The Gronk Workout

Dec 12 / Build Muscle

Rob Gronkowski is a tough nut to crack.

Despite repeated efforts by this writer to coax the New England Patriots star into dishing on his well-publicized party-boy ways—crashing Spring Break soirees on South Padre Island, rendezvousing with porn stars, shotgunning brews at 21st birthday bashes—The Gronk just won't budge.

His party philosophy? "Working hard 24/7," the tight end says, matter-of-factly.

How he spent his reportedly beer- and babe-filled summer? "Getting prepared and getting in shape," he replies.

His go-to method for charming women? "Next question."

Fair enough. Gronkowski—who in 2011 had arguably the best season ever for an NFL tight end, reaching the end zone a record-smashing 18 times—is a Patriot. And Patriots are men of few words. (Watch a Bill Belichick press conference, count the total number of words the head coach utters on one hand, and you'll see what we mean.) So we'll excuse The Gronk for dodging the tough questions . . . even if we'd kill to hear those crazy party stories.

What the 23-year-old will talk about, however, is his fitness. At 6'6'', 265 pounds, Gronkowski is massive—a real-life Hulk, if Bruce Banner's alter ego caught touchdowns instead of pummeling comic-book baddies. And the tight end chalks up his freakish frame to being blessed with four equally big brothers. "We were always competing with each other, whether it was playing basketball on the court, baseball in the backyard, or pushing each other in the weight room," he says. "And since I was always competing against a higher level than my own at the time—most of my brothers are older than me—it definitely helped me grow up to get to the point where I am today." (Can't find a fitness partner? No problem! Work out in your living room with musclemorphosis.com, the new follow-along DVD series from Men's Health.)

Gronkowski still breaks a sweat with his bros during the NFL offseason—Chris is a fullback for the Broncos, and Dan is a free agent tight end—but he goes just as hard in the gym when he's flying solo. And it's the bonus hours he spends pumping iron that make all the difference on the battlefield. "Working hard and putting in extra time is the big advantage that anyone can have," he says. "That opportunity to work hard is always there. It's never going to go away. The only way it goes away is if you don't want it."

Gronkowski also credits smart nutrition for his on-field success. "If you want your muscles to perform at the top level, it all starts with what you put into your body." That's why he recently teamed up with BODYARMOR Super Drink as a partner and investor. "It has a lot of vitamins and antioxidants in it, which help with muscle soreness," he says of the sports drink. "And if you're lifting, running, and working new muscles every day, that's huge." (Want must-have training and nutrition advice delivered right to your inbox? Sign up for the musclemorphosis.com.)

The Gronk Workout

Though Gronkowski can't divulge all of his secrets, here's a page ripped straight from his at-home training regimen. He performs this chest-heavy workout with his brothers.

In between each set of exercises, Gronkowski picks an ab or back exercise and does 10 to 20 reps before resuming. While you may notice that this workout seems much higher in volume than what you're used to, remember that Gronkowski's job is to not just play football for 16 days in the fall, but to stay in superhuman condition throughout the entire year, says Martin Rooney, C.S.C.S., author of the book Warrior Cardio.

"The fact that Gronk is in the NFL also proves his body has a tolerance for punishment and a god-given amount of strength and speed that's uncommon to the weekend warrior," says Rooney, who trains players for the NFL Scouting Combine. So although you may want to try this high-volume routine—21 sets of movements for your chest, shoulders, and triceps, and another 21 for your upper body—to see if you can play on Sundays, Rooney suggests starting with a maximum of 18 to 22 total sets for your initial number of workouts. "As your body acclimates to the training, then it may be time to go full-Gronk," he says.

Warmup
To warm up, Gronkowski heads to the basketball court to play a shooting game called "3 in the Bucket." The rules: Every time you miss your shot, run to the other end of the court, then run back to the opposite 3-point line for your next shot. "This is how we get the heart rate up, the blood moving quicker, and the sweat pouring out," says Gronkowski.

Barbell Bench Press
1 set of 15 reps, 1 set of 12 reps, 1 set of 10 reps, and a final set of 8 reps.

Dumbbell Incline Press
1 set of 12 reps, 1 set of 10 reps, and a final set of 8 reps.

Chest Fly
1 set of 12 reps, 1 set of 10 reps, and a final set of 8 reps.

Pushups*
As many as he can in 30 seconds.
*Gronkowski performs this exercise on a vibrating platform.

Close-Grip Barbell Bench Press
3 sets of 10 reps.

Underhand-Grip Triceps Pressdown
3 sets of 10 reps. 

Dip
3 sets of 12 reps.

Burpees
1 set of 10 reps. (Get the coolest new exercises delivered straight to your inbox by signing up for the musclemorphosis.com.)

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