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The common NFL player not only needs to possess the intelligence to learn a playbook and read the rival’s scheme on the fly, but they must retain the perfect balance of strength and athleticism to out hit, out block and out jump the opponent across from them. They treat their bodies like temples.
However, there is rare breed within the NFL that takes this to a whole new level. From employing personal chefs and acupuncture therapists to spending the wee hours of the morning in the weight room, some players don’t know when to quit. You may think there’s no way they find a way to fit these extra workouts and therapy sessions into their schedule during the actual football season, but they do.
Now, not all players on this list are visually ripped, but the strength remains. They realize their bodies provide for their family and it shows. Not to keep you on your toes for any longer, here are some of the strongest players in the NFL today.
Although the 40-year-old, James Harrison, retired from the NFL earlier this year, you can’t make an NFL’s strongest players list without including him. Harrison owes a lot of his success to the dedication he has to his body and the weight room — his intense workouts speak for themselves. The former undrafted linebacker out of Kent State turned two-time Super Bowl Champion and NFL Defensive Player of the Year played the same amount of snaps for the Steelers at age 28 as he did at age 38. His standards for in-season weight training resemble the lengths other players strive for to keep their bodies in peak shape all season long.
On the opposite side of the age spectrum, the 22-year-old Cleveland Browns outside linebacker is an absolute beast. At the NFL combine, two years ago, Garrett galloped his 6’4” – 272 lb. frame 40 yards in a mere 4.64 seconds while also possessing enough explosiveness to obtain a 41” vertical. To put that into perspective, Randy Moss’ vertical jump measured at 39” before being drafted. In regard to the strongest NFL players, Garrett also put up 33 reps during the 225 lb. bench press at the combine. His body outshines what most can do and will terrorize NFL offensive tackles for years to come.
The former Penn State legend, now New York Giant savior, is cut from the same cloth as Myles Garrett. His body can accomplish what most cannot. It’s easy to get lost in the fact he can run a 4.38-second 40-yard dash and jump 41” at 222 pounds, but that would completely look past him breaking seemingly every school weightlifting record in existence while enrolled at PSU. While in Happy Valley reports state he benched 390 pounds, squatted 495 pounds for reps, and power cleaned 405 pounds. There isn’t much more left to be said.
When looking at JJ Watt it’s sometimes hard to believe he actually plays football and not a star of the World’s Strongest Man Competition on ESPN Classic. When Watt’s not winning NFL Defensive Player of Year awards or helping raise $41.6M for Houston’s Hurricane Relief Fund, he’s in the weight room. While his athleticism doesn’t match up to that of Barkley or Garrett, he certainly outshines them in pure strength.
Watt put up big numbers at the NFL combine with 34 reps on the bench press. While that number is impressive, it’s important to know Watt never skips a leg day. JJ’s warm-up squat is a measly 600 pounds before squatting 700 pounds. That’s what many would call big boy weight, folks.
Strong Is an Understatement
Think you’re up for trying one of their workouts? From breaking records to ridiculous workouts, each of these NFL players pushes their bodies to the max granting them a spot on this list.
photos by USA today