As Tom Brady's longtime Body Coach (and TB12 Co-Founder) Alex Guerrero explains in the video at the bottom of this article, Tom Brady relies on a 9-exercise workout during the football season. The purpose of this workout is to improve on the functional strength & conditioning foundation Tom and Alex have built during the off-season and to accelerate the recovery process.
TB12 Resistance Bands are the primary tools used in the workout. They stimulate a functional strength & conditioning response but with less inflammation than lifting weights and less chance of overloading the muscles.
In the video at the bottom of the post, Alex explains how Tom performs one set of each exercise at a fast speed, going for max repetitions to the point of fatigue — where the form is near the point of breaking down.
Tom Brady Workout: Form First is Key
“At TB12, we emphasize the importance of proper form during workouts,” Tom adds. “You should always start in a biomechanically neutral position—knees over feet, hips over knees, shoulders over hips, a firm core—because if you’re not in proper alignment, you’re conditioning your body to be out of balance.”
In the video, Alex Guerrero emphasizes starting an exercise in an athletic, neutral position with the core muscles activated.
When, during a set, the muscle is exhausted and near failure and exercise form starts to break down, it’s time to stop.
Tom explains why (when form breaks down) it’s crucial to bring the exercise to a halt: “Other muscles are compensating for the muscle that should be working, and unless I stop, my brain will learn a new behavior — in this case, a negative one. Athletes often say, ‘I did ten reps!’ But what if after the fourth or fifth rep, their form begins breaking down? You need to make sure form comes first. Otherwise, you’ll start activating muscles that shouldn’t be activated.”
Types of Resistance Bands
In this Tom Brady workout, Alex will use all three types of TB12 Resistance Bands.strap that fits around a door or that can be anchored to any wall or solid surface to allow positioning the bands at different heights.
Long looped bands come in different thicknesses, which correspond to different intensity levels. These bands can go around your knees, ankles, or waist and allow you to do the same motions you would do with bars and free weights.
Short looped bands are smaller and thicker, and also loop around your ankles and knees, and are a great way to add resistance and difficulty to agility skills or squats.
(Check out our advice on making the transition from weights to bands.)
Cardio & Strength Combined
The exercises combine cardio with strength training at the same time. If you do, say, a twenty-minute, high-intensity workout using resistance bands, you don’t need much cardio before or after.
Tom explains it with a personal example: “When I stand on the field with both feet planted, I’m generating force up through my legs into my torso, and then up into my shoulders and throwing arm. Without good core stability, I wouldn’t have access to that level of strength and force.”
Start off by with pliability by using a TB12 Vibrating Pliability Roller or Sphere to prepare the muscles and nervous system for an optimal workout. It’s critical to understand that pliability and flexibility are not the same.
“Among strength, conditioning, and pliability, at my age I spend roughly one-half of my time on pliability sessions. Many athletes spend no time on pliability — and a few might spend only a few minutes,” Tom says.
– Long looped bands
– Short looped bands
– Handle bands
– Anchors or door spine
– TB12 Vibrating Pliability Device
Active Warm-Up: Quick Feet, Quick Hands
To start, Tom performs an active warm-up to further stimulate the nervous system and get the blood flowing.
Attach two heavy bands to a spine at chest height. Facing away from the spine, place a band across each shoulder so they form an X over your chest. Step away from the spine until you feel resistance. Run in place moving your hands and feet at a quick pace. Continue until you feel warmed-up and slightly exhausted.
01 Standing Row
This exercise gets your upper body moving and moving fast. It focuses on explosiveness in your upper body, as you maintain stability in your lower body.
Use handle looped bands anchored chest high with a straight spine. Maintain an athletic position with a tight core, tight glutes, and elbows tight to the body as you do the rows.
02 Banded Push-up
Loop a band behind your back, under the armpits. Hold both loops ends under your palms as you assume a push-up position. Tighten abs and glutes to make it a functional strength & conditioning exercise.
03 Banded core rotations
Maintain a good athletic stance, with your hips back and your core engaged. With both hands gripping the handle or loop, bring your arms out in front of you and then — keeping your arms straight — pull the band across your chest as you rotate your torso, increasing your pace as you go.
Alex remarks, “This exercise is important in Tom’s workout because as a quarterback what he’s looking to do is to generate enough ground force to turn into torque to get more velocity on his throw.”
A great way to get the full-body benefits of the deadlift without the overload and risk of weights.
Place both feet over a band. Hold both sides of the band with your hands and manipulate the slack in the band until it is taut. Assume a squat, keeping your back as flat as possible. Pull up with the bands, pushing your hips forward. Your nose should not go over your toes. By manipulating the slack in the band, you can make this exercise easier or harder.
05 Bicep curl
Place the band on the floor and put both feet on the band, shoulder-width apart. Grab the band with both hands and bring hands to waist level. Perform curls without swaying back and forth by keeping your core and glutes engaged.
06 Banded tricep extension
Again, place your feet on a band that you’ve put on the floor, shoulder-width apart. Keep knees bent, core and glutes engaged, and extend band overhead using triceps press movement.
07 Deceleration lunges
Whether we’re climbing the stairs or stepping down off a porch, a lunge is a fairly common, everyday movement. In this exercise, resistance bands add a challenge. Loop a long band into the carabiner and loop band around your waist, hip-high.
While facing the attachment, step backward with one leg until your knee barely touches the ground, then return to the starting position. Step back with your other leg, then return to the starting position.
08 Banded shoulder press
Place the band on the ground and step on it with both feet. Pull band up with your hands to shoulder height. Engage core and glutes to make this a functional strength & conditioning exercise. Perform above-the-head presses.
09 X band squat
Place one short looped band around your legs, just above the knees. Step on a long band that’s on the floor with both feet. Assume an upright posture with your feet hip-width apart. Stick your butt out and gradually lower yourself into a squat. Keep your knees directly over your toes, and don’t allow them to collapse inward. As you come back up, remember to squeeze your glutes. Press knees outward against the resistance of the short band to better engage your glutes.
Again, using a vibrating roller or sphere, roll out your muscles to train pliability and boost recovery.
The purpose of post-workout pliability is to flush out lactic acid, activate the flow of blood to your tissues to enhance recovery, and stimulate your nervous system to retain the highly-efficient and supple state of your muscles.
Channeling the Tom Brady Workout into a Plan
This simple workout is a favorite of Tom’s that he uses to improve his performance as a professional quarterback, but he likes to emphasize that the principles behind the workout can be effective for anyone and everyone.
“The TB12 Method can benefit men and women of any age and any level of fitness or performance or ability,” Tom says. “This is something that can help not only elite athletes but anyone and everyone who’s willing to commit to living a life of wellness and vitality — casual athletes, weekend warriors, yoga practitioners, marathon runners, anyone.