Want to train like Rob Gronkowski? Here’s a blueprint for you so you can dominate just like he does!
If you’ve ever watched the NFL’s Patriots play, you know Rob Gronkowski. “Gronk” is a physical specimen.
He is the prototype tight end. At age 26, the New England Patriots tight end is already in the top three at his position in all-time touchdowns.
He’s built like a tank with the speed and agility of a racecar. Standing six-foot-six and weighing 265 pounds, Gronkowski is a match-up nightmare for opposing defenses. He’s too big for a defensive back. He’s also too fast for a linebacker and is the best-blocking tight end in the NFL. His big mitts swallow up passes thrown anywhere in his general vicinity. And, the only way to slow down the man known as Gronk is to commit a penalty against him.
While Gronkowski is blessed with a great body and natural talent, he is also one of the hardest workers in the NFL. To prepare for the gantlet we call the NFL season and maintain his All-Pro level of play all the way into the month of February, Gronkowski emphasizes a cross-circuit training approach to keep him in elite shape.
Football is arguably the most physically demanding sport in the world. World-class athletes with superior size, strength and speed all converge on one field and try to beat each other up. No these players do not throw punches or kicks. And, they do wear pads. But, on every play there is contact. And, by contact, we mean physical plays that look and feel like car crashes! Torn ACLs, sprained ankles, separated shoulders, broken ribs and concussions are just a few of the many injuries that pop up on the injury reports each week.
This Circuit Training Is The Road To The Top.
This is not for the faint of heart. It is played during the fall and winter months. Rain or shine, regardless of if there’s a foot of snow and below freezing temperatures, these athletes are ready to leave it all on the field. Not only must you be physically tough, but you must also be mentally tough to endure all of the elements of football.
Gronk more than endures the elements. While his career has had its fair share of injuries – from back surgery to a broken arm to a torn ACL and plenty of bumps and bruises in between – he has weathered the storm. Along the way, he has already been selected to four Pro Bowls in just over five pro seasons and will likely shatter every tight end record. In many ways, any stadium he walks into is his for the day. And, that’s all thanks to superior conditioning.
Gronkowski’s work is done on Sundays. No he doesn’t get extra money for working a Sunday shift. Instead, he makes his living terrorizing defenses and causing nightmares for opposing defensive coordinators. Every touchdown culminates with the patented Gronk spike and the Richter scale moves. The fans only see him on Sunday, but six other days of the week, Gronk is in the film room, practicing with his teammates and working out.
To stay in shape for 16 regular season games and the playoffs, the University of Arizona product tries to replicate Sundays in his training. To do that, he needs workouts that are not only going to help him specifically on the field, but he needs them to allow him to peak on game day.
These Are The Demands Of The Game.
Cross-circuit training is designed to not only increase strength and build muscle, but also keep the heart rate up and maintain good cardiovascular health. To play tight end, you must be strong. You must also be able to block defensive linemen and linebackers in the running game, be able to shed those blockers and get off the line to run a passing route.
You also need to have good acceleration to get off the line and agility to break in and out of your routes and avoid defenders. To get downfield and break free from defenders, you need speed. You must be fast.
You must also be in tip-top shape.
Gronkowski almost never comes out of the game for the Patriots because he is not only Tom Brady’s favorite target, but he is also the focal point of the offense. He is their best receiver, a superior blocker and makes the offense roll. New England is one of the more up-tempo offenses in the league, meaning you have to be in even better shape to keep up. Each play may last 5 to 15 seconds followed by a 30-second rest in the huddle before doing it all over again. But, the Patriots cut down on the rest and sometimes even go no-huddle. As the defenses tire out, Gronkowski must take advantage and he often does.
How Long Should You Do Circuit Training For?
To emulate a football game, he sticks to a workout that lasts about 30 minutes. To stay fresh and in peak condition, anything over 30 minutes at a high-intensity during the season would be overtraining. No one wants that. By the time November rolls around, physical condition would decline.
A 30-minute workout is done at the highest of intensities. Every rep is done like it’s his last just like every play on the football field is performed at 100% effort. The routine consists of a variety of bodyweight, barbell, dumbbell, plyometric and cardio exercises.
Ready To Be Gronk-Like?
Built like the Hulk with his chiseled upper body and his legs resembling tree trunks, Gronkowski always starts with a warm-up. Much like before a football game or any type of physical activity, it’s crucial to include a dynamic warm-up.
The workouts target the entire body so every muscle is hit just as it is in a football game. For weighted exercises, you’re doing one-rep maxes and instead are going with a lighter weight than you can perform the exercise with for up to 20 seconds.
