Super Bowl 54 is set with the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers. The teams are going head to head in Miami for the NFL Championship, with one team taking home the Lombardi Trophy. For the Chiefs, it’s their first time in 50 years, while the Niners are looking to win for the first time since 1995 after making the big game back in 2013 against the Baltimore Ravens.
Through college, the draft process, and training camp, players work tirelessly in the gym and grind it out on the field in the hopes of making it to the Super Bowl. So we spoke to some players from the Chiefs and 49ers and scoured their social media feeds to collect their best training secrets. Here’s how this year’s top players from each team train for the Super Bowl.
Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes, Quarterback
After winning the NFL MVP Award for the 2018 season and leading his team to the Super Bowl this year, Mahomes has established himself as the best young quarterback in football. Mahomes spoke with Men’s Journal in 2019 about the way he trains and how he’s learned to make unconventional throws, something he’s become known for.
“I do a lot of single-leg stuff, but it’s more than just lunges,” Mahomes said. “I do step-ups and similar things, but what’s key is that my trainer Bobby [Stroupe] will put me in these difficult, awkward positions and I’ll work on throwing from those spots. He’ll toss me med balls and I’ll have to catch it and try to keep my balance and strength. I feel like that training helps me out a ton when I’m on the field and in those awkward positions. I learn to use my strength and balance to throw an accurate football. It becomes natural because of how we work on it together.”
As for strength training, Mahomes has some mainstays: “Two of my favorite static exercises are the deadlift and bench press, but I can’t bench press any more because of my position,” Mahomes added. “I can only dumbbell bench press, but I still love to do it. With the deadlift, I just love the explosive part of it. I guess I like it because I’m good at it, but I feel like it’s a great workout.
Here’s a look at Mahomes in action with his trainer:
Travis Kelce, Tight End
Kelce has become the model for the modern tight end in the NFL with Rob Gronkowski retired, and he’s become the go-to target for Mahomes and the Chiefs. Kelce has made five straight Pro Bowl games and has been voted First-Team All-Pro twice in 2016 and 2018. Kelce had a monster game in the AFC Divisional Round comeback against the Houston Texans, catching 10 passes for 134 yards and three touchdowns in the 51-31 win.
“During the season, I do Tuesday/Thursday workouts in the mornings,” Kelce said in an interview with Men’s Journal. “I’ll start with lower body—squats are amazing. I think front squats really tie in everything with your core, lower extremities, and hips. The biggest thing I like to focus on in all my workouts is using my core to trigger everything. I’ve had two surgeries, so you want to make sure everything is connecting the right way. Pullups and pushups are always undefeated in my mind: They’re the ultimate two workouts you can do to help your core and upper body all work together. I think it helps me so much to evolve as an athlete.”
Here’s a look at Kelce training with a boxing workout:
Damien Williams, Running Back
Williams has stepped up as the lead running back for Mahomes and the Chiefs this season. He also had a big game against the Texans in the playoffs, scoring three times to help the team advance to the AFC Championship.
Tyrann Mathieu, Safety
Mathieu has long been considered one of the most talented defensive backs in football, but this season he really separated himself from the pack and helped elevate the Chiefs defense all season. Mathieu’s hard-hitting play earned him first-team All-Pro recognition as a defensive back, and his four interceptions during the regular season were the most for him since the 2015 season when he was with the Cardinals.
— Tyrann Mathieu (@Mathieu_Era) April 3, 2018
Sammy Watkins, Wide Receiver
While Watkins didn’t have a great statistical regular season in 2019, the speedy wideout made up for it with his breakout game in the playoffs against the Tennessee Titans. Watkins finished with seven catches for 114 yards and a crucial touchdown—he left the Titans defense in the dust on a 60-yard touchdown from Mahomes that put the game out of reach and helped seal the Chiefs victory.
Cam Erving, Offensive Line
Erving has been a steady presence on the offensive line for the Chiefs this season, helping to give Mahomes plenty of time to make his throws.
San Francisco 49ers
Raheem Mostert, Running Back
The surfing-loving Mostert had the breakout game of the playoffs for the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game, rushing for 220 yards and four touchdowns to help defeat the Packers. The performance was a major surprise from a player who had been cut from six different teams on his NFL journey over the years. As a nod to his love of surfing, Mostert uses a touchdown celebration that mimics him riding out on the water and catching waves.
“I started surfing when I was about 13 or 14,” Mostert told 49ers.com during the 2019 season. “It’s just been a big hit for me—going out there and riding the waves… just enjoying the atmosphere in the water. My touchdown celebration brings me back to being a kid and enjoying myself and surfing.”
Deebo Samuel, Wide Receiver
As a rookie, Samuel has made a big impact on the 49ers offense, as he has been used as a receiver and a rusher at times, using his incredible speed to make big plays all over the field. If the 49ers put up points on Super Bowl Sunday, Samuel will likely be heavily involved.
George Kittle, Tight End
Along with Kelce, Kittle has established himself as one of the best tight ends in the game. Kittle has been just as good catching the ball as he’s been at blocking for his 49ers teammates, making him one of the top all-around players at his position. Kittle had the signature play of the season when he dragged multiple Saints players during a comeback victory in New Orleans.
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) July 20, 2019
Nick Bosa, Defensive End
As a rookie, Bosa has already established himself as one of the most disruptive defensive players in the league. He’s expected to win the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year Award after recording nine quarterback sacks during the season. In the playoffs, Bosa has been crucial for the 49ers, sacking Vikings QB Kirk Cousins twice in the Niners’ 27–10 win and then getting Aaron Rodgers for a sack and plenty other disruptions during the 37–20 win over the Packers to advance to the Super Bowl.
Solomon Thomas, Defensive Line
After playing college ball in Northern California at Stanford, Thomas helped the 49ers put together one of the most talented defensive lines in football. This season he finished with two sacks while playing in all 16 games for the 49ers.
Richard Sherman, Cornerback
The future Hall of Fame cornerback has had a career resurgence in San Francisco after spending the first seven years of his career in Seattle with the Seahawks. Sherman finished this season with three interceptions, his most since the 2016 season, and he was voted to the Pro Bowl and second-team All-Pro after his strong 2019 season. Sherman also sealed the game against the Packers in the playoffs with his interception of Aaron Rodgers in the fourth quarter.
DeForest Buckner, Defensive Line
The entire front line of the 49ers are all first-round draft picks and Buckner has helped the unit become one of the best in football. Buckner was named second-team All-Pro this season and helped disrupt the passing game for the Packers in the 49ers’ win in the NFC Championship game.
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