Hall of Fame Vikings Receiver Cris Carter Has Discovered the ‘Hidden Gem’ of Workouts: ‘I’ve Taken Close to 250 Classes’

Cris Carter is no stranger to the rigors of an NFL career. After 15 years in the league, the Hall of Fame wide receiver retired in 2002. During his career, Carter accumulated many injuries — some that still linger to this day. But those aches and pains have subsided since he started doing Pilates. Now, Cris Carter wants others, especially those in the NFL, to put aside their judgments about Pilates being a “women’s workout” and start feeling stronger and more flexible because of it.

Carter had a stunning NFL career

Former Minnesota Vikings receiver Chris Carter, whose favorite workouts include Pliates, with his bust during the NFL Class of 2013 Enshrinement Ceremony.
Former Minnesota Vikings receiver Chris Carter with his bust during the NFL Class of 2013 Enshrinement Ceremony. | Jason Miller/Getty Images

Carter’s path to fame started at Ohio State University, where he became the school’s first All-American wide receiver. From there, the Philadelphia Eagles drafted him in 1987. He was a solid addition and helped the Eagles get to the playoffs in 1988 and 1989 — however, he was released just weeks before the start of the 1990 season. It would later come out that he was let go because of failed drug tests. The next day, the Minnesota Vikings picked him up on waivers and helped him turn his life around.

During his time with the Vikings, Carter’s impact on the field was tremendous. He helped the team make the playoffs eight times and win the NFC Central Division title four times. He’s an eight-time Pro Bowler, Hall of Fame recipient, and reception leader during 1994. Carter also won the Walter Payton Man of the Year award in 1999, an honor given to players for their community involvement off the field.

Among Cris Carter’s favorite workouts to help with lingering pain and injuries is Pilates

Over the course of his career, Carter dealt with many injuries — most notably, he played with a broken collarbone in 1992. Those aches and pains from his playing days have followed him throughout his retired life, and during the pandemic, he found a way to hold them at bay. Carter’s wife introduced him to Pilates, an exercise originally used as a rehab method for injured veterans and athletes. The exercise helps improve a user’s strength and flexibility, especially to the core area.

After just a few sessions, Carter said he could feel a difference; he could lift heavier weights and do more strenuous exercises than before. He lost weight and felt better all around. He told Insider that he wishes more athletes would give the exercise a shot. He explained:

“I wish more men would get involved with it. I believe it’s a hidden gem that a lot of football players have not discovered. Whatever they think about Pilates and whatever they think about the platform, Pilates is completely different.”

And while it’s great to help ease old aches and pains, Carter thinks it could help current NFL players too.

“I just believe pilates could be more utilized, and you don’t have to wait until you get older,” he added. “It can be utilized as part of their training regimen while they’re in the prime of their career, which will only enhance what they do.”

What has Carter’s life been like after retirement?

Since his retirement in 2002, Carter’s kept busy. He’s worked on HBO’s Inside the NFL, Sunday NFL Countdown, and Monday Night Countdown. The Spun reports that Carter just signed a deal with Blue Wire Podcasts to produce a series called “WR 1” featuring interviews between him and other NFL wide receivers.  

Carter didn’t stray too far from the football field either. Working as an assistant coach at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Florida, he saw his son Duron play as a standout wide receiver — just like dad. Although the younger Carter didn’t make it to the NFL, he’s had plenty of success in the Canadian Football League, and it’s no surprise the elder Carter kept up with his son’s performances.

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