These Are Some Of The Moves on Gronk’s Circuit Training.
What types of moves should you get in your Gronk-like workout? This can consist of simple movements such as shoulder circles, high knees, punches and hamstring curls. These bodyweight movements help warm up the muscles, raise the heart rate, improve range of motion around your joints and, most of all, help to prepare for the workout.
Next, the real workout begins. The exercises are designed to hit the entire body, go through all the ranges of motion and keep the heart rate up while still strength training. Start with 12 exercises and complete an interval of 20 seconds on and 40 seconds off. Complete two rounds of this with 3 minutes in between. Why have a 40-second rest interval? The NFL play clock is 40 seconds.
Where Should You Start?
Start with battle ropes. These elevate the heart rate in a hurry and target the shoulders and core area. Next, move onto the premier football movement, the sled. At the line of scrimmage, Gronkowski must block in the run game and move off the line of scrimmage and get open in the passing game. The sled allows you to push weight and imitate real life football in the trenches. No teammates needed!
Want more? The Gronk Fitness Power Sled allows you to not only push, but also pull and even attach a football diving pad. This full body exercise takes training to another level. Gronkowski needs that to prepare for Sundays when’s he up against a 300-pound defensive lineman.
Want that famous Gronk agility?
Follow the powerful work with cone drills, either front to back or side to side. Agility is a key component of football and has to be on point where avoiding a tackle or running precise routes.
What Should You Do For Your Core and Upper Body?
Do you want a chiseled back and core while only using your body weight? Hammer out some pull-ups. Next, hit the core with a plank. Focus on form and keeping the spine in alignment. Want more of a challenge? Add a leg raise or do a side plank to increase intensity.
Are you looking to gain some explosiveness? Football is all about explosiveness, especially at the tight end position. To increase explosiveness, do plyometric movements. Grab a medicine ball or slam ball and do ball slams. This helps keep the heart rate at a high level. It also helps shred the core and upper body.
What Should You Do For The Lower Body?
Follow that up with plyo jumps. Find a box and jump up on it. This is one of the top exercises to boost lower body explosiveness. Want a box that is easier on the joints? Look no further than the Gronk Fitness Soft Impact Plyometric Box Set. It is made of foam and helps soften the blow on the joints upon impact.
Next, grab a bar with lighter weight and do a clean or a snatch. Both of these Olympic-style moves require perfect form and execution with speed. The clean and the snatch are excellent for developing powerful hips, which are needed in football. Try the Gronk Fitness Lifting Bar when performing these lifts. It is a sturdy bar that can hold up to 2,000 pounds and has a lifetime warranty on bearings. Remember: To train like the best, you need to invest in equipment.
To finish off the Gronkowski circuit, do kettlebell swings, push-ups and a curl and press before you jump on the rowing machine. The rowing machine provides excellent cardiovascular exercise and works every muscle in the body. Try the Gronk Fitness M1 WaterRower, the premier rowing machine on the market.
It’s All About Getting Ready For Game Day.
Gronkowski takes care of his body by keeping it simple and efficient in the workout room. With the amount of physical wear and tear that takes place on the football field, it’s pivotal to take care of his body off the field so that his performance peaks on Sunday and can last the entire season.
Gronkowski’s cross-circuit training methods utilize bodyweight movements, weight training, cardio and more to hit the entire body. One of the main benefits of cross-circuit training is not only being able to strength train and receive cardio benefits, but it doesn’t require a ton of equipment or space.
He changes up the workouts frequently so that his performance does not plateau. Don’t have a barbell to use? Incorporate more bodyweight movements such as squats or plyometric exercises such as lunge jumps. No rower? No problem. Knock out some high knees and jumping jacks to elevate the heart rate.
Gronkowski is blessed with a perfect football frame. He has great genes. More than that, he has an undeniable love for the game. Gronk is also a dedicated worker on and off the field. He puts in the time in the weight room. He takes care of his body and because of that, he can perform at an All-Pro level.
But, don’t let that deter you.
You can also become Gronk-like. How?
Cross-circuit training is perfect for all shapes and sizes. That includes you! Whether you are looking for an efficient workout, want to burn some extra calories or want something that would work in a group setting, workouts like Gronkowski’s are for you.
You’ve got to want it. But, if you do, you can achieve it. You can keep things fresh, switching up certain exercises each session. Providing variation prevents boredom and keeps you invigorated when you work out. That’s what Gronk does. And if it works for him, it could work for you.
Gronkowski is only five years into his career and it’s almost a foregone conclusion that he will become the greatest tight end of all-time. He is quite simply the best. To be the best, you have to train like the best.
-By Adam Clark, CPT