The best NFL players not only have the brains to learn the playbook and read the opponent, but they must possess the strength and athleticism to out run, out catch, and out hit the enemy. From the long hours in the trainer's office after practice, to the early mornings in the weight room, and every steroid cycle in between, these athletes look like Greek Gods!
Actually, some of these players are so jacked and cut that they could probably compete with the best bodybuilders in the world! There are linebackers! There are running backs! There are punters? You betcha, and now, maybe Phil Heath and Kai Greene will finally have some competition.
Now, not all players on this list are ripped; some just are strong as hell! It just gives you a glimpse into how seriously these athletes take their lifestyle. They go hit the weight room religiously, they eat right all the time and they always ensure they are taking good care of their bodies. They put their fitness first and it shows. So, without further ado, we will hit the weight room and take a look at the top 15 NFL players who look more ripped than bodybuilders.
15 James Harrison
Believe it or not, James Harrison is going into his ump-teenth season in the NFL, but the 39-year old has no signs of slowing down.He has a ridiculous workout routine and looks like he could bench a car. Coming out of Kent State undrafted, Harrison has always played with a chip on his shoulder. Everyday he is in the gym before dawn and even hits the gym the mornings after the team plane touches down in Pittsburgh. Talk about dedication!
The five-time pro-bowler and two-time Super Bowl champion is an absolute beast. If you don’t believe me, just check out his Twitter or Instagram and tell me that you aren’t motivated to hit the gym. In 2017, we will continue to watch the “Silverback” (as his teammates call him) dominate opponents and look like a man among boys on the field.
14 Myles Garrett
Garrett, who was drafted first overall by the Bad News Browns in the 2017 NFL Draft, hasn't played a down in the NFL yet, but already looks like a beast. Many experts think that the Aggie was taking plays off in college, but his combine was absolutely amazing. As a 272 lb. defensive end, he ran a 4.64 40-yard dash and had a 41" vertical. To put that into perspective, OBJ only had a 38.5" vertical. Expect to see some batted balls from Garrett this year! But with all that explosiveness also comes tons of strength. In the 225 lb. bench press, Garrett put up 33 reps. That is absolutely incredible. With all this athletic ability, hopefully the Browns can utilize Garrett to his fullest potential and he can succeed on the gridiron.
13 Vernon Davis
A 4.38 40-yard dash and a tight end? Vernon Davis is a mix of quickness, strength, and just lots of muscle. He comes in at No. 13 on our list of Top 15 NFL players that could be bodybuilders. Just look at the dude! If you were in the gym, and he was pressing 405, I’m sure you would stare and watch.
While he is getting older, Davis still productive on the field. In 2016 he put up decent numbers as the number two TE in Washington, reeling in 41 catches for 521 yards and 2 TDs. He has earned the nickname “Cyborg” for his insane athletic ability. The Pro Bowler has an intense offseason regimen, mixing in pyramid sets with AMRAP (as many reps as possible) sets. He also keeps his feet agile by doing resistance training and plyometrics. Davis credits his longevity in the NFL to his strict workout routine.
12 Jon Beason
Or should we say Jon “Beast”on? Lame jokes aside, the former Carolina Panthers linebacker and two-time All-Pro looked like a monster on the field. During his time in the NFL, Beason made 705 tackles, had 4 sacks, and 10 interceptions, but was most known for being a dominant run-stopper. Unfortunately in 2011, Beason tore his achilles tendon and lost his starting job to Luke Kuechly in 2012 (who eventually went on to win defensive rookie of the year).
Beason’s intimidating physique stems from a lifetime of dedication to fitness. Not only does Beason do your typical upper and lower-body exercises, but he mixes in spinning and water aerobics to relieve pressure off of his joints. One thing the ex-Panther stays away from is CrossFit. While he says it’s a great workout, there are too many factors that can cause joint and ligament issues due to improper form.
11 Melvin Gordon
Gordon did not have the promising Rookie season that Chargers fans were looking for, but he bounced back with a vengeance in his sophomore campaign. Thanks to coach Anthony Lynn and Ken Whisenhunt, all of the Chargers RBs are jacked this year, as they are making a more concerted effort to focus on “power football”. According to reports, Gordon put on a solid 15 lb. of muscle this off-season. Not to say Gordon was small to begin with, as the ex-Wisconsin Badger put up 19 reps of 225 lb. at the combine and can squat 510 lbs. But damn, if he tears up his knee again, maybe he has a career posing on stage with other guys his size. I doubt he’ll plow through Khalil Mack, but expect some big hits from Gordon this year.
10 Connor Barwin
Barwin just signed a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Rams worth $6.5 million in the 2017 offseason. It may be his final run, but that’s not for lack of athleticism. The one-time Pro Bowler is absolutely jacked. Huge! He has posted videos on his Instagram of his crazy workouts, even one where he put up 405 lb. twice on the bench. There is even one where JJ Watt (who, spoiler, we will get to later on) Brian Cushing, and him are crushing a workout.
Barwin’s full workout and meal plan is detailed in an interview with GQ. Some highlights include heavy workouts early in the week, followed by some lighter workouts leading up to the game. Post-game, Connor enjoys a pizza to replenish his amino acids and proteins (come on Connor, there are better choices for that!)
9 Robert Turbin
5' 10", 220 lbs. and one giant beast of a man. Robert Turbin is an NFL running back who has arms thicker than most guys waists. It's like all he does is curl, all day long! Just from this picture alone, you can see that he is ridiculously swole. Turbin's deltoids are so wide, he probably has to walk through doors sideways or else he will get stuck. It must be hard for him to fly since he always has he can't bring his "guns" as a carry-on.
