Knowing what your body can handle is something that comes with experience, especially for a professional football player. Playing one game a week means that you have plenty of time to prepare and that entails practice on the field, conditioning and weight training. The latter may be the most important aspect of said preparation when you play ‘in the trenches,’ or on one of the lines for people not familiar with the sport.
“You don’t want to do too much (weight room) so that it makes you tired because you still need that pop to get off the ball,” defensive end Michael Johnson of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers says.
But what the five-year pro out of Georgia Tech may consider “not too much” is quite different from the average person. He is constantly in the weight room and makes sure to train his lower body twice every week.
As a defensive end, Johnson needs to have good shoulder strength to get by those massive tackles on the offensive line. So he makes sure to train them hard to be able to do the rip and swim moves that d-lineman have to master to be successful and get to the quarterback.
“Before I do any other upper body lifts, I always warm my shoulders up,” explains Johnson. “Inner and outer rotations, stretching them out all of the time.” Johnson performs a lot of straight-arm barbell front raises, dumbbell side lateral raises and bent over raises for his delts. But he also has a saying that summarizes the week of weight training that he and his teammates do.
After being selected by Cincinnati in the third round of the 2009 NFL Draft, the 6’7”, 270-pound Johnson amassed 26.5 sacks (with a career high 11.5 in 2012) over five seasons with the Bengals. This past offseason, he signed with Tampa Bay as a free agent and is a big part of that team looking for a bounce back year with a new coaching staff, quarterback and, of course, a starting defensive end.
“We’re working extremely hard and this city is hungry for a winning team,” Johnson concluded.
Be sure to follow Michael Johnson on twitter – @MJ93Fund
Photos courtesy of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers