Kevin McNamara catches up with Brandon Meriweather, who was working out at Punch Kettlebell Gym in Rumford, RI.
In a sometimes-intense 60-minute workout on Tuesday, the Pats’ All-Pro safety and a friend, James Roberts, were put through a cutting-edge set of exercises by gym owner Anthony DiLuglio.
Instead of the traditional strong-guy drills dominated by bar bells, the Punch workouts offer a wider variety of tests that feature kettlebells, ropes, power jumping and even Strongman logs. Meriweather and a growing legion of NFL players are big boosters of the program.
"I‘ve been ready since April 1," said Meriweather. "Seriously, I’m ready. I’m about 207 (pounds) now. I’m running, I feel good, I’m strong. All the things I needed to work on, I did. I’m ready to go."
"We work out with a lot of different tools and weights. It’s not traditional bench press, squats," he said. "We do different things with weight. You can’t get these things from an ordinary gym. Now I go into a regular gym and am pretty much puzzled because I don’t see that stuff as helping me as much."
DiLuglio met Meriweather through Mayo, another Patriot he considers a "lifer" who owns an unbending work ethic.
"There are guys that do this for a living and guys who do this for a job. This is his life," DiLuglio said of Meriweather. "Guys like Brandon, Mayo, Brady, it’s in their bones. I can’t teach him a better skill set for the game, but I can give him more confidence and more resilience and we can build on that."
DiLuglio says he has a close relationship with Harold Nash and Moses Cabrera, two Patriots’ conditioning coaches who believe in kettlebell training. Meriweather says he’s happy to keep up the drills, wherever they are offered.
"I took like two weeks off after the season and then I started working out on my own. Then I got into the groove of it, heavy," Meriweather said. "I feel like the stuff A.D. does you can’t find nowhere else. I feel it separates players from the pack."
"To be honest, after about two months of the lockout I didn’t pay too much attention to it," he said. "It seems like everybody knows more about the lockout than I do because I don’t watch TV. I don’t watch (ESPN’s) SportsCenter. I don’t like to get my hopes up and get brought back down the next day. I feel like that’s what SportsCenter’s been doing. They said 100 days ago the lockout should be over and now they’re saying the same thing."
"When I get an e-mail saying it’s time to vote, that’s when I’ll call (Matt) Light and Vince Wilfork and Tom (Brady) and the people who I know understand what’s going on," he said. "That’s when I’ll put my ear to the ground and see what I can find out before I vote."
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