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Adrian Peterson NFL Running Back Workout

Updated on January 26, 2013

Adrian Peterson Workout Plan

This article will focus on Adrian Peterson's workout routine and schedule he follows with the Minnesota Vikings. As a Running Back, Adrian follows a grueling but effective off season training that helps him prepare for a long season.

Along with the actual workout he follows we will also look at a short version you can use to get impressive results.

Adrian Peterson: NFL Running Back

That guy is going to be a kick butt running back when he gets to the NFL. Those were the words my buddy told me one time as we were watching Adrian Peterson early in his career with the University of Oklahoma.

My buddy wasn’t wrong. Adrian has since gone on to play in the pro’s and is one of the most exciting running backs we have seen in a while.

At 6’1 and 217 pounds Adrian Peterson has impressed players and fans with his physiques. Packing muscle and speed he is a deadly combination of athleticism and power that makes him unstoppable on the field.

Soon after playing for the University of Oklahoma he was the 7th pick of the 1st round in the 2007 NFL Draft.

With over 7,500 rushing yards, averaging 4.8 yards per game and 68 rushing touchdowns he has been a 4 time Pro Bowl and All Pro.

Adrian Peterson Workout Routine

What sets Adrian apart from many other players is that he will do the extra work in order to stand out and take his playing to al level beyond the rest. With the Vikings it is clear that he trains and works harder off the field than your typical running back.

You are going to see that there is a work ethic that is quite impressive even for an NFL player. Adrian Peterson makes use of the off season to build on his athleticism and builds muscle to prepare for the season. Here is the training routine he follows as a Minnesota Viking.

Upper Body Workout

(The upper body portion is done on Mondays and Wednesdays)


Flat-Bench Press

Close-Grip Pull-Up (1 Set until failure)

Pull Overs

Flat Dumbbell Press

Dumbell Lateral Raises

Seated Cable Row

Incline Bench Press

Lat Pulldown

Overhead Press

Rowing (Machine Or Barbell)

Lateral Raises

Machine Reverse Flys

Triceps Pressdown;

Cable Curls

*Each exercise in the upper body workout is done for 1 set of 6 to 10 reps except for a Flat Bench Press which is done with 3 sets and the flat dumbbell which is done for 2 sets.

The workout is done in a circuit sequence with no rest between each exercise.

Lower Body Workout

(The lower body portion of the workout is to be done on Tuesdays and Thursdays)

Hang Cleans


Romanian Deadlifts


Leg Press

Leg Curl


Hip Abduction

Leg Extensions

Calf Raises

Ball extensions


Medicine Ball Torso Twists

Cable Side Bends

*Each exercise is done for 1 set of 6 to 10 reps except for the Hang Cleans and Deadlifts which are to be done for 3 sets

The workout is done like the upper body portion as a circuit routine with no rest between each exercise.

The sequence for each workout is performed as a circuit to maximize the explosive advantages of lifting along with keeping the heart rate at a high rate for conditioning purposes.

Adrian Peterson Workout Video - Closed Door Media Practice

Cardio & Conditioning

Adrian Peterson’s routine for cardio is focused around conditioning drills that help build explosiveness and speed and simulate game situations.

Some examples:

Run 20, 30 and 40 yard drills

Running side line to side line

The drills and conditioning exercises are performed immediately after his strength training.

Is This Workout Right For You?

As you can see this kind of training works well for a professional athlete. If you want to be at the top of your game in the NFL, break records on the field and have a couple of hours to train then this workout is perfect.

A workout like the one performed by Adrian Peterson will have you spending up to an hour 4 days a week on strength training along with a couple of hours working on conditioning and cardio.

However, if you are just a regular guy and can’t spend hours in the gym then it is best to come up with a shorter version of the workout that will help you build muscle, stay lean and athletic.

A Shorter And Equally Effective Running Back Style Workout

Long workouts are not ideal for the average guy. Instead what you want to do is train with weights and cardio within a 60 minute period or less using exercises that help you build those fast twitch muscles. Rather than doing a long series of exercises stick with anywhere between 3 and 5 exercises (mostly compound movements) and throw some finishers to keep your fat low and stay lean.

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Sample Workout

Sample workout 1

Deadlifts (5 sets of 5 reps)

Bench Press or Dumbbell Chest Press (5 sets of 5 reps)

1 Arm Dumbbell Rows (5 sets of 5 reps)

Dumbbell Curls (3 sets of 6 to 8 reps)

Jump Ropes (10 sets of 30 seconds with rest periods of 30 seconds between sets)

Sample Workout 2

Power Clean (5 Sets of 3- 5 reps)

Push Press (5 sets of 5 reps)

Chin Ups (5 sets of 6 to 10 reps)

Dips (5 sets of 8 to 10 reps)

Sprints (6 to 10 reps of 30 seconds and rest for one minute)

One workout will take less than one hour total time.

For best results skip at least one day between workouts

Recommended Conditioning

There are various ways to work on conditioning but the best approach is to avoid long cardio sessions. Instead focus on short high intensity training.

Your training should include workouts like sprints, running hills, sled pushing or sled pulling.

For heavy football type cardio you can also choose things like Tire Flipping, Farmer’s Walks and Medicine Ball Throws.

All of these types of training will work on your core and legs and can be done once or twice a week on days you are not working on strength training. Again, keeping your workouts short at 30 minutes works perfect and will help you stay lean without sacrificing your muscle gaining.

Here are some season highlights

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    • ultravioletlmw profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @skjk3318 lm: I definitely agree with you. His work ethic is amazing.

    • skjk3318 lm profile image

      skjk3318 lm 

      5 years ago

      I think AP works out and trains harder physically and mentally than any other athlete in the NFL and MAYBE all of sports. Pure beast.


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