James Harrison’s Workout Routine

If you are a football fan and watch the NFL matches, you definitely don’t need any introduction to James Harrison. He is one of the best players who’s not just fearsome, but also unbeatable. Watch him playing in one of the NFL matches and you would instantly understand what a great player he is.

Be it is powerful arms, legs, shoulders, or hips, he’s a fit, strong player, oozing energy from within. His talent came to the surface once he joined the Pittsburgh Steeler football team of America. Since then, he has been popular among football fans and fitness freaks for his unique approach to training and sports.

His dedication and unique strategies have earned him several prestigious awards like NFL Defensive Player of the Year, NFL Linebacker of the Year, NFL Top 100 Players, and many more.

As of now, Harrison appears on FS1 doing the job of a football analyst. Besides that, he’s extremely popular on social media, especially Instagram for his workout videos. What’s commendable is knowing how he has kept himself fit, even after retiring from sports.

When you see his videos lifting incredible amounts of weight, you would fail to believe your eyes. This man is an inspiration to all people who are underconfident. If you are body shamed or made fun of for having a petite figure and you want to improve your physique, following his workout style would definitely help.

James Harrison’s Workout Overview

James Harrison's Workout
James Harrison in an Instagram Photo (James Harrison / Instagram)
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Garrett Giemont, the Steeler’s conditioning coordinator once stated that no one on the Pittsburgh Steeler team works as hard as James. He further went on to say that James is by far the most powerful of all players in the entire NFL and that is mostly because of his intense and distinct workout regimen.

If you follow him on Instagram, you definitely know that his workouts look unreal. He goes to his gym six days a week. There, he regularly performs dips with 200 lbs of extra weight, 1,100 lb leg presses, one-armed shoulder press, and 700 lb squats.

James works out for 1 hour continuously. He hits the gym between 7 am and 5 pm. He mostly focuses on powerlifting and increasing his overall strength and stamina. Read ahead to know about his powerbuilding workout plan in detail.

James Harrison’s Workout Schedule

James Harrison Workout
James Harrison in an Instagram Photo (James Harrison / Instagram)

James Harrison is forty-three years now. Despite his age, he continues to perform strenuous physical exercises regularly. He works on a particular muscle group each day. Let’s have a quick glance at James Harrison’s workout plan:

  • Monday: Legs
  • Tuesday: Back And Chest
  • Wednesday: Core
  • Thursday: Shoulders
  • Friday: Arms (Biceps And Triceps)
  • Saturday: Rest
  • Sunday: Rest

To increase his upper and lower body power, and increase his core strength and stability to the fullest, Harrison includes the following exercises in his regular without schedule:

  • Barbell bench presses
  • Single-arm shoulder presses
  • 1100 pound leg presses
  • Weighted pull-ups
  • 700-pound squats
  • Dips with 200 lbs of added weight

Let’s now go through James Harrison’s training routine in detail below.

James Harrison’s Workout Routine

You must have seen his viral workout video where he does a variation of Z press, involving weight plates fitted to a flex bar with resistance bands. Even the fitness beast Harrison looked unsteady while doing that. Therefrom, any amateur fitness person who hasn’t yet build up his form or strength shouldn’t proceed to do exercises like this. The one we are talking about here is an extremely unstable exercise that can cause potential injury at any time. While it’s clear the Harrison has mastered this form of exercise gradually, he still performs it through the reps under the guidance of his trainer.

Before you go through Harrison’s unique training regimen, remember that the sets and reps can change.

Sets and reps usually depend on his mood. He usually takes a rest for one day or two between every workout to facilitate maximum recovery of his body. However, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t exercise at all. He does less intense exercises, mixes them with different types, and changes the order of exercises to make sure he doesn’t get bored of his workout schedule.

