Even among elite NFL athletes Myles Garrett, the edge-rushing defensive end for the Cleveland Browns, stands out.
The 23-year-old first pick in the 2017 NFL Draft is about as finely-tuned an athlete as exists in the National Football League. Garrett’s physique has been sculpted by some of the finest minds in sports science through school, college and into the professional ranks, where the 6ft 3in, 270-pound behemoth has been practically scientifically designed to own the necessary quickness, explosiveness and raw power necessary to topple opposing quarterbacks.
His two years in the league have seen him accumulate 20.5 quarterback sacks in just 24 starts in the league, statistics which place him in rarified territory as one of the most productive players in his position.
Garrett’s position, defensive end, is a notoriously difficult one to play. He primarily sits on the right side of his team’s defensive line while the opposition has possession of the ball. Generally, his sole task is often to bypass the other team’s Left Tackle — players who can often be upwards of 6ft 7in and well north of 300-pounds. After that, Garrett must locate — and hit — the quarterback before he releases the ball. All of this happens within the blink of an eye.
To be effective in this position one must have a seamless blend of speed and strength, attributes often thought to be mutually exclusive. Conventional wisdom says that the more muscle you put on, the slower you will get. Conversely, if you want to up your speed it is often thought that this can usually come at the expense of muscle mass. So how does Myles do it?
BENT OVER BARBELL ROWS
This technique will help you develop pulling strength in your upper body necessary to be able to manhandle players who are often bigger than him. The application to mixed martial arts would be in clinch situations, particularly against the fence.
Tips: Keep your feet hip-width apart and bend to lift with a shoulder-width overhand grip. Pull your shoulders back, making sure to keep your back and core tensed and bring the bar close to your chest. Remember to not use jerking motions but a small ‘bump’ to get going is fine. Lower the bar with control, and aim for 3 sets of either 6 or 8.
LANDMINE PRESS & CATCH
A more difficult version of the traditional landmine press. Find the appropriate weight for you (a personal trainer in your gym can assist here) and push forward with one hand and catch in the other — this will requite much more core strength than the vanilla version of the same exercise.
Tips: Again, keep your feet hip-width apart and knees bent. Engage your core and keep your back flat and push the barbell forward and release to your opposite side, where your opposite arm should be braced to catch it. Repeat. Start light on this one and only increase the weight once you feel you are comfortable with the motions required. 3 x 8 is good here.
If you want to add some mass to your shoulders, shrugs are the way to go. The stronger your traps are, it will help your shoulders in contact and, perhaps even more crucially to mixed martial arts, the stronger this area is, the more secure your head will be during contact.
Tips: Use two dumbbells of the same weight and lift your shoulders towards your ears, hold for a moment and release with control to your starting position. 3 x 8, once again, is a good number here.
JUMPING MEDICINE BALL SLAMS
This exercise will not only engage a whole host of muscle groups but it will help your body learn how to transfer energy between different areas and into your core.
Tips: Crouch into an athletic stance with the medicine ball held at knee height. Bring the ball over your head and extend your hips, knees and ankles to jump into the air. As you come back down slam the ball into the ground with as much force as you can muster, while also being careful to land softly on your feet. Repeat until you’ve done four sets of six.
BODY CONTROL TENNIS BALL DRILL
While this one is a little more difficult to replicate in the gym, this is one that you can enjoy outdoors with very limited equipment required. One of the negative repercussions of too much weight training is that you can easily begin to lose your ‘bend’, or your agility as you continue to add mass to your frame. This exercise is all about maintaining that as much as possible by being able to change levels at a moment’s notice, something which comes in very handy when attempting to take someone down in MMA or establish a pattern of faked takedown attempts. This will improve your agility, fluidity and balance.
Tips: Set up a cone system and place a tennis ball around the ‘corner’ from it. Start in a crouched stance and go towards the cone in front of you at full speed. When you arrive slow immediately and turn the corner, accelerate again and pickup the tennis ball in one fluid movement. Continue to push once you have retrieved the ball. Learn to understand where you will be in relation to the cone and the ball with each stride and adjust your speed and deceleration as appropriate.
View this post on Instagram
This article was based on an original report by stack.com.