When an NFL player talks, most of us feel inclined to listen. When said NFL player is former New York Giants lineman Chris Snee – all of us listen.
This was one of the biggest units in the game during his peak – a man who weighed around 315 pounds and would comfortably bench press 225.
Most people might imagine that his body may have gone into a state of disrepair upon his retirement, but that’s proven to not be the case at all. Sure, he’s dropped almost 100 pounds, but he’s also as lean as they come and he’s recovered perfectly from the injury problems that plagued him during the latter days of his playing career.
All of the above means that he certainly has plenty of helpful fitness advice in his locker. Through the course of this guide, we will now tap into some of his know-how, documenting just how he has now managed to navigate all of his injury concerns, whilst still staying in optimum condition. A word of warning before we begin – some of his tips go completely against what you may have been told for years.
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The plank is simple, but so effective
In the era of modern exercises and equipment, this first tip might sound a little surreal. However, according to Snee, the plank was one of the most important elements of his training plan.
As we know, upon his retirement, Snee was plagued with injury problems. One of these occurred in his back – which is where the plank came in. By doing this exercise, he’s not only been able to sort out his back, but also do his core the world of good. Quite strangely, as soon as he completes his set of planks, his back immediately feels fine. In other words, it’s almost like instant pain relief.
So, what exactly is a set? In the case of Snee, it’s anything between a minute and 90 seconds on the front, before repeating for the side. This is sufficient to alleviate any back pain, whilst also boosting your core.
Ice baths aren’t a gimmick
You see the “behind the scenes” footage and NFL players jumping in ice baths. For them, it seems real, but for Average Joe it’s not really something we ever consider. According to Snee, this needs to change.
After every game, Snee would turn to something going by the name of the Game Ready. This is a premium ice machine and while you are unlikely to turn to such a contraption due to price, there’s nothing wrong with matching the system with an ice bath at your own gym.
The beauty of these baths is that they will minimize any swelling from your exercise immensely. Snee found the biggest benefits in his knees, but in truth you can take advantage through your whole body.
His philosophy was that there are so many areas of the body where it’s bone rubbing against bone – and this creates a whole magnitude of problems down the line.
So, how should you carry out this next step? Unfortunately, it’s going to be painful, and involves immersing yourself in an ice bath for three minutes. It might be the longest three minutes of your life, but once the clock ticks down it’s time to swap it for warm water. Not only will this numb the pain that you’ve had to withstand for the past few minutes, but it will get the blood flowing again which can aid your body’s recovery.
The best way to big arms? Lockouts
So far, a lot of what we have talked about has revolved around Snee’s regime in relation to injury prevention. Next on the list relates to his immense size – and just how he got there. Let’s specifically talk about his triceps.
When you hear people talk about the best ways to get the huge arms, lockouts barely come into the equation. According to Snee, who let’s not forget had huge arms, this is actually his best method.
He says that heavy weights are key in this process, and using a bench can just accelerate your progress. The safety bar will be activated during this period, meaning that the bar is only going to drop about halfway down to your chest.
In terms of the numbers, the intensity of this exercise meant that Snee only turned to them once per week. However, on that one occasion he would aim to perform five to six sets, containing up to 10 reps of the lockouts. Again, it was with a heavy weight. Not necessarily the one that matched Snee though – he was performing this exercise with 315 pounds for the first ten reps, and 455 pounds for the next five.
It’s not all squats and deadlifts
This is perhaps one of the most interesting pieces of advice that Snee has dished out. As we will soon come onto, trainers aren’t always right. Something that Snee disagrees with is that many always suggest squats and deadlifts – two exercises which are supposedly at the center of a solid workout regime.
While there’s no doubt that these have their place in a workout, they don’t arrive without their own problems. Snee believes that by relying too much on the likes of squats and deadlifts, you can start to develop muscular imbalances. The upshot of this, as most of us will know, is that injuries like back pain can occur.
So, what’s the workaround? According to Snee, what has worked the best for him is relying on single-leg exercises as opposed to ones of the double variety. By doing this, he can really balance out his body and mitigate the risk of injury.
While he may have been quick to suggest heavy weights for some exercises, this is one case where he certainly doesn’t agree. Instead, it’s all about lunges and split squats – aiming to perform as many as twenty reps in each set.
You are the person who knows your body the best
Let’s conclude with some advice that some people might have always been told to ignore. We’re told that we should always listen to the professionals, but when it comes to choosing an exercise for your body you have every right to disagree. In fact, you’ll usually be right.
Sure, a trainer might have textbooks on all the best exercises to help people achieve their fitness goals. Something they don’t have is inside-knowledge of how your body works though.
Snee has openly admitted that he will turn up to a group fitness class and listen intently to what the trainer says. However, if they suggest a movement that doesn’t correlate with his ideas, he’ll tell them he’s not doing it. Of course, there’s got to be a reason behind this, it’s not because he “just doesn’t like it”. Instead, it’s usually due to the movement hurting some part of his body, like his back. He has the experience to realize that when something hurts, it’s time to take action immediately. If not, you can run into all of the injury problems that plagued Snee when he retired from sport professionally.