Do NFL Players Lift Weights During The Season?

NFL players are known for being big and strong and throwing around huge weights but do they still lift during the season or all those massive power cleans and squats done in the off-season? Let’s find out!!!
RICHMOND VA, AUGUST 3: Redskins defensive end Stephen Paea, left, and fellow defensive end Corey Crawford work on a drill carrying weights during day 7 of the Washington Redskins summer training camp in Richmond VA, August 3, 2016. (Photo by John McDonnell / The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Do NFL Players Lift Weights During The Season?

NFL players lift weights throughout the regular season and will hit the weight room 2 to 3 times a week. These weightlifting sessions are not as intense as during the off-season and players do go as heavy.

Lifting weights is an extremely important aspect of NFL training. All NFL players are expected to lift weights multiple times a week throughout the season.

NFL teams typically schedule 2 to 3 mandatory weightlifting sessions for their NFL athletes during the season. NFL players will often lift weights on Monday and Wednesday/Thursday.

NFL players avoid lifting weights the day of or the day before a game to ensure they are fully recovered and can display their athletic prowess on game day.

NFL weightlifting sessions are different during the season compared to off season. In season NFL weightlifting sessions are focused on reducing the risk of injury and helping players maintain the size and strength they gained during the off season.

Coaches have to be careful to ensure their NFL players are working hard enough in the weight room so they are maintaining their muscle and strength but at the same time not working too hard that they are fatigued during on field practice and most importantly on game day.

NFL in season weightlifting sessions still feature the classic exercises such as:

  • Power cleans
  • Back squat
  • Front squat
  • bench press
  • Overhead press

The difference is that the weight is reduced during the season and coaches also add more conditioning elements to the work out. It is common for NFL players to complete circuit and Crossfit like workouts during the season. NFL players typically stay in the 60% to 75% when lifting weights during the season and coaches are looking for high quality reps and for players to move the bar explosively.

How Many Days A Week Do Football Players Lift Weights?

NFL football players lift weights 2 to 3 times per week during the season and 3 to 4 times per week during the off season. In season weight sessions are lighter and focus more on conditioning while off season works are heavier and focus on hypertrophy and strength.
NFL players love to hit the weightroom and you can find them in their between 2 to 4 times per week. During the off season it is common for NFL athletes to have 4 scheduled mandatory weight lifting sessions while in the middle of season players may only smash the iron 2 times a week.
A typical NFL weight lifting workout lasts from between 60 minutes to 90 minutes and builds in intensity as players start with a warm and stretching before they start lifting light weights. As the NFL players get warmed up they slowly increase the weight on the bar until they are lifting heavy weights which are challenging.
During the season NFL players will lift between 60% and 75% of their max and perform a medium number of repetitions. In contrast during the off season NFL players will frequently lift above 80% and even try to set personal records in an effort to increase their strength.
The exercises NFL players perform during their in season and off season weight lifting sessions tend to be the same with a heavy focus on powerlifting movements but also classic body weight movements such as sit ups, push ups and pull ups.

Do NFL Players Lift On Game Day?

NFL players do not lift on game day. Instead of lifting weights NFL players perform a comprehensive warm up which includes plyometrics, sprints, stretching and some light strength work which is mostly body weight or utilizes resistance bands.

You won’t find any NFL players hitting the gym before a big game because lifting weights too close to kick off time decreases a NFL athletes speed and power. Not to mention that lifting weights increases the amount of soreness players feel which negatively impacts their performance.

NFL players avoid lifting weights a few days before a game to ensure their bodies are 100% recovered and as responsive as possible. The last thing NFL players want to do is reduce their speed because their leg muscles are not recovered from squatting or they are unable to make dominant tackles because their back is fatigued from deadlifting.

Is It Good To Lift Weights Before A Football Game?

It is not good to lift weights before a football as you will fatigue your muscles and central nervous system. If you lift weights before a football game your speed and power output will be reduced and your risk of injury will increase.
If you are thinking of getting an extra weightlifting session in before your football game, don’t. Lifting weights before a football game will have a negative impact on your performance. You will have:
  • Reduced speed
  • Reduced power
  • Reduced flexibility
  • Reduced agility
  • Increased fatigue
  • Increased chance of injury
  • Increased soreness
To test this theory go and lift weights and then a few hours later do a sprint and agility session. Your times are going to be way down and your legs are going to feel sore.
If you want to compete at your best on the football field instead of lifting weights before your game you should do a muscle activation warm up. A good football warm up includes:
  • Explosive exercises – sprints, plyometrics (tuck jumps and broad jumps)
  • Dynamic stretches – high knees, bounding, kickbacks
  • Static stretches – touch your toes, butterfly stretch, cossack squat
  • Strength work – bodyweight squats, push ups, sit ups

If you perform this workout your body won’t be fatigued but at the same time your muscles will fired up to ensure you perform at your best on the football field.

Wrapping Things Up

NFL players lift weights 2 to 3 times a week during the season. These in season NFL lifting workouts are more focused on conditioning and helping athletes maintain their size and strength. The weights used are lowered compared to off-season workouts and the total workload is reduced.

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