James Harrison Workout Routine

James Harrison Workout Routine


Sets x Reps

Monday : Leg Workout

Barbell Deadlift

5-7 Sets x 1-5 Reps

Cambered Barbell Squats Or V Squats

5-7 Sets x 1-5 Reps

Safety Bar Lunging Step Up

3 x 10 Reps

Leg Extension

3  x 10 Reps

GHD Hamstring Raise

3  x 10 Reps

Leg Press

5-7 Sets x 1-5 Reps

Tuesday: Chest & Back Workout

Barbell Bench Press Or Bench Press Without Leg Drive

5-7 Sets x 1-5 Reps

Barbell Incline Bench Press

5-7 Sets x 1-5 Reps

Negative Accentuated Bench Press

5-7 Sets x 1-5 Reps

Barbell Row

5-7 Sets x 1-5 Reps

T Bar Row

5-7 Sets x 1-5 Reps

Wednesday : Core Workout

Hanging Abdominal Windshield Wipers

3 Sets x 10 Reps

Dragon Flags

3-5 Sets x 4-5 Reps

Hanging Leg Raise Toes To Bar

3  Sets x 10-15 Reps

Half Kneeling Cable Wood Chop Or Barbell Landmine Rotational Chops

3  Sets x 10-15 Reps

Ab Roll-Out

3 Sets x 8-12 Reps

Thursday: Shoulders

Bradford Press

5-7 Sets x 1-5 Reps

Seated Dumbbell Arnold Press

5-7 Sets x 5-10 Reps

Dumbbell Front Side Raise or Dumbbell Lateral Raises

3  Sets x 10-15 Reps

Incline Rear Delt Dumbbell Raise

3  Sets x 10-15 Reps

Friday: Arms (Biceps And Triceps)


5-7 Sets x 1-5 Reps

Skull Crushers

3  Sets x 10-15 Reps

Rope Press Down

3  Sets x 10-15 Reps

EZ Bar Curl

5-7 Sets x 1-5 Reps

Seated Incline Dumbbell Curl

3  Sets x 10-15 Reps

Bayesian Cable Curls

3  Sets x 10-15 Reps

Zottman Curl

3  Sets x 10-15 Reps

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: Rest

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  • Though, Harrison roughly focuses on the exercises as mentioned in the table above, his approach to his regular workout routine keeps changing based on his mood or requirements on a particular day. So, the number of exercises, the sequence, and the set and rep numbers keep changing. As is evident, Harrison loves to keep his workouts fresh and challenging.
  • James knows that to win football, your body must be stronger and better conditioned than your opposite player. That’s why he never followed the exercise routine that others did. He formulated a different workout schedule and practiced his way.
  • He also did a lot of bodybuilding workouts and powerlifting style workouts.
  • Usually, football players avoid doing low rep ranges on bench presses. But, Harrison is completely okay with performing fewer reps.
  • Tom Shaw, a professional fitness coach from Orlando is especially appointed to formulate and supervise James’ off-season training program. He devised an outdoor workout program that required James to perform distance running and intervals in the sand. These activities improved his hips and ankles and enhanced his strength and stamina.

Final words

Harrison isn’t only unbeatable in the field, he’s also a beast in the gym. He’s famous among fitness freaks for his insane body power and strength. He can lift up to 150 pounds of barbell with just one hand!

Anybody who’s also a fitness freak and wants to increase his muscle strength and body stamina can follow James Harrison’s workout routine for evident results.

Again, if you are a sportsperson, willing to enhance your performance and facilitate body movement, there’s no better way than achieving it other than following his workout strategy.

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However, such strenuous exercises are likely to create problems for an average human being. That’s why it’s important to focus on your diet as well. Without enough nutrition, your body wouldn’t be able to recover quickly after such intense sessions of workouts. Hence, in addition to following a rigorous training schedule, a highly nutritious diet is also essential.

Though a vast majority of Harrison’s exercises are difficult to be mastered, there’s still much to learn from him. If you stay disciplined and dedicated to your routine and consequently focus on improving your health and fitness, you are sure to achieve evident results shortly.