For some, watching an exciting game of basketball during March Madness or catching one match of the Stanley Cup Finals is enough to motivate physical activity. While this may only be a game of pickup basketball or street hockey played on roller blades, that’s understandable as we tend to fall back on the more casual and fun variants of what we watch on TV.
No matter how you choose to train your body, there are different methods to take you where you want to be. Some prefer the meditative aspects of a long jog, while others may struggle just to stay hydrated during a normal day. No matter where you’re at in your health journey or what your fitness goals are, finding inspirational heroes in any major league sport is simple enough.
It’s easy to admire the brute strength of a DK Metcalf or the finesse of a Sidney Crosby. But how do these players keep their bodies and minds in top shape week after week? Whether you’re looking for insight or an example to follow, keep reading below to learn how some of the top athletes stay in shape.
Russell Wilson, Quarterback in the NFL
As one of few quarterbacks to make his name in the NFL with a height under 6’0, Russell Wilson’s workout regime is all about giving him an extra edge. As the leader of the Seattle Seahawks, Wilson’s skill and strength on the field led to the 2013 Super Bowl win and three NFC West titles.
This year, fans and pundits keeping an eye on NFL betting odds for the Super Bowl will notice the Seahawks are still competitive—despite Wilson playing his eighth season with the NFL. At-home workout enthusiasts will be happy to hear that Wilson recommends a steady regime of lunges, squats, and jumping to help build and maintain leg and glute strength.
He also emphasizes shoulder exercises, which help keep his throwing arm in top shape. Pro tips from Russell Wilson include focusing on stability with plyometrics workouts. Upper body strength begins first with the legs, then with the core.
Serge Ibaka, Power Forward in the NBA
As part of the dying Seattle SuperSonics franchise when Serge Ibaka was drafted in 2008, the power forward had to quickly demonstrate his worth in order to survive the transition to the Oklahoma City Thunder shortly afterward.
As a three-time NBA All-Defensive First Team player, Ibaka lives by his cardio regime. Rather than build and maintain bulk like Wilson, Ibaka focuses on high-interval intensity training (HIIT) to keep moving from one end of the court to another without missing a block.
Ibaka recommends getting moving—no matter where that may be. In fact, he recently made headlines for his (casual) at-home workout that consisted of running up and down his hallway.
Whether you’re motivated on a treadmill, running stairs in your own house, or going for a jog outside with a friend, Ibaka’s advice is this: mix sprints with endurance running to build stamina.
Joe Lorincz, Conditioning Coach in NHL
Prior to leading the New Jersey Devil’s strength and conditioning programs, Joe Lorincz was a developmental coach for young hockey players. While the New Jersey Devils have struggled to make waves in the NHL since their last Stanley Cup run in 2011-12, Lorincz’s program is aimed at keeping players primed on the ice as they await their next chance.
Considering the sport, Lorincz places balance as the focal point of his training sessions. Hockey players need to push off from one foot rather than two, which means lunges and reverse walking are standard features for Devils players—much like Wilson’s NFL workouts.
Hockey players also need to be able to produce powerful moves—whether that’s a slap shot or a body check. Lorincz fosters this power with exercises like box jumps and medicine ball throws (weighted balls), then moves on to weight training to build muscle.
For those looking to increase power and speed, Lorincz recommends focusing on the order in which you work out. Though dependent on your goals, you’ll likely want to focus on building speed, then bulking up.