Orlando Brown Jr. Has A Technique for Sustaining Massive Man Athleticism

Very few people would ever consider a winter in Florida as a hot-weather hardship, but when Cincinnati Bengals left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. explains his Sunshine State schedule, it’s easier to understand his initial reluctance to head south.

Instead of soaking up the South Beach sun, the four-time Pro Bowler is instead dripping in sweat, courtesy of an offseason training program spent at performance specialist Pete Bommarito’s famously wicked conditioning camp. For several heartrate-elevating weeks, his itinerary is filled with football-specific moves, including enough squats, sprints, hang cleans, and sled drags to test the limits of the most athletic wideouts and D backs, let alone a 6’8”, 350-pound giant offensive lineman known as “Zeus.”

Eventually, Brown does earn a little bit of pool time—to perform an additional less exhausting sets of “low impact” movements to push but not punish his massive football-blocking frame.

So why does put himself through the ultra-tough rigors of high-intensity training? After the perspiration finally dries, Brown returns to Ohio stronger, more agile, quicker, lighter, and maybe most important, more confident as he prepares for team upcoming OTAs and training camp.

“When it’s over, I’m light years ahead of most,” Orlando Brown Jr. says. “It’s one of the reasons I’m able to do this at this size. I’m not crazy athletic, but I’m able to get to this level because of my approach and mindset.”

The 2017 first-team All-America out of Oklahoma has been performing at an elite professional level since being drafted in the third round by the Baltimore Ravens in 2018, where he spent three seasons before being traded to the Kansas City Chiefs. In his first five season, Brown earned four Pro Bowl appearances in five seasons—and won a Super Bowl with the Chiefs in 2022.

He keeps his Super Bowl plaque in his Bengals locker, and hopes to add a second to his collection with the Bengals, who lost to the Chiefs that season, 23-20, in the AFC championship game. It’s just one of the reasons Bengals signed him in 2023 to a four-year $68 million contract.

But his main mission is more towering than his towering physique: protecting the blindside of franchise quarterback Joe Burrow.

“It’s a lot of mental stress because of the thought of my quarterback is worth a quarter billion dollars,” Brown says. “One mistake that I make can ruin his career can ruin this organization.”

In order to be ready for that challenge requires more than just a high-level conditioning program. Brown’s Winning Strategy requires continuously working on becoming a playbook scholar at his position, which he learned from his late father, former NFL star Orlando Brown. He’s added innovative new treatments to fix nagging injuries, and has even batted around the idea of racket sports to improve his hand-eye skills. As Bengals fans are clamoring for a return to the Super Bowl, Brown simply keeps working on improving.

One constant battle, he says still remains his weight. Orlando Brown Jr. remains one of the largest athletes in the NFL, so it’s hard to believe that the eight-year veteran was nearly 70 pounds heavier—tipping the scales at over 400 pounds just a few seasons ago with the Chiefs. Although he still played at a Pro Bowl level, the physical toll didn’t help his overall fitness and physique. At the same time, the weight created another concern as his family struggled with diabetes. His father passed away from complications from diabetes-related ketoacidosis, and the disease also struck his brother at an early age. “Diabetes hits home for my family,” he says. “It’s something that we’ve been dealing with for a long time.”

Since then he says his weight-loss journey can be attributed to a healthy diet of arugula salads, Ka Chava smoothies and a protein packed dinner menu created nightly by his girlfriend Holly Luyah, “She’s an amazing cook and does a great job at making sure that I keep some sort of anti inflammatory diet.” So far he’s kept the weight off and works to ensure he stays at around the 350 mark.

“That was the heaviest I had ever been,” he admits. “I struggled with my weight for about the first five years in the NFL. But that was a wakeup call.”

Orlando Brown Jr.: Winning Strategy

It’s Always the Same Goal—Winning a Super Bowl

I had my Super Bowl 57 plaque from the Chiefs in my locker all season long. w I’m with the Bengals and that’s our rivalry, but I kept that plaque underneath my locker. That was crazy.

Winning the Super Bowl was one of the most special feelings in the world. You cannot envision what it’s like until you get there and that clock hits double zeros.

The confetti is falling, you see your family, your coaches, teammates, their families. It’s such a special experience and it’s hard to replicate that feeling of putting in all the time and work then go out there and win the Super Bowl, and you’re now the best team in the world.

The margin of error in that game is so slim. I remember being so emotionally exhausted from the game that I couldn’t even go out and party that night with the guys. I just went to see my family who were staying at an Airbnb and kicked it with them till I went back to my hotel room. Even there I couldn’t sleep, but I got up around 7:30 the next morning, took my luggage, put it on the back of the bus, and we left for Kansas City.

That’s one of my main motivating factors—bringing a Super Bowl here to Cincinnati. Once you get a taste of that, it’s just something you want to continue to attain.   one of my main motivating factors man is you know bringing a Super Bowl here to Cincinnati. very motivated because once you get a taste of that, you know once you experience it man is something that you just want to continue to attain.

Courtesy of the Cincinnati Bengals

Dedication to Diet

My first training camp in Kansas City I was out of shape—and it was a wakeup call for me.

