The Jerry Rice training program is a grueling test of endurance that will challenge even the best conditioned athletes.

Born October 13, 1962, Jerry Rice is widely considered to be the greatest wide receiver in the history of the National Football League (NFL). While in college, he earned All-America honors and set 18 Division I-AA records. He was drafted to the San Francisco 49ers in 1985, and he eventually played on three Super Bowl championship teams with them. Rice was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010.

Dedication is a word often used far too loosely. But in the case of Rice, an athlete known as much for his ungodly regimen as for the fact that he’s arguably the greatest pass catcher in NFL history, it truly seems to apply. Just two weeks after reconstructive knee surgery last season, for instance, Rice decided he’d been lollygagging long enough – so he ripped off his splint in the middle of the night and headed straight for the weight room. “Jerry – he’s unreal,” says San Francsico Giants All-Star left fielder Barry Bonds, a friend who himself tries to follow his pal’s off-season program. “He just works harder than anyone else.”

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Rice’s six-day-a-week workout is divided into two parts: two hours of cardiovascular work in the morning and three hours of Strength training each afternoon. Early in the off-season, the a.m. segment consists of a five-mile trail run near San Carlos on a torturous course called, simply, The Hill. But since five vertical miles can hardly be considered a workout, he pauses on the steepest section to do a series of ten 40-meter uphill sprints. As the season approaches, however, Rice knows it’s time to start conserving energy – so he forgoes The Hill and instead merely does a couple of sprints: six 100-yarders, six 80s, six 60s, six 40s, six 20s, and 16 tens, with no rest between sprints and just two and a half minutes between sets.

For the p.m. sessions he alternates between upper-body and lower-body days. But no matter which half of his body he’s working on, the volume is always the same: three sets of ten reps of 21 different exercises. Yes, your calculator’s right: That’s 630 repetitions a day.

Yeah, I’d say that’s harder than the average workout a 40 something guy does on a Saturday afternoon, desperately hoping to get rid of that beer gut.


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