Legends are made in the NFL playoffs.
Whether it’s a quarterback driving his team down the field to score a game-winning touchdown, a linebacker forcing a fumble late to seal a victory, or a defensive end tracking down the quarterback for a bone-crushing sack, athletes get to show off their talents on one of the biggest stages in American sports.
But the real work for football players starts long before the spotlight hits. The extra lifts after practice when everyone’s left for the day, or the punishing workouts in the morning before anyone gets to the facility—that’s when the hard work begins.
And after 17 tough weeks of football during the regular season, all that hard work pays off in the playoffs.
Here’s how 17 NFL players got shredded, ripped, and muscular in the gym, all in the hopes of winning in the playoffs and getting to the Super Bowl, in 2017:
1. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
The Super Bowl-winning quarterback knows what it takes to get through the playoffs—check him out as he does some ab wheel rollouts, power pulls, boxing training, and dummbell stepups in the gym.
2. James Harrison, Pittsburgh Steelers
Age is just a number for this 38-year-old linebacker as he shows off some major “old man strength” in the gym. We’ve shown you his “super band” bench press—here are some more big lifts and a massive dumbbell workout from the big man.
3. Cameron Wake, Miami Dolphins
The defensive end is one of the most athletic players in the league at his position—probably because he crushes dumbbell workouts and heavy rope training in the gym.
4. Cliff Avril, Seattle Seahawks
The defensive end gives his whole body a workout with some sledgehammer training—check out more from Men’s Fitness here on those workouts. Dude: We wouldn’t want to be that tire after Avril is through.
5. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
The All Pro wide receiver gets himself ready for the playoffs.
6. Maurkice Pouncey, Pittsburgh Steelers
The lineman gets a leg workout in with some massive weight.
7. Michael Bennett, Seattle Seahawks
The defensive end is a beast at his position and a nightmare for quarterbacks—probably because he goes hard with sled pushes and heavy rope workouts in his training.
8. Lawrence Timmons, Pittsburgh Steelers
The linebacker pushes hard on his day off with some massive dumbbells on the bench.
9. Eric Berry, Kansas City Chiefs
The defensive star gets it going with some band work, massive dumbbels, and running drills.
10. Bud Dupree, Pittsburgh Steelers
The linebacker works on his explosion with some jumps while holding a medicine ball.
11. Luke Willson, Seattle Seahawks
The tight end doesn’t mess around in the gym—Willson goes big with deadlifts and work on the bench press with some big weights.
12. Victor Cruz, New York Giants
The wide receiver made his way back from a devastating knee injury and now he has the G-Men back in the playoffs. See more of his workout here.
13. Vince Wilfork, Houston Texans
At 35 years old, the former Super Bowl champion isn’t looking to stop playing anytime soon. Wilfork gets it going with 415 lbs on the bench.
14. Derrick Johnson, Kansas City Chiefs
The linebacker shows off his cannon-like biceps as he gets a lift in.
15. Marquette King, Oakland Raiders
The Raiders were so good this year, even their punter gets in on the action as King bulks up with some big lifts.
16. Brian Peters, Houston Texans
The linebacker pulls off a massive back squat in the gym.
17. Malcolm Smith, Oakland Raiders
The former Super Bowl MVP gets a workout in with a big bench press.