Aside from being huge, Turbin has not had the best career, bouncing around from Seattle, to Cleveland, to Dallas, to currently, Indianapolis. He has only gained 1,291 yards and had a total of eleven touchdowns. But even if he is not a hall of famer, he sure has hall of fame arms.
8 Reggie Bush
Although he never panned out to be the stud RB that he promised to be in college, Reggie Bush looks like her could be a Calvin Klein model. His chiseled physique was featured on the cover of Essence magazine, titled "Black Men, Love & Relationships." But there was a huge uproar because Reggie was accused of dating only non-black women (Kim K) at the time. It's okay Reggie, everyone has their "thing."
During the course of his career, Bush has had over 9,000 combined rushing and receiving yards and 58 total TDs. Injuries caught up to Bush and he hasn't been able to use his quickness to his ability the past couple years. Maybe he is still feeling the effects of this hit from Sheldon Brown, or maybe, behind his physique, is less strength than you truly think.
7 J.J. Watt
The pride of Houston, J.J. Watt is No. 7 on the list of top athletes that look like they could be bodybuilders. When J.J. signed his contract extension, he didn't celebrate with a bottle of Dom Perignon, he celebrated by hitting the gym at 4 a.m. the next morning. He has a cabin in the middle of the Wisconsin wilderness that he goes to in the offseason and just trains. In 2016, he invited 20 of his teammates to train with him, and flew them there on his private jet! What a beast!
Lucky for us fans, due to his popularity, the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year has a lot of his workouts online. Everything from weight training, to core exercises, to flipping lots of tires. If you don't believe me, check out this short clip of Watt's complete workout.
6 Steve Weatherford
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a punter! Steve Weatherford is known as "the most ripped man in the NFL." He isn't your typical NFLer on this list. No 18" biceps, no striated pecs, and not too many reps on the bench, but he clearly would win any physique competition. Plus, in the NFL, it helps a team a lot to have an athletic punter, even one who gets drug tested after big performances.
Whether he was pooching it into the corner, pinning opponents deep in their territory, or bombing it 60+ yards, Weatherford is one of the most badass, and atypical punters out there. After the 2015 season, Weatherford unfortunately left the NFL to pursue a career in fitness. His self-made, 90-day program, "ARMageddon," is an arm specific workout that helps you look as ripped as him!
5 Adrian Peterson
AP found his new home this year down in New Orleans, but even at 32 years old, he will be terrorizing NFC South defenses in 2017. From his days in Norman, Peterson has always had the strength and athleticism to run north and south, or juke defenders out of their cleats. Even though his workout and diet regimen are strict, injuries still plagued Perterson and in 2011, he tore his ACL in a late season game in December. But miraculously, through tough rehab and sheer determination, AP went on to break 2,000 rushing yards in the 2012 season and win the NFL MVP.
Rumor has it that Peterson has a 540 lb. squat, 41" vertical leap, and can put up 30 reps with 225 lb. on the bench. Some amazing numbers indeed! The seven-time Pro-Bowler is truly a beast on and off the turf.
4 Vernon Gholston
Gholston's performance in the NFL goes to prove that size doesn't always matter. Despite being a beast of a human being, the 2008 first-round draft pick never panned out in the big leagues. Widely considered as one of the greatest draft bust in Jets history (and the Jets have had some bad ones), Gholston never even recorded a sack in the NFL. But come on man, you can't blame New York, he played great at Ohio State and has a massive stature.
At the NFL COmbine, Gholston came in at 6'3" and 266 lb., putting up 37 reps in on the bench, which tied the record at the combine that year. But again, only 42 tackles (and zero sacks) later, Gholston was out of the NFL.
3 Vic Beasley
Beasley came in to the league in 2015, drafted as a the 8th pick overall by the Atlanta Falcons. Some of his combine numbers are ridiculous! As a 6/3", 246 lb. linebacker, he ran a 4.53 sec 40-yard dash and put up 35 reps on the bench press. In 2016, Beasley made the Pro Bowl and helped lead Atlanta's defense to a Super Bowl appearance.
From his first, lightning quick step off the line, to his bone crunching hits, Beasley is improving his all-around game. Credit Beasley's college size for his drive and determination. After his career at Clemson, experts thought he was undersized, so he did what most undersized defensive players do, bulked up! After Gholston, it's good to see someone use their strength and size to their advantage.
2 LaRon Landry
Landry's biceps are bigger than your head. Seriously, the guy is absolutely huge. Maybe that's because he was indefinitely banned from the NFL in 2015 due to his third violation of the league's performance enhancing drug policy. You can't get arms that big without a little help from scientists. But let's be fair to LaRon, you can't just take 'roids and be huge, or else every bro would look like Arnold. It takes hard work and dedication to get to the physique of Hercules.
Ex-teammate Bart Scott said in an interview that Landry "works out 23 hours a day." Despite never playing offense, Landry decided to workout with everyone during training camp, both offense and defense. For more information on Landry's workout routine (minus the PEDs), check out his instagram videos and interviews.
1 Clay Matthews
While Clay may not be the consensus No. 1 overall, his dominance, appearance, and overall attitude place him at the top of our list. I am sickened that Marvel cast Chris Hemsworth as Thor, because Matthews would have been the ideal candidate to play the Norse God. A mixture of muscle, hair, talent, and ability; the perfect bodybuilder combination. I mean, even bodybuilding.com has their own piece on Clay's workout routine.
Over the course of his career, number 52 has recorded 396 tackles, 72.5 sacks, 6 interceptions, and 13 forced fumbles. He is a six-time Pro-Bowler, Super Bowl champion, and maybe someday, if he keeps hitting the weight room as hard as he hits quarterbacks, he could be Mr. Olympia! With that being said, Clay Matthews is the No. 1 NFL Player that looks more ripped than a bodybuilder.