NFL Training: Build a Football Body With the Andre Johnson Workout

Andre Johnson of the Houston Texans
Brian Bahr/Getty Images

Longtime Houston Texans receiver Andre Johnson was one of the best wideouts in NFL history. A virtual lock for the Hall of Fame, the dude was an absolute beast during his prime.

At his best, Johnson was an impossible matchup for cornerbacks.

He produced big seasons even when he wasn’t at his healthiest—in 2010, he caught 86 balls for 1,216 yards and eight touchdowns even though he only played 13 games. After missing more time in 2011 with injuries—“That really bothered me,” he said at the time—Johnson went wild, putting up back-to-back seasons of 100-plus catches and over 1,400 receiving yards in 2012-13.

Earlier in his career, including during the NFL lockout, Johnson trained with his with his old college teammates at the University of Miami, including players like linebacker Jonathan Vilma and wideout Reggie Wayne, along with other young guns and vets. They trained four days a week—Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday—running in a sand pit, sprinting on the field, and working in the weight room under the supervision of former Hurricanes strength coach Andreu Swasey.

Even though they were on different NFL teams, none of those rivalries mattered as much as the bond they shared as former Hurricanes. “We’ll talk more about the games we played when we were there than about playing one another in the NFL,” Johnson said. “The competitive energy just gets the best out of everybody. It’s kind of like a brotherhood. I’ve tried going down to another place, but it wasn’t the same. Going to The U is something I look forward to every off-season.”

Johnson’s dedication to fitness continued to pay off late in his career—especially on touchdowns like this:



Even if you don’t have access to the Hurricanes’ weight room, you can still get jacked like those guys.

Check out Johnson going through a version of his offseason workout, specially formatted for Men’s Fitness. It may not make you the best receiver in football, but it’s guaranteed to pack the muscle on your frame as you get lean and primed for fall football shape.

How It Works: You’ll train four days per week, focusing on speed and strength. You may not be familiar with some of the explosive exercises such as speed squats or power cleans, so take the time to learn the form precisely.

Some of the movements use the age-old pyramid technique (add weight and reduce your reps each set) to target the widest range of muscle fibers. You’ll also attack common weak points such as the rotator cuff, which can take a beating whether you’re playing football or lifting heavy, so you’ll stay injury-free all season (even if that just means fall to you).


Frequency: Complete each workout (Day 1, 2, 3, and 4) once per week. You can perform the first two workouts on back-to-back days, rest, and then do the next two workouts.

Time Needed: 60 minutes

How to Do It: Most of the exercises will be done as straight sets— complete all sets for the move before going on to the next. For the shoulder circuit on Day 1, complete one set of each lift without rest in between. Rest after you’ve finished the circuit and then continue with the rest of the workout. Check out the workouts below.

Go to the Andre Johnson Workout >>>

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