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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.

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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.
breast cancer awareness month
Fitness
Published Tuesday Sep 27, 2022 by Bree Lewis

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month—Here’s How You Can Make a Difference

Approximately 12,000 women aged 40 or younger are diagnosed with breast cancer every year*. Fortunately, there are preventative steps that we can take to help protect ourselves and each other—one of the best ones being exercise. That’s right. Not only does exercise help us release endorphins, but just 30 minutes of exercise three to four times per week can help decrease a person’s risk of developing breast cancer by 30–50%*.

This is hope in a statistic. Just by adopting a more healthy, active lifestyle, we could prevent the risk of developing breast cancer, while also inspiring others to reduce their risk as well. Keep A Breast Foundation has made doing just this their mission through their annual fundraising campaign, Fit 4 Prevention.

Every October, studios from all over the globe participate by raising money through donation-based workout classes for the Keep A Breast Foundation (KAB). They have created a national movement dedicated to educating others about breast cancer prevention through fitness and wellness—something Mindbody is extremely passionate about. Participating in your favorite activities, all while supporting, preventing, and spreading awareness about breast cancer awareness? Let’s get moving.

Encourage your favorite studio to sign up for the event

If you want to take a donation-based class at your favorite studio, encourage your favorite studios to sign up to bring your community closer together in a meaningful way. Registering is quick and easy. If you think your local studio may be interested in participating, have them check out KAB’s help pagewhere they can learn how to register for a donation-based class during the month of October. KAB even has a social media kit available to fitness studios to help them promote their donation-based classes.  

Other ways to help

Can’t find a local studio to take a donation-based class near you? Don’t worry, you can still give your support by donating directly to KAB’s website. Luckily, any time that you are moving your body and spreading the word—you’re doing your part in spreading awareness on how to help prevent breast cancer. That is beyond amazing.

This October, we hope you’ll join us in our plight to support the KAB Foundation and its mission to help prevent breast cancer through cultivating a healthier, more active lifestyle. Through movement, health, and wellness—we can reach great heights, together.

To learn more about the KAB Foundation and its mission and how you can get involved further, visit their website.

* National Cancer Institute

bree lewis headshot
Written by
Bree Lewis
Marketing Content Associate
About the author
Born and raised in a small mountain town just south of Yosemite National Park, Bree is an avid lover of health, wellness, and connecting to the outside world around us. As a Cal Poly English major alumn, she has a knack for books, writing, and all things words. In her free time, she enjoys being outside, drinking craft beers, and keeping life jazzy!