T Nation

Tom Brady Training Re-evaluation

Hi Coach,

So I know we traditionally prescribe big explosive movements/exercises (deadlift, cleans etc) so football players can hit and be able to take hits. I guess what’s shocking to me is that Brady has defied the logic, by not doing them ever over the past few years. Any hs/college/pro coach would be irate at his defiance!

And I know he isn’t taking as many hits or as hard of hits as younger guys, but you’d think as an older guy, he wouldn’t need to take as many or as powerful hits to go down for an extended period of time.

That to me seems nuts, and maybe we need to reevaluate the importance we place in such lifts? Which I love doing btw

Brady isn’t great because of his physical abilities (other than his arm). He is great because of his intelligence / instinct for the game.


It’s not a matter of him being great, per se, it’s more him lasting and performing was the Genesis of my question

He is also a QB, which for some is pretty physical, but for others not so much. That game intelligence / instinct comes in to play with pocket awareness, not taking hits, not taking sacks and timing things out. It allows him to not have as good of physical traits, and still be great. I would say he is an exception to the rule though. For almost all players being strong helps a lot.

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It’s all about pliability!

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Well your right, he’s not like a russel Wilson scramble and being in the open field. However, given his age, I wouldn’t think he’d need to take as many (or as hard) hits to get hurt as a russel Wilson would. Wouldn’t you think his body would become less tolerable of that, don’t we all lose some of that as we age?

So if his main practiced “method of defense” pliability vs traditional football exercises is at least partially producing this, do we not need to at least rethink things?

Orrrrr, are we going to find out 5 years from now he was on something that we couldn’t test for, that enhanced his ability to withstand things?

I would think another thing to consider is at his age, can he withstand the physical demands of playing and training with squats and deadlifts. Myself as a 33 year old can sometimes be sore for a couple of days after squats or deadlifts. Maybe the younger guys can do both, but he can’t. Not saying that is the case, but something to consider.

Is this really true? I would think they would be more concerned with performance on the field rather than performance in the weight room.

I think any coach who had a player tell them, “I’m not doing a traditional weight program, I’m just gonna focus on staying healthy” would lose their mind. Certainly at the HS level, and for 99% of the Collegiate and pro coaches. With a Trevor Lawrence/Brady being sole exceptions

Brady has/had his own special little guy handling his fitness. He was around the team, but doing his own thing for strength and conditioning. A couple years ago the Patriots banned the little trainer guy from their facilities. So there must have been some kind of friction caused by the “special” workouts.

Anyway, people’s bodies change over time. The training that you do when you’re 20 will be different than your training in your 40s. Big, heavy lifts produce less results and more damage over time, so it’s not like it’s a huge mystery.


“Special little guy”, “special workouts” hahahah I love it!

Glad you didn’t completely dismiss my PED allegations

I think @T3hPwnisher likes to say lifters over 30 need to get real. Aside from that IIRC, he doesn’t think deadlifts should be done in high reps, or really at all after a certain age.

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For what Brady is trying to accomplish, adding numbers to his back squat would not be helpful. Also, let’s not let the exception be the rule, but I do think if you look at Peyton, Brady, Brees, Marino, Montana, and other classic drop back QBs, adding additional muscle bulk would perhaps hinder more than help them.

That dude Rarely deadlifts.

I guess I skimmed right over the PED allegations.

I do 100% dismiss them. Then again I guess I wouldn’t totally be shocked. The Patriots are known cheaters, right?

It just seems like if Brady did something wrong we would definitely hear about it. Peyton Manning was universally loved and some goon still tried to take him down with HGH rumors. Tons of people hate Brady.

With steroids, deflated balls is a common issue.

With shady massage parlors in Florida, deflated balls are also common.

With the Patriots, deflated balls seem to be a reoccurring thing.

  1. As it was mentioned, Brady’s game has never been reliant on speed, strength or power. He was slow when he got into the league (5.2 / 40) and he is just as slow now. He is also super smart, has a quick release and throws 90%+ of his passe from the pocket. Among QBs he is one of the guys who gets hit the least often. In that regard, he is not that different from a baseball pitcher (not the best comparison because Brady DOES get hit from time to time, but not that much, especially in the past few years with more attention to QB safety) as long as his mind stays sharp, that he keeps studying his opponents and doesn’t get injured he can play a long time.

  2. As for avoiding injuries, it is true that Brady has been relatively devoid of injuries (one serious one if I remember). Which had me say a few years ago “Don’t ask about Brady’s program, ask about his linemen’s program”… what I mean by that is that he always (except for 2 seasons) played with an awesome offensive line in front of him that dramatically reduced the amount of hits he got. Furthermore, when he was in New England they played more of short passing game, most passes leaving his hand 3 seconds or less after the snap. That + good offensive line = few serious hits (less injuries and his body stays in good shape).

  3. What he is doing training-wise is enough to maintain the limited amount of athleticism he has. Meaning maintaining his arm strength and overall mobility. But let’s be frank, his arm strength is in no way shape or form related to his training program. Just like Pedro Martinez who could throw 98mph at a body weight of 175lbs and no muscle to be seen. Some people just have a good arm… could be fiber time, could be related to fascia or other elements. For example, my QB in high school could throw 70 yards with his left arm and 65 yards with his right arm without hitting the weight room! (ironically he ended up bulking up and played fullback professionally!).

  4. Since Brady’s game has never been reliant on physical capacities, any training regimen that avoids injuries and prevents a decline in what he has will “work”. But it has little impact on his play.

  5. What I do believe though is that Brady’s diet and lifestyle did play a role in giving him longevity. Essentially it looks like he hasn’t aged a day in the past 20 years. Some call his diet excessive and a lot of it is pseudo-scientific hogwash. BUT it is based on eating only natural food, keeping his weight stable and he has a very good life hygene. This reduces systemic inflammation which can delay several aging factors.

  6. Last point: NEVER look at the program of the best athletes and think for a minute that it is the main reason for their success. You have some of the greatest players training all sorts of way. Jordan and the Bulls did the big lifts and olympic lifts, Wayne Gretzky didn’t train at all. Wilt Chamberlain could bench press over 400lbs and deadlift over 700lbs, Shaq didn’t weight train and did mostly cardio. Ben Johnson squatted 600lbs and benched 425lbs, Kim Collins didn’t lift weights, all he did was plyo and med ball throws. Nolan Ryan was a training buff and says that weight training helped his arm recover faster between outings, Roger Clements could squat over 500lbs… but guys like Randy Johnson and Pedro didn’t weight training much.

When I see an athlete do something different, I analyze what he is doing and objectively assess what would be the physiological and biomechanical impact of that training method to see if it’s something worth adding to my arsenal. But I do not consider the athlete’s success on the field in my evaluation of the method itself.


In all fairness, before it was banned by the NFL, QBs were among the biggest hGH users! In fact, the biggest dose of hGH I’ve heard was by an NFL QB, not a pro bodybuilder!

QBs and pitchers are the athletes who are the most scared of an injury, especially a tendon injury. And hGH has solid healing properties, especially for tendons.

By enhancing whole body repair it can also slow down the aging process (which is why it is prescribed by anti-aging clinics and is rampant in Hollywood).

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Fascinating thread - thanks for your insight Coach T!