Terrell Suggs does sprints to work on his power and explosion, attributes that are needed to attack the opposing quarterback.
When it comes to his off-season training, Terrell Suggs does workouts as creative as they are grueling. According to an LA Times article, Suggs trains in the off-season with NFL players like Keith Bulluck, Antonio Cromartie and Dwight Freeney.
Suggs, a 6’3, 260 lb. NFL linebacker, trains on “Strongman Hill,” a dirt slope on the Santa Monica Mountains. The workouts are extremely intense but so are the snakes that swarm the mountain. Suggs even carries a shovel on hand in case of a rattlesnake encounter. Rather than just running up the hill, he has 75-100 pound tires strapped to his body as he runs up the mountain. Suggs sometimes flops them up the hill end over end. When he’s not pushing or pulling the waist-high wheels, he pounds them with sledgehammers.
When it comes to his outdoor training, Suggs always has sledgehammers, sleds, ropes, and sandbags on hand. These objects require balance and full-body work, and engages his smaller stabilizing muscles. These workouts also increase his explosiveness. This explosiveness has helped Suggs become one of the best pass rushers in the NFL.
Training on mountains with tires make up only a small portion of Sugg’s intense training regimen. Suggs works with Ryan Capretta, a former assistant strength coach with the Ravens and Arizona Cardinals who now works with individual NFL clients. He trains with Capretta at Proactive Sports, along with the other players, where he does a specialized exercise regimen (video below). “We want them playing the same way in the fourth quarter that they do in the first,” Capretta told the LA Times.
Suggs does all kinds of compound and isolation movements. He does a lot of push-ups with chains, some upwards of 90 pounds draped across his back. Chain pushups are a form of accommodating resistance. This variation strengthens his muscles by forcing them to push against the resistance of the chains. The same goes for when Suggs does a bench press with chains. He also does all kinds of plyometrics, which consist of fast and powerful movements. Plyometrics bridge the gap between strength and speed to create power and explosion, along with boosting endurance and agility. This type of exercise involves loading the muscles and then contracting them in rapid sequences. Essentially this makes the muscle reach full force in the shortest time possible.
Some of the plyometric workouts that Suggs does is doing pushups while simultaneously moving his body across a range of platforms. Also, he does a lot of plyometric cable work where he quickly jerks the cables to work on his fast twitch muscle fibers. He also does a lot of conventional cable training. When training with cables, the tension will remain on his muscles throughout the entire range of motion. Since he is handling the weight with pulley cables, there is no rest permitted due to the continual tension provided by the cables attached to a machine or device. Working with cables adds extra variety to his routine and enables him to hit a complete range of motion. Besides doing explosive and quick movements using plyometrics, Suggs will focus on the negative movement. He may take upwards of four seconds to lower the weight after each lift. Since it is usually easier to lower more weight when lifting, slowing helps him engage more muscle fibers throughout the movement. Doing all this different training allows Suggs to become one of the more jacked players in the league. When he screams, you can see every muscle in his body.
He will usually always stretch after his workout, especially on leg days. He does a lot of dynamic stretches, rather than just static stretches. Dynamic stretching uses speed of movement, momentum, and active muscular effort to bring about a stretch. Unlike static stretching, the end position is not held. Research suggests that traditional static stretches may be detrimental to sports involving powerful movements. Dynamic stretching seems to be more effective at reducing muscle stiffness, which is thought to increase the likelihood of muscle tears.
Suggs also trains at Bas Rutten’s Elite MMA Gym, where he receives mixed martial arts training from 12-time world kickboxing champion Hector Pena (video below). Suggs goes through the typical physical and mental stress endured by an MMA fighter, which carries over to the football field. This really helps build his toughness. He also does a lot of bodyweight exercises, which adds even more variety to his routine. Not to mention, doing MMA is one of the better cardio workouts to do.
In terms of his diet, Suggs has improved with his eating. “It wasn’t just Popeyes (that I cut out of my diet), it was also the cookies. You know, I did like the cookies,” he told Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post. For breakfast, Suggs skips the heavy meals in favor of bowls of oatmeal and egg-white omelets.