Troy Polamalu Workout: Faster Not Bigger Makes Him Best

Troy Polamalu Workout

Troy Polamalu Workout

The Troy Polamalu workout is a series of iso-kinetic movements meant to mirror the athletic movements that one is going to repeat on the field. Injured as a Junior in college at USC, Troy Polamalu looked to Marv Marinovich and his iso-kinetic training in San Juan Capistrano, California.

While most workouts look at lifting weight to get bigger, the Marinovich philosophy is that bigger means you are going to likely move slower. Marinovich says that after working with NFL and college players of different shapes and sizes, he found that when it comes to muscles, “Bigger is not better, it’s slower.”

Hired by Al Davis to be one of the NFL’s first strength and conditioning coaches, the former offensive guard, Marv Marinovich, is famous for saying:

“The best weightlifters were the worst athletes.”

The goal of the Troy Polamalu workout is to eliminate free weights, and instead focus on getting muscles to move faster.  Getting muscles to fire faster and have more fluidity on the field, translates to faster play and notably bigger hits.  In a world where the common notion is that, the bigger you are and more weight you can push, the better you must be, the Troy Polamalu workout defies all sense.  Still, the Troy Polamalu workout excels in the new idea that being faster and more agile is better than being strong and slow. Marinovich has trained many athletes, including Tyson Chandler, Steve Finley, and Jason Giambi, and UFC fighter BJ Penn.

The Troy Polamalu workout is hard to do yourself because most of the lifts come from machines tailored to specific sports and movements.  Still, you can look for exercises and explosive lifts that mimic your sport.  Some high schools and colleges are adding explosive life machines to mimic football and basketball athletic moves. What is easy, is that anyone can perform the Troy Polamalu workout if they can find the athletic lifts that are right for them. What is difficult, is finding those machines tailored to perform the athletic lifts you want to do on the field. Still, many explosive movements don’t require too much equipment, and can be done on the field.

Troy Polamalu WorkoutRejecting the use of free weights, Polamalu instead uses:

  • medicine balls
  • heavy shoes
  • wobble board
  • single-grip hand ball
  • nothing heavier than a 20 lb. weight

Here’s more of what goes on at the Marv Marinovich training center:

People may have a hard time believing Polamalu doesn’t need heavy weigh training, but Marinovich and Polamalu agree that training super-slow with heavy lifts like bench press don’t translate well into the real world. You are never going to lift as slowly on the field, as you do when you bench press. The quick-fiber muscles of pressing a receiver are better gained through fast, explosive arm movements like we see in the Troy Polamalu workout, rather than the super slow ones of traditional systems.

Re-injured in 2007, Polamalu asked coach Mike Tomlin if he could go back to the Marinovich gym and skip training camp. Tomlin and the Steelers agreed to Polamlu’s alternative training plans, and Polamalu was able to work through a knee injury and return to caliber shape in 2008.

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  1. This is an excellent story, I did not expect it at first. But it makes sense how crazy Troy Polamalu is on the field. Now we know why.

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