Natural ability is obviously important if you want to be an NFL wideout. But to really separate yourself from the competition, there's no way around it—you need to spend time in the gym.
New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall understands this all too well.
At 6’4” and 230 pounds, Marshall is one of the most physically gifted wideouts in the league. But the 32-year-old receiver, who also works as an analyst for Inside the NFL on SHOWTIME, doesn’t rely solely on those attributes to dominate the NFL—he puts in the time in the gym to make sure he's in peak form for the season.
“I think it's critical,” Marshall says of his training. "A lot of times when you see athletes, you only see the physical gifts, the talent on the field. But so much more goes into being able to play at an elite level, consistently, for a long time. That’s where the training comes in."
Marshall does a wide range of exercises and workouts to keep himself in top shape, including bench pressing, dumbbell rows, functional training, intense treadmill work, Olympic weightlifting, sled pushes, and—most importantly—squats.
“For me, the king of all exercises is the squat,” says Marshall. “It sounds pretty simple, but you get bang for your buck there. I know it's not exciting—it's not like, ‘Oh my God! This is revolutionary!'—but those are key for building my speed and lower strength.”
Marshall’s commitment to his fitness was on display during the 2015 season. After setting Jets records with 109 receptions and 1,502 receiving yards, Marshall became the first NFL player to have a 1,000-yard seasons with four different teams. With the way Marshall works out, it’s not a surprise to see him dominate.
“I have a few pillars that I go by and live by,” says Marshall. “One of them, that’s my physical fitness and exertion. Working out, speed and agility training, conditioning, strength training, it’s all extremely important.”
Here are some of the exercises that Marshall utilizes to stay ahead of the competition: