Switch to beast mode

Adebayo Akinfenwa – aka the world’s strongest footballer – tells FFT how he turns into a goalscoring animal. Grrr!

Exercise one: Bench press

“Naturally I’m a big, strong boy, but first and foremost I’m a football player. I never used to lift weights until after I signed for Swansea in 2005 and we trained in the same place as the Ospreys. Once I got a taste of competing against these rugby boys, it spiralled. The bench press is a classic upper-body exercise. Lie on a bench with your feet flat on the ground, then grab the barbell with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Take the barbell off the rack and lower it to your chest. Pause, then press it back up until your arms are straight, but don’t lock them.”

More after the break

Akinfenwa’s beast mode lift: 120-130kg (his one rep max is 180kg)
Your beast mode lift: The same as your body weight 
Reps: 10
Sets: 3
Exercise two: Bicep curls

“I work through my own circuits because I lift heavier weights than the other players. I like to perform a super-set of bicep curls and tricep dips [right]. This is two exercises, back to back, with no rest in between. I’ll start the curls on a heavy weight, completing 10 repetitions, before going straight to the dips. Then I’ll take some weight off the barbell and do 12 repetitions. I repeat this cycle, going up in twos until I get to 20 reps. Grasp a barbell with both hands, using a shoulder-width underhand grip. Keeping your arms at your side, bring the barbell up to shoulder level, until your forearms are vertical. Lower the weight to the start position.”

Akinfenwa’s beast mode: 50 kgs (starting weight)
Your beast mode: A third of your body weight
Reps: 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20
Sets: 6 (This is complete once you finish all six sets of this single circuit)
Exercise three: Tricep dips

“These are tough – I’m lifting my bodyweight, which is 16 stone – but I like to gym hard because my size really compliments my game, which is all about ball retention, scoring goals and roughing up opposition defenders. I haven’t come across anyone within football who is stronger than me. To do the tricep dips raise yourself up onto the parallel bars, facing forward, with your arms supporting your body weight. Then slowly lower yourself down until your elbows are at shoulder level. Finish the exercise by pushing your body back up to the starting position.”

Akinfenwa’s beast mode: His bodyweight
Your beast mode: Your bodyweight
Reps: 20
Sets: 6 (To be completed after each round of bicep curls)
For more football tips see:
In the gym with Tom Cleverley
How to bulk up for battle
Manchester United match fitness
Get your kettle on
Release the beast

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