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Gearing up for the NFL season

It’s a tough time of the year to stay disciplined if you’re on an NFL pro roster…I mean, you’re getting paid on schedule, you got 4 weeks off from team mandatories, and the main thing they’re looking for when you report to Training Camp is (a) did you hold your weight requirement?— and (b) did you maintain your speed?

If you are serious about improving this year, try this complete off-season football workout program, developed by STACK Expert Robert Pomazak, strength and conditioning coordinator at Elk Grove High School (Elk Grove Village, Ill.). The program is divided into five phases, which build upon each other to increase your strength, size and power, and to make you a better overall player on the field.

And if you’re into getting your game tuned up off the field, you should definitely check out these Fantasy Football bonuses.

Phase 1: Stability and Endurance

Goal:  Correct muscle imbalances caused by injuries sustained during a grueling season, and build a foundation for heavy lifting and more advanced exercises.

Overview:  Focuses primarily on body weight and core stability exercises that improve flexibility, core strength and balance, and eliminate imbalances. Intensity (percent of your max) is low and reps are high. Although the weight used may seem easy, remember that the goal is to set the stage for subsequent phases.

Phase 2: Strength and Endurance

Goal:  Continue building a solid foundation with strength exercises to prepare for more advanced workouts.

Overview:  Workouts are structured into supersets, each consisting of a strength movement followed by a stabilization exercise. Weight, sets and reps are moderate, but challenging enough to increase your strength and muscular endurance—an essential step before performing heavy lifts.

Phase 3: Building Muscle

Goal: Build as much muscle as possible, increase strength and cut body fat to enable you to tackle harder, block better and overpower opponents.

Overview:  This is where the meat of the program begins. Three full-body routines with two exercises per major body part are designed to achieve a high volume of reps with each muscle group—essential for building muscle. Sets and intensity increase as reps decrease.

Phase 4: Maximum Strength Training

Goal:  Develop as much muscular strength as possible so you can outmuscle and overmatch your opponents.

Overview:  The max strength phase is again centered on a full-body routine, but now you begin to lift heavy weight. You perform two to three exercises for each major body part at 90 to 100 percent of your max. Sets increase, but due to the high intensity, you perform fewer reps, sometimes only one rep per set.

Phase 5: Power Training

Goal:  Transfer strength into game-speed power so you can apply more force in faster bursts.

Overview:  This final phase is completed before the season to transfer gains made from previous phases into power that can be used on the field.

The workouts are broken down into complexes, in which you perform a strength exercise followed immediately by a power exercise that works the same muscles. Strength exercises are performed at a high percent of your max, and power exercises are performed at a low intensity, with a focus on explosive movements. Sets decrease, but due to the different intensities, you perform fewer reps for strength exercises and higher reps for power.

I guess the point is, if you think being an Eagles player is a part-time job these days, you would be wrong.

Looking back at the backyard of my NFL-fan life, I seem to remember the grueling self-imposed workouts performed by all-pro and HOF receiver Jerry Rice during these silly-season summer months. The guy was self-possessed to stay in the best shape of his life during the June-July hiatus.

Jerry’s deal was to run…and run some more… mostly up hills in the desert. Not so much down hills.

Sometimes I wonder if our guys have that same kind of desire. But wait!!! Today I read that Fletcher Cox not only deadlifted 400 pounds but also benched 400 pounds in a scheduled summer workout.

Man, that is some kind of impressive!

Me, I figure if I were back in the day and part of a pro team, I’d be laying myself real low on the workout scene…Maybe jogging a mile or so on a daily basis. Hell No(!) to the 400-pound bench press scene!!!

Welp, give these guys the props they deserve. They are not taking the money and running. They really care about getting into optimum shape and holding up their end of the deal.

Our Eagles guys and the rest of the NFL are for the most part buying into the “Stack Routine” that once was a parochial high school thing but now has blossomed into a professional work ethic in the NFL.

And why not? Beginning with the 1980’s, for the first time in many a decade before that, an NFL player’s job is a full-time occupation. You can make a solid living at doing this. Why not prepare your body and mind with the toughest and most sound preseason workouts invented so far?