A lot is expected of you when you are a first round draft choice. So when the New York Giants selected Justin Pugh with the 19th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the offensive tackle knew that he had his work cut out for him. The Syracuse product didn’t disappoint, starting all 16 games and being named to the PFWA All-Rookie team. Looking back on his inaugural campaign, the 23-year-old is far from satisfied with that.
“I don’t think that it (2013) was a good year for me,” says Pugh, 23. “We didn’t play playoff caliber football, and that starts with the offensive line.”
Comparing the NFL to the NCAA, Pugh said, “It’s like night and day. You’re playing against guys that have been in the same system for 10 years and in college, that’s maybe two years. And you’re not going up against guys like DeMarcus Ware in college.”
In his first offseason at the pro level, Pugh is looking to strengthen his already-impressive 6’5”, 315-pound frame – and that means a lot of gym time. He trains with a group of teammates that includes fellow O-lineman Eric Herman, Chris Snee and defensive tackle Markus Kuhn.
Here is what a typical week looks like for them, with the body part(s) and an example of some exercises. Each session runs between two-and-a-half-to-three hours each:
MONDAY – LEGS
Hang Cleans, Squats
TUESDAY – UPPER BODY
WEDNESDAY – Yoga
THURSDAY – LEGS
Chain Squats, Hang Cleans
“We also use a Tendo machine on this day, which measures the lift,” says Pugh, “and we’re always looking for a .7, .8 or higher.”
FRIDAY – UPPER BODY
Chain Bench Press
“Our strength and conditioning coach will mix things up,” added Pugh. “Maybe do some high pulls, power shrugs, incline bench press and dumbbells.”
Being in the trenches up front, Pugh knows that there are two exercises that are imperative for him – hang cleans and bench press. “I have to get better in my bench press this offseason,” he comments, also stating that he benches 385 pounds in his last set and his maximum lift for power cleans was 385 pounds for one rep while at Syracuse.
Be sure to follow Justin Pugh on Twitter – @JustinPugh
Photo courtesy of the New York Giants