How athletes train: Adrian Peterson

The training regimen:

“Besides team practices and games, I do two intense cardio routines each week throughout the season. One is usually a 30-minute underwater treadmill session in a HydroWorx pool. I turn on the jets to add resistance, activate my lower core, and force me to raise my knees to 90 degrees. It’s a full-body workout without the pounding you’d get on a hard surface.

My second cardio session consists of outdoor intervals. At the Redskins’ facilities, there are two fields right next to each other. I sprint at full speed from one end zone to the goal line (about 330 feet away), recover with a brisk walk until I get to the second field (about 30 feet away), then sprint the entire field (another 330 feet). Once I get to the end, I do the same thing in reverse to get back to the start. I once did 12 roundtrips, which took me about 25e minutes.

During the season, I’m also in the weight room three times a week for 90 minutes each. Mondays and Tuesdays I focus on lower-body sessions with heavy lifts like squats, lunges, and leg presses. I’ll perform two sets of 12 barbell squats using 345 pounds, for example. On both days I’ll weave in a few full-body moves. I like to use the BOSU ball for balance training and bands for resistance. Wednesdays are reserved for upper-body and core work. Training my legs early in the week gives them time to recover before we play on Sunday.”

The nutrition regimen: 

“I’ve always been conscious and cautious about what I put in my body. I eat like a bird, honestly, grazing on small amounts of food throughout the day.

Instead of fried foods, I eat grilled and baked fish and chicken. I’ll only have steak if I’m really hungry. I’m big on meal replacement shakes; my favorite is a product called Isagenix. I also drink a lot of juice, especially celery juice, which helps with digestion.

I rarely eat before practice, but if I do it’s egg whites, turkey bacon, oatmeal, or a few bananas with an Isagenix.”

The recovery regimen:

“I stretch at least four days a week for 15 minutes with foam rollers, lacrosse balls, and bands. I like to lie on my stomach, bend my leg at the knee, loop a band around my foot, and pull on the band to get a deep quad stretch.

I’m old-school, so I love ice tubs. I do cryo from time to time but I prefer getting into the water to feel the cold. I also book massages and supervised stretches to stay pliable and relieve any kinks I develop during the grind of the season. We have a laser bed at the Redskins facility that eases inflammation. It’s been really beneficial for me; I go in there at least twice a week for 15 minutes each.”

What’s next?

“There are a few records I’m eyeing. I likely won’t accomplish a career rushing record this year, but I’ll chip away at it and get closer to that goal. I just want to have an amazing season, help my team get to the playoffs, and ultimately win the championship.”