The 1 Workout Tom Brady Swears By Will Make You Rethink Everything

From tiring footwork to explosive tackles, training for the NFL is no joke. And as the quarterback for the Patriots, Tom Brady knows he’s responsible for leading the offensive line to victory.

Every athlete has their tried-and-true methods for keeping in shape — Brady himself is known for his extremely particular diet to fuel his body and aid in recovery. And when it comes to his actual workout plan, it’s just as unorthodox as what’s in his pantry. You won’t see this NFL star lifting dumbbells and jumping on the treadmill — he chooses to do this strange method instead.

His focus is on flexibility, not strength

Tom Brady about to throw the football

Being flexible will definitely help keep his muscles healthy. | Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Brady calls his fitness routine the “TB12 method,” and it certainly strays from traditional cardio and weights. While many athletes think of mobility, stretching, and flexibility as an afterthought to their routine, Brady makes it a key component.

As Men’s Health explains, the quarterback keeps his muscles in perfect working order by focusing on pliability over brute strength. The theory is that “pliable” muscles are soft and can recover faster than dense, hard tissue. By lengthening and softening the muscles, they can better absorb stress and impact — which is essentially the opposite of what bodybuilders and sprinters are doing.

The key to pliable muscles? Use elastic bands instead of weights

Tom Brady running on football field

The key is to not put too much pressure on your joints. | Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

It’s not that Tom Brady totally forgoes weight training — it’s that he incorporates elastic bands into his workouts to both condition and lengthen his muscles, too. Many athletes turn to squatting or bench pressing a heavy load to make major gains. But according to the TB12 method, no-load strength training is the key to developing functional muscles without putting too much pressure on your joints.

Try using a resistance band to do circle crunches, bow and arrow pulls, and squats, as demonstrated by Fitness, to get started with Brady’s method of training. You can use resistance bands for most motions, making them more versatile than free weights, too.

Foam rollers and massages are vital to his routine

Two physiotherapists applying pressure on couples legs.

Who doesn’t love a good massage? | iStock.com/ karelnoppe

While most athletes leave the foam rolling and flexibility training for just once or twice a week, Brady makes it a habit to incorporate this practice into his daily routine. His trainer also gives him deep muscle massages — but it’s not like what you’ll get at a spa. The New York Times explains the idea is to contract the muscles at the same time they’re being stretched to have better strength, control, and function.

To try it out for himself, Sports Illustrated writer Greg Bishop went to a TB12 sports therapy center. He used a vibrating foam roller to ease muscle soreness and improve blood flow — a tried-and-true Brady method — which you can purchase yourself if you have $200 to burn. 

Brady’s brain also gets a workout

Tom Brady on field while it is snowing

You cant perform well if your head isn’t in the game. | Jim Rogash/Getty Images

When your mind is strong, sharp, and adaptable, your body follows — at least that’s a philosophy Brady seems to abide by. He’s a huge proponent of mindfulness, balance, and moderation. And working his brain is just as important to him as working his muscles.

As TB12 explains, their BrainHQ program is designed to help improve your memory, auditory and visual processing, and attention span. This, according to the program, can help enhance your physical performance and muscle recovery as well. According to SI writer Greg Bishop, Brady will cycle through 29 brain games to keep sharp on and off the field.

You’ll never find him doing these exercises

Tom Brady about to throw the foot ball

A bunch of heavy lifting is not on Brady’s to-do list. | Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

While Brady certainly is benefiting from his unorthodox training methods, not every athlete benefits from flexibility. Sprinters, for example, usually have tighter muscles that can store and discharge a lot of force, Competitor.com explains. Looser muscle fibers can’t store as much force, thus they’re not as capable of explosive movements.

A runner’s muscles get tighter the more they perform this exercise. Because of this, we’re betting Brady doesn’t participate in a lot of sprinting. He also probably doesn’t cycle or lift extremely heavy weights, as these exercises work against his pliability methods.

His TB12 method appears to be working — but researchers are skeptical

 Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots celebrates after throwing a touchdown to Wes Welker #83 in the third quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the AFC Divisional playoff game at Gillette Stadium game on January 12, 2008 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Brady’s method might be on to something. | Elsa/Getty Images

As The New York Times notes, “muscle pliability” is totally foreign to exercise science. Brady and his trainer, Alex Guerrero, haven’t actually conducted or published any trials proving their method works. And Guerrero has only studied traditional Chinese medicine and has been investigated for making false health claims in the past.

While Brady preaches the benefits of soft muscles, we know those who never work out certainly have softer muscles than athletes — and yet they absolutely wouldn’t make stellar quarterbacks, either. It seems Brady’s method is all about finding that perfect balance, even if science has yet to prove how well it all works.

You’ll never get the results you want without proper nutrition

Tom Brady holding a trophy

Always fuel your body with the good stuff. | Timothy A. Clary/Getty Images

You don’t have to be as strict as Tom Brady to enhance your physique, but it certainly helps. He’s all about proper hydration and an anti-inflammatory diet for faster muscle recovery. He drinks up to 25 glasses of water a day, usually with electrolytes (but no sugar) added. And as for his diet, he refuses to eat anything that may inhibit muscle recovery. This includes nightshades, coffee, white flour and sugar, and gluten.

For starters, we suggest cutting back on refined sugars and processed carbs. Eat more protein, particularly after your workout, to give your muscles the building blocks they need for recovery.

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