Super Bowl-contending Buffalo Bills cut squats from their workouts during the season — and trainers say that may explain why they’re the least-injured team in the playoffs

Buffalo Bills

Tim Warner/Getty Images

  • The Buffalo Bills have been the least-injured, and best conditioned team in the NFL playoffs.

  • One Bills player said he and his teammates don’t do squats during the football season.

  • Two football trainers say avoiding squats during the season could be a reason for their success.

The Buffalo Bills are campaigning for their first Super Bowl title in the NFL playoffs, and their health and conditioning has set them apart from the rest of the league. Avoiding one common exercise in the training room might be a big reason why.

Bills rookie Greg Rousseau told Insider he used to squat 405 lbs every Wednesday after a game during his college career at the University of Miami. But he hasn’t squatted at all during the football season since coming to Buffalo as a first-year pro — instead, he does power cleans, deadlifts, hang cleans, and bench press as their in-season strength training routine. They leave squats for the offseason, Rousseau said.

“In college, everyone squats no matter what, but in the NFL things are more directed toward your body,” Rousseau told Insider. “Some people in the NFL squat too, but they pick what they feel is right for you, and what’s going to get the most out of you and your body.”

That’s exactly what personal trainer and former NFL player John Madsen would advise a team, he told Insider. If you’re looking to prevent injury at a crucial time like the playoffs, skip the exercises that add stress to the body, and just focus on conditioning, Madsen says.

The Bills have been the least-injured NFL team this year

Buffalo faces the Kansas City Chiefs in the divisional round on Saturday without any injured starters. In fact, the Bills have been the least-injured team in the NFL this year, according to an NFL injury data summary.

In their first playoff game against the New England Patriots, the Bills became the first team in NFL history to record a “perfect game” by an offense, as they scored a touchdown on every offensive possession without a single turnover, punt, or field goal.

The team’s health, endurance, and conditioning to maintain efficiency throughout the entire game could have a lot to do with the fact that they don’t do squats during the football season.

Why skipping squats during the playoffs could be good call, according to trainers

Squats build muscle. But they also place unnecessary stress on the body — which isn’t ideal when players are having to deal with the physical toll of their sport.

“The season is grueling for NFL players,” Madsen told Insider. “They are already battling physical and mental fatigue, injury, and stress from needing to perform at the highest level.”

The benefits of a squat aren’t worth the risk at a time when most NFL players have already built up their lower-body strength, he added.

“Adding more strength could be more beneficial to some, but doing so during the grind of the season is a risk they don’t want to take,” Madsen said.

Celebrity trainer Mike Boyle agreed. He instructs all of his clients to avoid traditional back squats — NFL player or not Boyle believes that the injury risk of back squats, specifically the possibility of back injuries, is not worth the workout they offer.

Instead, Boyle recommends lower-risk replacements, like the Bulgarian lunge — a workout that involves holding two heavy weights with your hands, putting one foot on a bench behind you while keeping your other foot on the ground, and lunging up and down, which targets the same same muscles as back squats.

Read the original article on Insider