rest period equal to the time you spent exercising. You can perform any activity you like, as long as you near maximal exertion. Bike sprints, jumping rope, burpees, jump squats—the choice is yours. 

Compared to moderate, prolonged exercise, HIIT has been shown to burn calories more quickly, and helps enhance your aerobic and cardiovascular fitness. If you’re not sure where to start, many studios offer guided HIIT classes, find one near you!

2
Boost your cardiovascular capacity.

Every football game includes periods of 10-20 seconds of incredibly intense action, accompanied by some downtime when the players plan their next play. To prepare for this type of high-intensity, short-term activity, NFL athletes use bootcamp-style High-Intensity Interval Training (AKA HIIT). This type of training is exactly what it sounds like—performing high-intensity workouts (like sprinting or battling ropes) for about 20-40 seconds. After that, you’ll take a rest period equal to the time you spent exercising. You can perform any activity you like, as long as you near maximal exertion. Bike sprints, jumping rope, burpees, jump squats—the choice is yours. 

Compared to moderate, prolonged exercise, HIIT has been shown to burn calories more quickly, and helps enhance your aerobic and cardiovascular fitness. If you’re not sure where to start, many studios offer guided HIIT classes, find one near you!

Focus on your core.

A strong core is key for NFL players. Your core connects your upper and lower bodies and lets them function as a unit, so don’t neglect it during your workouts! Some of the best core exercises that are popular among football players include:

●    Planks (hold for 1 minute straight, and you’ll be
      approaching NFL-level fitness!)

●    Hanging or lying leg raises
●    Crunches
●    Supermans 
●    Bridges

Hint: make sure to focus on both your abs and your back—a strong core requires balanced strength in both of these muscles.

3
Focus on your core.

A strong core is key for NFL players. Your core connects your upper and lower bodies and lets them function as a unit, so don’t neglect it during your workouts! Some of the best core exercises that are popular among football players include:

●    Planks (hold for 1 minute straight, and you’ll be
      approaching NFL-level fitness!)

●    Hanging or lying leg raises
●    Crunches
●    Supermans 
●    Bridges

Hint: make sure to focus on both your abs and your back—a strong core requires balanced strength in both of these muscles.

Strength train your lower half.

You may notice mostly the giant arms and shoulders on NFL players, but most of their speed and explosiveness comes from their lower body. If you want to build yourself to a similar level of fitness, you’ll definitely want to make sure you focus on your lower body during strength training.

Lower body strength exercises like kettlebell swings, squats, weighted lunges, deadlifts, and box step-ups/jumps are key for building up powerful glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves—and allowing you to develop power and intensity throughout the rest of your workout. 

4
Strength train your lower half.

You may notice mostly the giant arms and shoulders on NFL players, but most of their speed and explosiveness comes from their lower body. If you want to build yourself to a similar level of fitness, you’ll definitely want to make sure you focus on your lower body during strength training.

Lower body strength exercises like kettlebell swings, squats, weighted lunges, deadlifts, and box step-ups/jumps are key for building up powerful glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves—and allowing you to develop power and intensity throughout the rest of your workout. 

Don't work one muscle at a time.

One final thing NFL players usually incorporate into their routine is compound lifts during strength training. A compound exercise is one that involves a large number of different muscle groups, rather than just a single muscle (isolation exercise). A squat, for example, is a compound exercise. It involves your glutes, hamstrings, quads, and even your calves. Using a leg press machine, in contrast, is an isolation exercise—it mostly just works your quads. 

Focusing on compound exercises increases the efficiency of your workout and also provides you with more functional strength. In real life, no muscle ever works alone. They’re all connected—so focusing on exercises that bring together complementary muscles will help you improve your overall strength! 

If you want to work out like an NFL athlete, follow these steps to boost your fitness and feel like a champ when your workout is over. Can’t do it at home? Download the MINDBODY app to find the perfect studio to help you fulfill your football fitness goals!

Interested in how SF compares to KC in wellness? Check out our MINDBODY Wellness Index Big Game Matchup 2020.

5
Don't work one muscle at a time.

One final thing NFL players usually incorporate into their routine is compound lifts during strength training. A compound exercise is one that involves a large number of different muscle groups, rather than just a single muscle (isolation exercise). A squat, for example, is a compound exercise. It involves your glutes, hamstrings, quads, and even your calves. Using a leg press machine, in contrast, is an isolation exercise—it mostly just works your quads. 

Focusing on compound exercises increases the efficiency of your workout and also provides you with more functional strength. In real life, no muscle ever works alone. They’re all connected—so focusing on exercises that bring together complementary muscles will help you improve your overall strength! 

If you want to work out like an NFL athlete, follow these steps to boost your fitness and feel like a champ when your workout is over. Can’t do it at home? Download the MINDBODY app to find the perfect studio to help you fulfill your football fitness goals!

