Travis Kelce shares his off-season training
ITS RIGHT EXTERIOR the hip was not pulling. And Travis Kelce didn’t have it.
It was a hot June morning in KansasCity, and the Chiefs tight end was halfway through training. Minutes earlier, Kelce had run five yards up the field, planted his right foot and cut across the field for a capture. Now he was performing the exact same piece, but this time he took two small steps before his cut and followed with another take.
The hold didn’t matter; Kelce was only thinking about that sleeping right outer hip, which stabilizes your knee as you change direction, preventing injury and helping you explode. He approached his trainer, Alex Skacel, and showed his hip. He had finished running. Kelce finished with 45 second side planks with the upper leg lifted. “It’s now,” he told Skacel. A day later he was back to running. “I really focused on the little things that keep the big picture in mind,” says Kelce. “Rehabilitation, prehab and what you can do to stay on the pitch and at your best athletic level. “
It’s all that little thing (yes, really) that made Travis Kelce the six-five, 255-pound manimal he is now, a player entering the 2021 season as the NFL’s top tight end. after three consecutive seasons of over 90 catches and six Pro Bowl appearances. He’s also one of the best real-world NFL athletes in a position that is finally getting the credit he deserves. Of course, receivers have purer speed, offensive linemen are bigger and stronger, and cornerbacks can instantly change direction. But from Kelce to Tampa Bay legend Rob Gronkowski to Atlanta Falcons rookie Kyle Pitts, modern tight ends have all of these traits, and more.
Every Sunday, Kelce, 31, needs enough speed to pass the defensive backs and enough lateral quickness and raw power to block the giants from the defensive line. He needs the basic stiffness to ignore potential attackers and the ability to jump to snatch passes in the air. “Ask yourself, ‘What is a tight end? “, Explains Kelce. “It’s not just a position or a thing. We’re like the utility guy. Whatever you need to do, we have to be able to have that attribute or that ability to be successful. ”
This is the toolkit that every guy can use. Think about it: you don’t need the speed of an Olympic sprinter every day. But you need a burst of explosive energy to catch the train you’re about to miss, a dash of agility to keep up with your kids during a tag game, and the strength to pick up that Amazon box. at your doorstep. And Kelce’s cerebral, nuanced approach to fitness can help you develop that while protecting your body from injury.
Kelce started to break in his approach to fitness long before catching assists from Patrick Mahomes and pushing the Chiefs to back-to-back Super Bowl appearances. In the fall of 2005, while in his sophomore year at Cleveland Heights High, Ohio, his gym character, “Trainer Trav,” was born. Kelce failed the French course the previous year, which automatically made him ineligible to play football.
Except Kelce’s dad convinced him to work with the team behind the scenes. So Trainer Trav stuck his ankles and gave water on the sidelines of the matches. “This was the start of my appreciation for the anatomy of the body, the understanding of being healthy and at your peak athleticism at all times,” he says.
He flourished when Kelce started playing at the University of Cincinnati in 2009. At first he suffered a shoulder injury and was assigned to work with a physiotherapist. Instead of going through rehab movements, Kelce mentally cataloged the exercises that would strengthen the muscles around his shoulder blade, protecting his shoulders. He came to realize that he needed strong diamonds and rotator cuff muscles. “I locked them up where if I grabbed a 300-pound fat guy and he threw me around like a rag doll, it protects my shoulders,” he says.
While in the NFL, Kelce wanted to focus on training his stabilizer muscles. This suited Skacel perfectly, who he started working with in 2017. Of course, he did exercises like squats, lunges and rows. But he also received a heavy dose of lighter movements. (See “Real NFL Muscle” below.) “We don’t want Travis’ body to rely solely on the bigger muscles,” Skacel explains. “All the things that make him great come from this stable foundation that he has built.”
A pair of coaches – Skacel, who describes himself as a “sports physiotherapist,” and Florida-based Tony Villani – help Kelce do it, and the tight end contributes to those discussions by dissecting every passing pattern he has. he performs, just like he did that June morning. But he refuses to do it on a 24/7/365 schedule. After the Chiefs’ fall to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in February, Kelce has spent more than a month doing anything other than fitness, an off-season tradition that he says prepares his body to perform optimally once it gets down to business. ‘he returned to training. “The point is, for the six months that you’re in the season, you focus so much on it,” he says.
Once Kelce begins his offseason, he focuses intensely on those shoulders, a problem for him throughout his career. (He underwent shoulder and labral repair surgery in 2017.) Coach Trav is also happy to discuss it. “I’ve been very biceps, torso and deltoid – I’ve been very closed as an athlete my whole life,” he says. “So what it does is the AC joint is in a very vulnerable position if I’m hit the wrong way. Doing a lot of trap stuff, scapular stuff, lats and really triceps stuff. comes off more so that your posture is better and your overall athletic figure is in a more secure position.
Skacel complements these exercises with consistent dry cupping and needling sessions designed to relax Kelce’s tightest and sore muscles, both in and out of season. Dry-needling and cup-ping encourage blood flow to the muscles to speed healing. But instead of relaxing after each therapy session, Kelce gets up immediately and performs a gentle movement of ten to 12 reps to stimulate blood flow even more. So if Skacel needle dry the front shoulder of the tight end, Kelce could do weightless overhead presses or side elevations to stimulate the joint even more.
All of this made him one of the longest lasting players in the league; he’s only missed two games since 2014. “He’s invested in his body and he’s really hit some wood, hasn’t had to deal with anything big,” says Skacel.
ALL THE LITTLE the movements prepare Kelce’s body for a hard workout. It does this in three phases. At the start of each offseason, it will cause its ‘disembarkation’, exploding from a stationary position. Then he will practice “immediate acceleration,” focusing on picking up speed as he travels through routes. Finally, he will train his body to stop and start, which he must do whether he is following a road or blocking a giant lineman.
Once he begins his off-season training, he never misses a workout. Skacel remembers traveling with him to Paris Fashion Week in 2019, and after a day full of shows and events, at 12:30 p.m., the couple realized they hadn’t been practicing. Kelce’s solution: They walked to a bridge that spanned a canal and ran eight-mile sprints. “I don’t know anyone who would spend a whole day at these parades and then say to themselves, ‘It’s 1:00 in the morning; Let’s go for a run and work on the sprints and speed work, ”Skacel says. “It was so important for him to know that he is using every moment to improve.
Sometimes it just means her right outer hip is pulling.
REAL MUSCLE NFL
The strongest, most durable NFL bodies are built with more than squats, lunges, and deadlifts. Incorporate these stabilizing muscle movements from Alex Skacel into your workouts to stay healthy (and get fast and strong, too).