- Odell Beckham Jr. is set to play in his first Super Bowl just one year after a gruesome injury.
- Beckham tore his ACL in 2020, which was the third season-ending injury of his career.
- Single-leg squats were a big part of his offseason rehab, and his trainer says they helped him get healthy again.
Odell Beckham Jr. will play in the Super Bowl for the first time in his career on Sunday. But a year ago it was hard to envision the 29-year-old wide receiver playing in a football game again, let alone the biggest game of the season.
Beckham suffered a torn ACL — the third season-ending injury of his career after knee and ankle injuries that ended his 2017 and 2018 season — in October 2020 when he was with the Cleveland Browns. During offseason rehab, Beckham’s trainers Graeme Lauriston and Nic Hill focused on building strength and muscle in the rest of his lower body that was weakened by the injury, they told Heavy.
“Making sure he gets his quad strength back and kind of rebuild the quad itself to kind of get its girth,” Hill told Heavy. “Anytime you have the injury, the attribute will kick in and you’ll start to lose some muscle mass.”
According to Hill, the most crucial part of his recovery was single-leg squats. Squatting on his healthy leg, with up to 405 lbs resting on his back, helped Beckham to rebuild strength and balance in his injured leg, and return to the football field for the 2021 season, Hill said.
Beckham’s rehab workouts focused on rebuilding strength and balance in his injured leg
Hill and Lauriston told Heavy that Beckham’s rehab workout routine included:
- Knee extensions — Pushing a retractable weight up with your feet by extending and straightening your legs, which builds muscle in the lower thighs and quads
- Half squats — A back squat with a barbell where you only squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor, which builds muscle in the glutes, hamstring, and core
- Single leg squat — A back squat that is only done on one leg that builds muscle but also helps improve balance and stability
The single-leg squats were the most important exercises for Beckham’s recovery because not only did it help build the strength and balance in his injured leg, but it also sped up his healing process, according to Hill.
“Anytime you’re doing that type of lifting, you are stressing your system but you’re also sending massive amounts of different recovery hormones and whatnot to the rest of your body, which is going to help heal that injured side a little bit faster.”
Getting to the Super Bowl has been a work in progress
Still, Beckham’s recovery extended into the first two games of the season, as he had to sit out. When he came back, Beckham produced like a player that had still been hampered by injury, as he didn’t score a touchdown for the first eight weeks of the season.
The Browns cut Beckham after his slow start, but then he signed a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Rams in early November to play out the rest of the season.
Since joining the Rams, he’s scored six touchdowns and helped them reach the Super Bowl.
His workout routine with Hill and and Lauriston, including single-leg squats, appears to have helped the resurgent star return to his Pro Bowl form. The trainers also credited his mindset.
“He definitely came in with the mindset of rebuilding not just the ACL, but everything else,” Hill told Heavy.