In just one full season in the NFL, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has become a dominant football and cultural force. Mahomes won the NFL MVP after tossing 50 touchdowns, he led the Chiefs to the AFC Championship game, and videos of his sidearm and no-look throws went viral on the internet, making scouts everywhere want to find the next Patrick Mahomes for their own team.
Update: Mahomes won the Super Bowl MVP award in the win against the San Francisco 49ers. Mahomes became the youngest quarterback to be named Super Bowl MVP, with Tom Brady as the only other one to do it before turning 25. Mahomes is the third-youngest Super Bowl MVP overall and the youngest quarterback in NFL history, at 24 years and 138 days, to win a Super Bowl and league MVP.
But all that attention hasn’t changed how Mahomes prepares to stay at the top of his game. As a former baseball player—and the son of an MLB player—Mahomes has a unique training style that has enabled him to make throws that other players can only watch with envy.
“Playing baseball has had a big impact on football for me and how I train,” Mahomes told Men’s Journal. “All the arm care that baseball players do definitely has had an impact on me and I’ve brought that to my football training and mindset. It translates directly to what I’m doing on the football field. I make sure to take care of that the same way I did when I played baseball.”
In fact, Mahomes showing what a baseball background can do for a football player may have convinced the Arizona Cardinals to pick the undersized Kyler Murray first in the 2019 NFL Draft. While Murray is just 5′10″, well below the height of most prototypical quarterbacks, he was a first-round pick in the MLB draft and was a baseball standout with the Oklahoma Sooners in college. While Mahomes may have had that impact, he’s focused on getting his team to the Super Bowl.
“I just go out there and play my game and I have great teammates around me that helped me look good,” Mahomes says. “My mindset is to work hard and find ways to get better. I want to make sure we keep building as a team and my ultimate goal is to win the Super Bowl.” Now, Mahomes and the Chiefs are champions after winning Super Bowl LIV in Miami against the 49ers.
By breaking out on the field, Mahomes has become a cultural force off the field, too. Mahomes joined the Adidas roster alongside athletes like Aaron Rodgers, Aaron Judge, and James Harden, and his style and cultural influence has continued to grow alongside his rising football career. “It was a great fit with Adidas, they’re all about football and so am I,” Mahomes says. “The ability to be able to go out there and express myself and then at the same time also to be a part of the lifestyle conversation was important for me.”
Mahomes took some time during his offseason training to speak with Men’s Journal about his go-to workouts, his style, how he makes those unique throws, and why he built himself a sneaker closet at home.
Men’s Journal: What are some of the ways you train to help you make those unique throws on the field?
Patrick Mahomes: I do a lot of single-leg stuff, but it’s more than just lunges and those types of workouts. I do step-ups and similar things, but what’s key for what we do together is that my trainer Bobby [Stroupe] will put me in these difficult and awkward positions and I’ll work on throwing from those spots. He’ll toss me med balls and I’ll have to catch it and try and keep my balance and my strength. I feel like that training helps me out a ton when I’m on the field and in those awkward positions. From doing those workouts, I learn to use my strength and balance to throw an accurate football. It becomes natural because of how we work on it together.
How did it feel to see those no-look and sidearm passes go viral last season?
It’s cool to see that blow up on social media and it helps out a lot that I have great players catching those balls. I’ve seen some videos of kids trying to copy those throws and it’s pretty cool to see them out there and how people have responded to them.
This slow-mo angle of Mahomes’ no-look 😲
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 10, 2018
What are your favorite workouts to do to get ready for the NFL season?
Two of my favorite static workouts are the deadlift and bench press, but I can’t bench press anymore because of my position. I can only dumbbell bench press, but I still love to do it. With the deadlift, I just love the explosion part of it. I guess I like it because I’m good at it, but I feel like it’s a great workout.
If you were limited to only one type of workout to train for football, what would it be and why?
Definitely arm strengthening training on my upper body, like shoulder strengthening and rotator cuff work. For me as a quarterback, that’s the most important stuff you can work on. It’s not only about strengthening my arm, but managing how it feels and making sure it’s strong enough so I don’t get injured and help prevent any injuries as well as I can. All that’s huge for being a quarterback.
You’ve talked in the past about having a big shoe collection. How many pairs are you up to now?
I actually built a shoe closet in my house for all them. It’s always been a dream of mine to have a closet for my sneakers. I’ve always loved sneakers and this was something I always wanted to do. I had to actually get rid of some to make room in the closet [laughs]. I was at 180 pairs when the closet was built, so right now I’m probably around 200 pairs. Being with Adidas has helped out the collection quite a bit. I also really like the adidas ZX 4000 4D shoes. I’ve recently been really into the AlphaEdge shoe, it has that sporty feel to it, and it’s very comfortable and has a lot of style in it too. There’s a lot of colorways of that, so I’ve been wearing those a lot, and I actually have a pair on right now. For a go-to, my pick is the Ultra Boosts. They’re like the most comfortable shoes you could have and they have a bunch of different colorways. In fact, I have a whole wall in my shoe closet that is just straight Ultra Boosts.
How should a person handle success? How about failure?
I think you should have the same mentality either way. You should be almost kind of neutral where you want to make sure that if you’re having success, you still want to go out there and do better every day, and if you’re dealing with failure, you have the mindset to bounce back and keep going. It shouldn’t be too high or too low and always keep that same mindset to get better each and every day.
Who have you learned the most from in your career?
My godfather, [former MLB player] LaTroy Hawkins for sure. My dad has been very influential in my life, but my godfather played in the MLB for 20 years and he did everything the right way. Watching him go about his business and listening to the advice he gave me, it put me on the right track and taught me the right way to go about what I’m doing.
What have you enjoyed most about working with Adidas and joining the roster?
It’s all been great so far with Adidas. Once you meet the people at Adidas and see the type of motivation that they work with and love they have for the company, it made it an easy choice for me to join up. I’m working on being the best athlete I can be and as someone who has always loved shoes, it’s amazing seeing everything grow and it’s exciting to be able to do my part and build the brand in the best way possible.
How does it feel to be able to influence other athletes and kids out there with your style and the way you play?
It’s really cool. I’m really just trying to go out there and be myself and show off my style and who I am as a person, and if that influences kids and other athletes out there, that really is a special thing to think about for me.
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