When I was with Baltimore, I’d be able to show up and do my job at a high level. When I got to the Chiefs, I just wasn’t prepared for what that training camp was going to be like physically and mentally. And I really struggled, especially with my weight. I probably played at around 415 pounds that season.

After that year, I made it up in my mind that I was going to do what I needed to do to lose that maintain it.

I really don’t have a crazy calorie intake. I normally just probably stay right around 2000 to 2500 calories a day.

w, after losing about 70 pounds, my body’s getting more flexible, and with that I feel like my nervous system has begun to work differently. It’s had a ton of positive effects for me, from ankle and dorsiflexion flexibility to hip mobility to my calves being looser.

This offseason I’ve been going through the process of getting functionally stronger because my body’s not used to bending this way or moving like this. It’s been pretty awesome to see my body grow and get to this point.

For my position, pass protection is the most important. matter the system or where I go, to have the ability to have the energy to do that repetitively over and over again is critical, I’m now able now to go out there and play my game freely without any added mental stress regarding  the physical aspect of things.

Once you kind of see and feel the results of the weight loss, it shows up on film. You’re able to see that, and other people are also complimenting you on how well you look and move. It’s only natural that with that positive influence, you’re going to want to continue to carry on.

South Beach Training Sessions

I’m not a Florida guy and I really don’t like Miami—I’d rather be in colder weather. So for me, going to Miami and training with Pete Bommarito on his hot-ass turf every single day mentally prepares for me for training camp here in Cincinnati, where it’s not nearly as humid.

As I’ve grown in my career, I’ve found peace in the hard work and the process. If you’d ask me this four or five years ago, I would’ve had a different answer, but my peace is in the preparation. The stress is hard mentally, but once I realized that if I just put in the work and time, it gets a lot easier.

At Bommarito’s it’s about a five-day regimen. Each session usually starts with a calisthenics-base warmup to warm up the body and get the hips going.

On certain days we’ll do lateral walks with sleds for a total of 100 yards. We’ll work on on certain points—maintaining a base, pigeon-toed in order to really use my hips as I step out on each step.

Then I’m transitioning to some type of sprint work using the Raptor or bungee cord. Here I’ll be implementing my football movements. After sprints, Pete will have me perform three perfect pass sets, three trap pulls, and three crack toss pulls.

On Wednesdays we’ll do low-impact water drills. It’s still a little strenuous, but it helps flush the body out so you don’t get as sore. There’s be some PT work, an hour and 15 on the field and an hour and 20 in the weightroom.

It’s a very specific program, and it’s exhausting.

Technology makes the Treatment Difference

Last season I had a groin injury on the inside my right leg. This was the first time I had to deal with an injury like that. The year before I had a tibialis strain and have had to deal with small injuries over the years, but nothing catastrophic.

But I had to deal with this groin injury. It happened in Week 4 during the first half of a game against Tennessee. I remember this being such a different pain. We dealt with it, and I played through it the following week against Arizona. Then the following week against Seattle, on the fifth play of the game, I had reinjured it—a little bit worse than it was before.  I made it as far as I could, but had to come out in the middle of the fourth quarter.

Fortunately it was our bye week, so I had 14 days before we played San Francisco. I was actually able to do a PRP treatment man, which was my first time doing that as well. And wow! I was like brand new.

From what I remember, they drew blood from a healthy part of my body, like, my elbow or my elbow crease wherever my normal veins. They drew blood from there. They pull out as much of the excess blood I guess that is around the muscle. I call it the gooey, gunky stuff—I don’t know the medical proper medical term.

But prior actually prior to that, they numb it up for you and this needle goes super deep. They pull it out and then spin the blood that they drew from the healthier part of your body. In a machine for about 15 minutes. That helps increases the red blood cell count. They take that blood shoot it back into the shoot it back into the muscle, obviously the muscles numb so you don’t feel it. It’s sore for a few days after that. And then it starts recovering a lot quicker. I remember my body feeling overall so much stronger and so much better. And I didn’t feel any problems with my groin again the rest of the season.

Pass Blocking Perfection Courtesy of Pickleball

In my downtime, I enjoy playing video games, like Call of Duty and Madden—I’m still figuring it out. I’ll also watch a lot of YouTube.

But getting outside, I like playing pickleball and tennis and some ping pong. I’m a big racquet sport guy. I don’t know when that happened to me, but I enjoy doing those things.

Racquet sports stress the importance of the nervous system. For me and my position, the same focus it takes to hit the ball with the racket—from noticing how the ball is spinning, tracking the ball and determining how the ball is going to bounce— means I have to get my hands, feet, hips all in place to hit the ball accurately.

It’s kind of the same approach that my nervous system would take if I were pass setting against a Khalil Mack or setting up against Aaron Donald. I’m watching the ball being snapped on silent count. I’m getting my eyes back to the rusher, his shoulders are turning on me. He’s probably working on a bull rush, so I set my hands up and under. It’s the same concept my nervous system goes through.

So it was something I picked up a few years ago. I began taking tennis lessons two to three times a week. I feel like that was one of the reasons I was able to continue playing with a tibialis strain a few seasons ago—I strengthened so many of those “tennis muscles.” It was somewhat of a tennis injury, you could say, but I was able to get the muscles around it so much stronger. I think for most peoples, their tibias would have shattered.



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