Patrick Willis Workout Routine, Diet Plan & Supplements

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Published by Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: May 13, 2024
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While I’m more of a Patriots fan, I’ve had several clients ask me about a workout plan that Patrick Willis would have gone through.

But because he was probably one of the fittest linebackers in NFL history, I had to oblige and come up with a Patrick Willis workout routine and diet plan.

The great thing is that this isn’t just suitable for a football player; many of my weight loss clients have had huge success with this.

His Body Stats

patrick willis flexing his biceps
  • Born: January 25, 1985
  • Height: 6’2”
  • Weight: 240 lbs

Patrick was one of the most imposing inside linebackers, even before he joined the NFL.

His college stats and the fact that he won the Dick Butkus Award made him stand out enough to be picked in the first draft round by the San Francisco 49ers.

And his physique and power only increased during his time on the professional football field.

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Patrick Willis (@thewhinkersmind)

Patrick Willis' Workout Routine

Here’s the Patrick Willis workout we’ve put together for our clients.

One of my clients, who's a big NFL fan, was thrilled to try this routine. He noticed significant improvements in his upper body strength within just a few weeks, which was really rewarding to see.

Monday: Upper-Body Workout

man in a lat pulldown position

This is a tough day to start the week, and you want to pick the heavy workout plates to make sure you feel the burn.

  • Dumbbell bench press (3 sets of 10–12 reps)
  • Dumbbell front raises (3 sets of 10–12 reps)
  • Dumbbell rows (3 sets of 10–12 reps)
  • Barbell bench press (3 sets of 10–12 reps)
  • Chest Flys (3 sets of 10–12 reps)
  • Lat Pulldown (3 sets of 10–12 reps)
  • Hammer curls (3 sets of 10–12 reps)

Tuesday: Lower-Body & Core Workout

man doing an ab work out

This is the first day where you include an abs workout after you’ve completed the tough leg exercises.

I remember when some of my clients first tried this – they were surprised at how comprehensive and challenging it was, but they loved the results they started seeing, especially in their core strengths.

  • Leg Press (3 sets of 10–12 reps)
  • Hamstring Curl (3 sets of 10–12 reps)
  • Calf Raises (3 sets of 10–12 reps)
  • Squats (3 sets of 10–12 reps)
  • Hanging leg raises (3 sets to failure)
  • Weighted sit-ups (3 sets to failure)
  • Bench planks (hold for 60 seconds)
  • Side planks (hold for 60 seconds)
  • Bicycle crunches (3 sets to failure)
  • V-ups (3 sets to failure)

Wednesday: Upper-Body

man in an incline bench press position

You’re switching back to the upper muscles while trying to work some of your back muscles as well.

  • Dumbbell decline bench press (3 sets of 10–12 reps)
  • Shoulder press (3 sets of 10–12 reps)
  • Dumbbell shrugs (3 sets of 10–12 reps)
  • Triceps push-down (3 sets of 10–12 reps)
  • Dumbbell curls (3 sets of 10–12 reps)
  • Dumbbell press (3 sets of 10–12 reps)

Thursday: Lower-Body

man in a hamstring curl position

It’s back to the legs, with the squats also providing some core strength workouts.

  • Leg Press (3 sets of 10–12 reps)
  • Hamstring Curl (3 sets of 10–12 reps)
  • Calf Raises (3 sets of 10–12 reps)
  • Squats (3 sets of 10–12 reps)

Friday: Full Body & Core Workout

man doing an ab work out

We enter the last day by targeting every part of your body, including the core.

  • Dumbbell bench presses (3 sets of 10–12 reps)
  • Incline bench press (3 sets of 10–12 reps)
  • Hammer curls (3 sets of 10–12 reps)
  • Leg Press (3 sets of 10–12 reps)
  • Hamstring Curl (3 sets of 10–12 reps)
  • Military push-ups (3 sets of 25 reps)
  • Hanging leg raises (3 sets to failure)
  • Weighted sit-up (3 sets to failure)

If you plan on sticking to Patrick Willis' workout routine, make sure to incorporate injury prevention techniques specific to football players, such as dynamic stretching and joint stability exercises, to ensure a well-rounded approach to fitness.

Saturday & Sunday: Rest

You’ll take a rest from weight-lifting exercise routines and focus on some active recovery and stretching.

youtube

Patrick Willis' Diet Plan

fish and green on a chopping board

As a professional football player, Patrick had dietitians who helped tailor his athlete's nutritional plan every day of his workout week.

In my experience working with clients, those who adopted a similar nutritional approach, especially focusing on high-protein and healthy fats, saw noticeable improvements in their energy levels and muscle recovery.

While he didn’t share much about what a typical meal plan looked like, we had our dietitian do some research and come up with a macro profile for the workout routine.

Here’s what Willis would have aimed for:

  • Low-Carb: 25%
  • Medium-Fat: 35%
  • High-Protein: 40%

Willis also aimed to only take in healthy fats with a heavy focus on fish to increase his omega-3 intake as well. This helped enhance his focus and cognitive functions, which are crucial for an athlete's mental training and focus strategies.

It’s one of the diet industry secrets and has been shown by research published by the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine to help with muscle building and reduce inflammation [1].

“I feel like as a linebacker or a D-lineman, any cut, it's a man sport -- be a man, hit me up high, Hit like rams. You don't see a ram going and cutting another ram's legs. They hit head to head, pad to pad.”

- Patrick Willis

Does He Take Any Supplements?

man about to sip on his tumbler

With professional dietitians and chefs preparing every single meal, it was a lot easier for Willis to get most of his nutrient needs from food.

From my experience, clients who complemented their diet with similar supplements, particularly whey protein and BCAAs, experienced enhanced muscle recovery and reduced soreness after workouts.

1. Whey Protein

The upper body and leg workouts above will put a lot of strain on muscles. And to support muscle repair, you’ll need a lot of protein immediately after you’ve lifted the weights.

Get a fast boost with a whey protein shake which, as per the Journal of Applied Physiology, supports muscle protein synthesis [2].

2. BCAAs

In addition to whey protein, your muscles will especially need BCAAs in a larger supply to reduce soreness. Most high-performance athletes and football players will take these after every strength exercise session.

FAQs

How Much Did Patrick Willis Weigh?

Patrick Willis weighed about 240 lbs at the height of his career. There were some earlier fluctuations as he was gaining strength in his college days, but during his professional career, it remained stable.

What Position Did Patrick Willis Play?

Patrick Willis played as a linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers and was a nightmare for any opposing running back. He retired in 2015 after a highly successful career with many awards.


References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3737804
  2. https://journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/japplphysiol.91481.2008
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About The Author

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Sport & Exercise Science from University of Hertfordshire. He's a Health & Performance Coach from London that brings a unique blend of academic knowledge of health supplements and practical exercise experience to the table for his readers.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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