Sportress of Blogitude

Patriots DT Vince Wilfork Stays In Game Shape By…Swimming?

Okay, game shape is a relative term here, but admit it: you watched with glee — and awe — as portly New England Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wolfork displaced tectonic plates as he thundered down the field 35 yards after his Week 2 interception against the Chargers. It was quite the spectacle watching a (reported) 325 pounds of humanity lumbering along the sideline with the ball firmly cradled in his considerable midsection.

But little did we know that the impressive display of athleticism was all due to a unique exercise regimen practiced by the large man: swimming.

Had I not read about it, I wouldn’t have believed that a man of such, ahem, generous proportions, would have ever dreamed up such a seemingly unorthodox way in which to attack his conditioning. I would have suspected something far less grueling. But according to a report in the Boston Herald, Wilfork credits his ability to stay on the field — he played 86.2% of the snaps this season — and his capacity to perform at such a high level to underwater swimming. Cue the image of a whale breaching here.

“That’s been my secret — swimming,” Wilfork said. “As far as playing, that sent me to a whole ’nother level. Swimming.”

Wilfork describes just exactly what the water-based workout entails, which he began in the offseason and has continued as the season wore on:

“What I do is I go over and back underwater. Rest 10 seconds and I’m back up under. I do 20 of those. And that completes it. That’s your workout for the day.”

That does sound like a grueling workout. But Wilfork insists it was all worth it:

“You getting some good work without having to beat your body up,” said Wilfork, who does the routine every night in the offseason. “I could tell the difference when I was in training camp. In training camp, you normally have those days when you’re like, ‘Man, I’m so tired.’ But I really didn’t have those days. Eventually, you’ll get ’em just because you’re going and going. But it didn’t happen as quick. And then your recovery is a lot faster.”

And to think: we wouldn’t have had the chance to see his extremely entertaining interception return – the first of his career — had it not been for all of Wilfork’s tireless efforts…and all those laps in the pool.