Interested in how SF compares to KC in wellness? Check out our MINDBODY Wellness Index Big Game Matchup 2020.

MINDBODY Team Logo
Written by
Mindbody Team
Editors & Educators
About the author
We're here to provide you with the latest and greatest, tried and true wellness experiences and advice to help you live life to the fullest. From nourishing recipes and travel tips to finding the perfect sweat routine or wellness regimen—we cover it all. And if we haven't yet, it's definitely on the way.
Pregnant Kim Haile and her daughter
The Latest
Published Wednesday Apr 01, 2020 by Kim Haile

Finding Peace: Pregnant in a Pandemic

Perspective
Personal Growth

I’m celebrating week 21 of pregnancy. Baby is the size of a banana or bell pepper. I don’t know why it’s so fun to compare a growing fetus to a fruit or veggie, but it gives me a much-needed laugh while I make note to avoid consuming bananas for the week.  This is also ultrasound week. I’m no longer able to bring my husband and daughter to the appointment, but we understand that these restrictions are put in place to protect us. Like so many pregnant women and mothers across the world, I’m doing my best to adapt to the new norm and changes that COVID-19 has introduced to my already stressful life. 
 
Pregnant women across various metro cities are beginning to face fears of delivering their baby without a birthing partner by their side for the duration of the hospital stay. Family members and friends may not be able to meet baby in-person for quite some time, so those special first meetings happen over FaceTime. New mommy groups switch to virtual meetups. I’m feeling the weight of it all (and I’m not referring to the extra weight I’ve gained from WFH snacking), the heaviness of the unknown that we all carry as we navigate through all of this change. 

Tuning into nightly news or googling the latest COVID-19 death tolls is a surefire way to lose sleep, but we do it anyway because we want to stay informed as we wrap our heads around how much this pandemic will change our world. Maybe your anxiety and personal despair grow as you hear from a friend who recently lost their job or read about your favorite restaurant unable to keep its doors open. Canceled events, long-anticipated vacations, and temporarily closed fitness studios are not only inconvenient, but force us to reframe our attitudes. 

I can hear my mother’s voice telling me to relax. She tells me that the baby can feel my stress, and that isn’t good for anyone. I begin to feel guilty about my inability to quiet the negative feelings and decide that something needs to change. We can’t change what the media reports, the pressure at work, or predict how long it will take for the economy to recover. But what if we reminded ourselves to do the best with what we have and keep moving forward—one day at a time. Amidst the chaos, we’re becoming a stronger, kinder community, and that is truly a beautiful thing to see. 

The journey to my second trimester wasn’t an easy one. I suffered a heartbreaking miscarriage a few years ago. I made time for my body and mind to heal after the loss. Float tank sessions, meditation, vinyasa power flow, and frequent facials helped me connect with my body. I can’t say self-care alone healed my depression, but it certainly helped me discover the importance of self-love and repaired my self-confidence. 

After many pregnancy tests and negative results, I was at peace with accepting that having another child may not be in the cards for me. Fast forward to age 37. I was shocked to see a + symbol on three pregnancy stick tests. Although I’m medically referred to as a geriatric pregnancy, my OB/Gyn said there was no reason for me to go into this pregnancy with a negative mindset. Eat healthy, stay active, and focus on being POSITIVE. Maybe the pursuit of happiness and path to personal wellness was really that simple.  

On my 38th birthday, I celebrated my 20th week of pregnancy—I’ll refer to it as the “Pregnant in a Pandemic Party.” I blew out a candle on a warm chocolate chip cookie that my husband and daughter baked together. They were my only party guests, but I didn’t need a room full of people at a fancy restaurant to feel pure gratitude. People across the world continue to test positive for COVID-19. I was safe in my home with my family. I was right where I needed to be.

Although the past few weeks have brought a wide range of emotions for all of us, I’m choosing to use this extra time to self-reflect and bond with family. I’m mentally recording my five-year-old daughter as she whispers to my stomach and tells her baby sister that August couldn’t come soon enough. This is life. So perfectly imperfect at times, but beautiful in more ways than we know. We may be housebound, down to the last few rolls of toilet paper, and our hair hasn’t seen a salon in over a month. The loss of control and routine over our daily lives can make us feel like failures. Trust me; we’re not. We were never meant to get through this alone. Together, we will get through this—one day at a time. 

Kim Haile Headshot
Written by
Kim Haile
Senior Corporate Communications Specialist
About the author
Hailing from the East Coast, Kim loves the challenge of Marketing and the fast-paced tech industry. She earned her undergraduate degree in Business from Northeastern University in Boston, where she endured brutal New England winters and avoided smiling while riding the T. Now a happy Californian, Kim loves the beach, HIIT workouts, and traveling with her husband and young daughter.