Justin Tuck Workout
Justin Tuck, NFL star defensive end and sack master for the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants, is no stranger to the weight room and to hard work. Even after winning the Super Bowl back in 2008, he called his trainer and begged for a workout a week later.
At Notre Dame, Tuck was nicknamed "The Freak" because of his unique combination of size and strength. At 6'5 and 275 lbs., Tuck recorded a wind-aided 4.56 second time in the 40 yard dash as well as a 380-pound bench press, 560-pound squat and a 336-pound power clean. He did all that back in 2005 when he was training for the NFL Draft. Factor in some added size, strength and age, Tuck could probably do even more weight in the gym nowadays.
In terms of his workout routine, Tuck trains Monday through Friday with Wednesday being a light day. He does a 30-30-60 workout, meaning he does 30 minutes of dynamic warm-ups followed by 30 minutes of movement skills and speed training. He ends with 60 minutes of weight work.
Before each workout, Tuck devotes 30 minutes to a dynamic warm-up to increase his mobility and flexibility. Dynamic warm-ups have many advantages to static warm-ups like the traditional "sit and stretch" approach. Since dynamic warm-ups involve continuous movement, it increases the body temperature and gets the muscles warmed up. In addition, dynamic warm-ups prepare the muscles and joints in a more sport specific manner than static stretching and increases coordination and motor ability as well as revving up the nervous system. It stretches and warms the muscles, ligaments and joints in all three planes of motion, as opposed to static stretching that only works one plane. Your entire body and muscular system is in synergy and you are more likely to fight off injury. To do dynamic warm-ups, do things such as bodyweight lunges or jumps- any movement in which you move your joints through a full range of motion, which will warm up your muscles and joints the best and awaken the nervous system in preparation of exercise. When you do a dynamic stretch, go up and down quickly. For example, when doing a standing hamstring stretch, move your hands up and down as if you were bouncing. Do this slowly and in a controlled manner.
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Besides doing dynamic warm-ups nearly every workout, Tuck also does 30 minutes of movement skills and speed training such as sprints, cutting runs and circuits. Football is based on a game of explosion so it's important to work the fast-twitch muscle fibers with these high intensity movements.
On Mondays and Thursdays, he works on his upper body with a range of power and strength training exercises. He uses everything from dumbbells, bars, and cords, as well as resistance mechanisms like sleds. One of Tuck's favorite exercises is a modified bench press, in which he is standing up and pushing a sled with handles (and weight plates) on the sides down a track. The average NFL offensive lineman is 300+ pounds. Tuck must condition himself to push through these lineman to get to the quarterback or make a quick tackle. The sled helps prep for this quick explosion off the ball. Tuck can push these sleds 100 yards, which really ramps up his conditioning.
As you can see, working with sleds builds up Tuck's explosion so he can get past offensive lineman to make that extra tackle.
On Tuesdays and Fridays, Tuck works his lower-body with a range of additional exercises.
At the end of his workouts, Tuck does a standing leg lift, an exercise he dreads. With his back against the wall, Tuck has to do a standing leg lift. He brings each leg up and over a four-foot-high track hurdle slowly, taking as much as 60 seconds for each rep. He does upwards of 50 reps. Said Tuck, "It's brutal. I feel like I can't walk when I'm done." This exercise works the front side of the hips and hip flexors. This is an area that many athletes ignore. The hip and hip flexors are one of the most underdeveloped body parts when it comes to strength training. In terms of football, the hip flexors are very important. They help build a bigger stride and rapid knee lifts, important aspects of proper mobility.
On Wednesdays, Tuck goes very light, mainly working on his flexibility and core. He may also do an extended cardio session to increase endurance. It's extremely important to consistently stretch and work on the core. There are so many injuries when playing football. It's essential to keep your muscles stretched so that injuries won't happen. Also, the core is where you get most of your power and explosion. Everything begins and ends with the core so it's also important to keep this muscle strengthened as well.
Tuck has a never-ending passion to train and be a better player. The fact that he wanted to workout a week after the Super Bowl shows his true devotion. With two Super Bowl rings under his belt, Tuck is surely looking to build a legacy. He's on the right path both on the field and in the weight room.
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