The 5 Simple Workouts That Got Tom Brady, 43, to the NFC Championship

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Tom Brady should be too old to play football. But the 43-year-old has seemingly found the fountain of youth, and on Sunday he leads Tampa Bay in his first year as a Buccaneer to the NFL’s NFC Championship. Maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise, then, that the Floridian has taken care in his fitness, which has in turn fueled his 21-year-old career. Longevity in the league takes planning, and in 2013 Brady, with longtime body coach Alex Guerrero, opened his wealth of knowledge to the public through his namesake health and wellness brand, TB12.

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Launched in 2013, TB12 now has three brick-and-mortar locations, including in Brady’s former football home of Foxborough, Mass., and Boston, with Tampa Bay as the latest base. Sean Walsh, a physical therapist by education and a body coach with TB12’s Tampa center, says that in regards to its conditioning program, rather than throwing around massive amounts of weight slowly, the start should begin with body weight and resistance bands, both of which provide an opportunity for fast movement and a variety of angles. “[Brady] moves quickly out there on the football field and wants to train his muscles in a quick way,” Walsh says. “When he gets out there, his muscles are already used to firing that quickly and that efficiently.”

Add a few or all of these prior to your workout, game, or morning and enjoy the increased muscle recruitment, reduced chance of injury, and performance bump. Sure, even at 43, you haven’t got a chance at catching Brady. But with these moves, you’ll add a little longevity to your own peak. 

Glute Bridge

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From QB1s to the everyday guy, activation of the glutes, or butt muscles in layman’s terms, is foundational. And yet for many men, they either aren’t firing in the correct timing or aren’t being activated at all. “A lot of times decreased glute activation leads to decreased power output,” Walsh says. Whether you’re trying to whip a tight 50-yard spiral or just sprinting to catch a bus, you can benefit with this simple exercise.

Targeted Muscles: Glutes and core

Equipment Needed: None

Reps: Twenty seconds

Sets: Three sets

Execution

  1. Lying on the ground, pull your heels close to your butt, knees bent
  2. Activate your core, keeping it tight throughout the movement
  3. Flatten the spine into the ground
  4. Squeeze glutes as you rise
  5. Raise until knees, hips, and shoulders align
  6. Lower to the start, keeping glutes activated 

Walsh recommends feeling your hamstrings as you rise. When done correctly, they’ll be relaxed rather than flexed.

Read more: Best Butt Workouts

Pallof Press

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The core is critical to stability and power transfer. For Brady, after the glutes, the next link in the power chain is the core, passing on the power generated low to the eventual whip of the wrist and into the ball. But for you, it may be moving something from shell to shelf, which takes pressure (and therefore injury risk) off of smaller muscles like your shoulders. 

Targeted Muscles: Glutes and core

Equipment Needed: A handled resistance band

Reps: Twenty seconds on each side

Sets: Three sets on each side

Execution

  1. Affix the anchor point of the band around shoulder height
  2. Standing, take an athletic stance with feet at shoulder width and a slight bend in knees and hips
  3. Orient yourself with the band’s anchor point to your left or right
  4. Engage your core and glutes
  5. Press the band straight out (it will pull from the left or right as you do so)
  6. Return to chest 
  7. Repeat rhythmically, switching sides with each set (band will pull opposite from the first set)

Read more: Best Ab Workouts

Single Leg Balance

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“We’re not always on two legs,” Walsh says. For Brady, it’s throwing a pass as his weight shifts from his rear leg to his forward leg, but for you it might just be on your daily jog, which is really just a series of single-leg hops. This exercise develops core strength as well as balance, allowing you to more effectively transfer power and control its forces. “Controlling those forces,” he says, “is key.”

Targeted Muscles: Glutes, core

Equipment Needed: None

Reps: Twenty seconds on each leg

Sets: Three sets on each leg

Execution

  1. Engage your core and glutes
  2. Bend your arms so that your upper arms are parallel to the ground on your forearms are perpendicular (like you’re signaling a field goal)
  3. Raise one knee up while keeping your core and glutes tight
  4. Return under control to the ground
  5. Switch legs

For an advance workout, add in turning your head, which will increase the difficulty of balancing. 

Read more: Best Leg Workouts

Core Rotation 

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The goal with the Pallof press was to control excess core rotation. This exercise harnesses the force you yourself generate. On the gridiron, Brady uses this rotational energy to throw bombs and laser passes between defenders. You’ll use it to reduce injury as you move a heavy lamp from one shelf to another. 

Targeted Muscles: Core and glutes

Equipment Needed: A handled resistance band

Reps: Twenty seconds on each side

Sets: Three sets on each side

Execution

  1. Affix the anchor point of the band around shoulder height
  2. Standing, take an athletic stance with feet at shoulder width and a slight bend in knees and hips
  3. Orient yourself with the band’s anchor point to your left or right
  4. Lock your arms out with the band flexed
  5. Engage your core and glutes
  6. Slowly rotate away from the anchor point, stretching the band, while keeping your hips stationary
  7. Pause at the apex
  8. Return, under control, to the starting point
  9. Repeat rhythmically, switching sides with each set (band will pull opposite from the first set).

Read more: Best HIIT Workouts

Lateral Band Walks 

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This final exercise is a graduation of sorts, incorporating the activation you learned with the glute bridge and the following exercises and putting them into a functional, lateral movement. Think of Brady’s small, precise steps in the pocket as he avoids the grasping hands of large defensive linemen seeking to rub his helmet in the turf. For you, it’s activating those muscles as you return to running, lifting, and rec-league basketball for greater speed and power. 

Targeted Muscles: Glutes, core

Equipment Needed: Small resistance loop 

Reps: Twenty seconds

Sets: Three sets

Execution

  1. Encircle the loop around your legs just above your knees
  2. Spread your feet and knees shoulder-width apart, feeling tension on the band
  3. Take an athletic stance, with knees and hips slightly bent
  4. Activate your core and glutes
  5. Step laterally right with your right foot
  6. Control your left as you bring it in to shoulder-width apart
  7. Repeat this pattern twice more, still moving right and maintaining tension on the band
  8. Switch and take a step left with your left foot, then control the right foot as you bring it back
  9. Repeat this pattern twice more, still moving right and maintaining tension on the band
  10. Repeat

Read more: Best 20-Minute At-Home Workouts

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