This article was originally posted in TRAIN 11
With this year’s season having enjoyed its kick off we caught up with our cover star, Rob Gronkowski, to figure out how he gets himself into game winning shape.
Gronkowski is a player who may only be entering his fourth NFL season, but is already bashing his place in the record books. In 2011 – just his second season – he set the single season record for touchdowns by a tight end with 17 receiving touchdowns and 18 overall. This made him the first tight end in NFL history to lead the league in receiving touchdowns. In 2012 he signed a six-year $54 million contract extension, a record for an NFL tight end. From this it’s easy to see his value and if it weren’t for an injury last season, you can bet he would continue his winning streak. On the eve of his come back after an injury, TRAIN sat down with him to see how he trained, ate and supplemented to become one of the world’s most dynamic athletes. You can use what he had to tell us in your own routine to make sure you’re gaining muscle, pushing yourself faster and looking your best while doing it. This is cutting edge fitness advice from the most advanced competitors and sports labs that you can use today to better your performance tomorrow.
Height: 6ft 6 in
Arm length: 34 ¼ inch
40-yard dash: 4.68 seconds
10 yard split: 1.58 seconds
Vertical jump: 33 ½ inch
Broad jump: 9ft 11 inch
220 lb bench press: 23 reps
“For me having the height and long arms is a big advantage. Brady can throw the ball high over the defender and right into my hands. My capacity to track down the ball is a unique skill set. I also work on my jumping ability in the weight room to keep building on that. Since I am already taller than most other players on the field, this is a huge benefit.”
Standing 6’6 feet tall he is one of the new breed of athletes because research at Duke University found that top sportsmen have grown by an average of 6’4 inches over the past 100 years. Evolution makes for great TV.
“Foods that are important to injury recovery are fish like salmon, grilled chicken, avocados and other vegetables, salads and tons of fruit. Also healthy carbs like brown rice and sweet potatoes.”
Smart food choices are vital for faster healing. In fact, research at Queen Mary University of London did find that omega 3’s – found in the fish and avocado – improves your nerves’ recovery time after an injury.
“Eric Molds, as a Bills fans, was my hero. Lot of my friends and family looked up to Eric as a great player with dynamic moves. Takeo Spikes with the Bills too, I loved to watch him play. When I got to the NFL and got to play against him when he was with the San Diego Chargers was like a dream come true such a thrill to play against someone I looked up to for so long.”
MIXING IT UP
“In the off-season I change it up and play other sports. I love to play basketball it helps with your speed and endurance since you are constantly moving up and down the court and the jumping is great for vertical height. Hockey is great too – it really helps with hand strength especially in the forearms. Playing other sports besides football is very important to build other skill sets that translate to a better game on the football field.”
Cross-training like this help you recover because you won’t be thrashing the same muscles and is a great at rehabilitating after an injury, found research in Sports Medicine. What’s more, they discovered that it boosts exercise motivation, though we don’t suspect he needs it.
NERVES OF STEEL
“There is definitely big pressure going into big games, but you just need to work hard all week, be on top of your play, make sure you are in shape and strong and prepared. Then you feel like you are ready and not feel so much pressure come game day so you can come out strong and do what you need to do to succeed.”
Dumb jock? Quite the opposite. Expert sportsmen are quicker to observe and react to their opponents’ moves than novice players, showing enhanced activation of the cortical regions of the brain, found research in the journal Neuroreport. This gives them the split second advantage over everyone else in the field.
SUPPLEMENTING HIS PERFORMANCE
“Every morning I have a Six Star Whey Protein Plus shake to start off the day with peanut butter, fruit, milk and oatmeal. It’s delicious and tastes good and gets my day rolling with the right stuff for body. I also take protein when I’m working out – making a nice little shake with chocolate powder and milk. It assists my performance by helping me build muscle right away. Plus a snack a few times a week is a great idea – a fruit shake is a great way to help the body recover on workout days.”
RIGHT AFTER A BIG GAME
“It is very important to recover and feed your muscles get your body strong for the following week. Directly after the game I have a protein shake with a big meal such as meat with rice or sweet potatoes. I can’t stress enough how important protein shakes are; I have at least 2-3 Six Star Whey Protein Plus shakes a day and also love snacks such as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and chocolate milk. For me, the reward foods after a game are ice cream or some other kind of dessert. You burn so many calories in the game your body needs the extra calories, it’s ok to indulge a few times a week.”
This is a smart choice because research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that having a high protein meal or protein shake directly after strenuous exercise yields the greatest results. Timing really is everything.
Rob Gronkowski’s full weekly workout
1. Barbell bench press – 4 sets of 10 reps
2. Machine peck fly – 3 sets of 12 reps
3. EZ-bar skull crushers – 3 sets of 10 reps
4. Close grip bench press – 3 sets of 10 reps
5. Dips – 3 sets body weight of 12 reps
6. Burpee – 1 set of 10 reps
7. 100 yard sprints – 10 sets with a 50 second rest in between each one
1. Step-ups – 3 sets of 10 reps while holding 30lb dumbbells
2. Squats – 3 sets of 8 reps
3. Lunges – 3 sets of 15 reps
4. Calf raises – 3 sets of 12 reps
5. Four agility drills of your choice – 3 sets of each drill.
1. Plank – 3 sets of 1 minute each
2. Toe touches – 50 reps
3. Bicycle kicks – 2 sets of 25 reps
4. Side plank – 30 seconds each side
5. Medicine ball rotational toss – 30 reps on each side
1. Dumb-bell bench press – 3 sets of 8 reps
2. Dumb-bell incline bench press – 3 sets of 8 reps
3. Dumb-bell curls – 3 sets of 10-15 reps
4. Dumb-bell shoulder shrugs – 3 sets of 8-12 reps
5. Pull up – 3 sets of 10 reps
6. Push ups – 3 sets of 20 reps
7. 5-10-15 yard shuttles – 10 sets with a 45 second rest in between each set
1. Barbell squats – 3 sets of 12 reps
2. Side lunges – 3 sets of 12 reps
3. Calf raises – 3 sets of 12 reps
4. Hamstring curls – 3 sets of 10 reps
5. Jog up stadium stairs – 5 sets
Saturday and Sunday are off days but active off days so he either plays basketball or volleyball or going to the pool or riding your bike.
If you want to learn more about the NFL, you can get our free guide here