NFL: How Carolina Panthers Running Back Christian McCaffrey got so Ripped in the Offseason

Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey turned heads after a series of photographs showed him looking particularly shredded during an offseason team workout. McCaffrey being in the gym is nothing new, as he’s always been known for a grit-n-grind playing style which required him to be in excellent shape. Never one to stay away from the gym, McCaffrey incorporates a variety of strategies to ensure that at the start of the season, he will be in peak shape. So why does he look so ripped, and how did he get that way?

McCaffrey’s workout

Depending on his regimen, Christian McCaffrey works out three or four days a week. In those workouts, however, he is making sure that everything he does helps him reach the maximum results. As one of the more versatile players in the NFL, he has to make sure that his entire toolkit is honed to its finest quality, and his body must be ready to take on his eclectic load.

McCaffrey has stated many times that he sees each season as an opportunity to improve on anything he felt he lacked during the previous year. This offseason, that meant strengthening his core in order to break  tackles that may have stopped him during previous seasons, and McCaffrey has an interesting technique that he’s employing in order to get it done.


Sure, Christian McCaffrey looks more muscular, but he added only five pounds between the end of the season and OTAs. He added more mass to get to 208 pounds, but he hit the weights less than he typically does during his workouts. However, that doesn’t mean that he is ignoring them altogether. He focuses most of his energy on squats, as strengthening the core and his rear helps him get the mass and speed that he believes is necessary for his ultimate goal of being the best player that he can be.

Track and field?

Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey didn't work out any more or less than usual during the offseason, but he looks more muscular in 2019.
Christian McCaffrey added muscle to his frame in the offseason. | Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The average fan may not connect the training of a track athlete with that of the NFL, but many of the main events of track directly correlate with the skills the average running back employs while on the field. Much like a runner who is trying to explode at the start of a race, a great running back needs to be able to go from idle to sprint at the drop of the hat.

That is why it is important for McCaffrey to use track training during the offseason. It not only helps him run faster than his defenders, but it also allows him to hurdle over tackles, long-jump for a touchdown, and keep his intensity for a long and grueling NFL season that is historically difficult for the human body to endure.

Preparation off the field

Christian McCaffrey’s fitness doesn’t stop in the gym or on the field; it carries over to the dinner table, bed, and pretty much every other aspect of his life. He watches his diet with excruciating precision, even testing his blood to ensure that he is getting the optimal results. He also takes a variety of league-approved supplements in order to make sure that his body is getting the proper care that it deserves.

Rest is important

Christian McCaffrey only took a week-and-a-half break between the end of the Panthers’ season and preparing for the next one. In his mind, working out is most effective if he isn’t always tired from his previous session. Recovery time lets McCaffrey not only let the previous workout take its full effect, but it also helps him keep his mental preparation at the top of its game, too.

Then, there’s sleep. Studies frequently talk about how important sleep is to nearly every aspect of our lives, and sleep is even more important for athletes. The body’s ability to reset and recover is important when it takes the beating that a professional football player’s body takes. Some players don’t take it seriously enough, but McCaffrey does.

McCaffrey’s fitness regimen is meticulous, calculated, and effective. Like Tom Brady, he sees his offseason as an extension of the season, and he knows that without using it correctly it is just as bad as performing poorly on the field. This is why it is so important for him to stay on top of his game when he isn’t playing every week.