Ray Lewis Workout Program

Bodybuilder lying on bench lifting dumbbells
A muscular man is using the incline bench to do chest presses. (Image: Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images)

From 1996 through 2012, Ray Lewis was one of the best and most feared linebackers in the National Football League. He was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year twice, a first team All-Pro selection seven times and was chosen for 13 Pro Bowl games. Lewis attributed his success, in part, to his work ethic and intense workout routine, which combined old-school exercises with his own innovations.

It’s in the Cards

Lewis’s workouts are intense, but not purely scientific. One of his training methods -- which he began as a boy but was still following as a pro -- was to pick cards out of a deck and perform pushups in accordance with each card. If he drew a 7, for example, he’d do seven pushups. A face card was worth 10 pushups, an ace 25 and a joker 50. He’d proceed through the entire deck, shuffle the cards and then do the same workout, but with situps. In his NFL days, he went through three decks of cards for each exercise.

Beach Strong

Lewis preferred functional exercises with athletic applications to working on machines. One of his staple workouts involved running on sand while wearing a 45-pound weight vest. The warmup included 100 jumping jacks plus 100 squats, while wearing the vest. He’d then space three cones 10 yards from each other along the sand and perform a variety of sprints. For example, he’d line up 10 yards in front of the first cone and sprint to the cone, back to his starting line and then return to the cone. After repeating the exercise four times, he’d perform five 20-yard sprints and five 30-yard sprints.

A Sample Workout

When Lewis left the beach and hit the gym he preferred dumbbell and body-weight exercises. A sample workout may include four sets each of incline and flat-bench presses, shrugs and rows, three sets of lying triceps extensions plus two sets each of front and lateral raises, biceps and cross-body curls, hanging leg raises and hanging oblique crunches. Lewis performed each set to failure.

General Principles

Lewis performed 60-minute workouts at least three times per day, five days per week during the offseasons when he played in the NFL. He put in about 90 minutes of rest between sessions. He performed abdominal and core workouts each day -- for example, he did between 2,500 and 3,000 ab rollouts per week, using a steel ab wheel. He also performed plyometric bounds.

REFERENCES & RESOURCES
Comments
PARTNER & LICENSEE OF THE LIVESTRONG FOUNDATION

Copyright © 2018 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy. The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.