Depending on what type of receiver you are depends on the type of wide receiver workout you will be choosing.  As you can see at the highest levels you have different receivers but can be great at their own specific responsibilities.

If we break down a few of the different receivers you can determine which type of receiver you are and what type of workout you should choose to perform.  Please keep in mind these are just examples and with the annual progressions of the offensive game in the NFL the receiver is ever evolving.  To add to that there is a few staples that all receivers should always be training.  Complex explosive movements (getting off the ball and out of your breaks), running efficiency (form), agility (cutting on a dime and it starts with the core), and perfecting their craft (training eyes, reaction, hands, routes etc.).  With that being said if you still categorize the type of receiver you are make sure you work on who you are individually.

1. Possession Receiver –  This receiver tends to be the BIG target literally and figuratively.  You usually see this be the guy that has great hands and runs great routes to “stay” open, basically a very dependable receiver.  We tend to see most of these guys with larger frames and a nice size on them due to the crossing routes and short stem routes they tend to run.  This obviously has exceptions due to smaller receivers who have seemed to be “go-to” guys” in the league.

Their workout should consist of solid strength lifts in which they are performing powerful complex movements which force them to transfer energy through their core efficiently.  Also would recommend some “armour building” movements in where they are adding lean mass onto their frames for going across the middle.  Of course they should work on speed but specifically coming out of their breaks and having good stems/routes.  This is because these guys tend to run a great route to become open with little improvisation to their assignment on each play.

2. Burner Receiver – These tend to be the speedsters.  To easily put it these guys can flat out fly and can rely on their speed to stretch the field.

As far as their workout I would focus on having the edge in linear speed.  Guys each year are getting faster and faster so I would hands down work on linear speed.  A lot of form running, jumping, squats, stride work etc.

3. Slot Receiver or YAC Receiver – Whatever you want to call them these tend to be the guys that run to open grass and make something happen with the ball.  They can flex out of the backfield, shift around and run many different routes including underneath and in the flats.  These are also big play guys who get yards after catch.

Since these guys tend to be athletes they are usually genetically disposed to being a raw talent athlete but should really focus on perfecting their craft and become the best of the latter two.  If I were to have them train I would have them still train the same way in the weight room as all athletes with solid complex explosive lifts but on the field I would have them respond to all reaction drills since everything they do as a player is to react sharply off of defenders.

This is just some thoughts on how to train the few different receivers you tend to see these days but with the advancement of schemes and the overall athleticism of the receivers themselves it is an ever evolving position.  If I personally was an aspiring wide receiver I would perfect my craft to dominate each and every aspect of the position no matter how they categorize you.


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Chris Barnard
Chris Barnard

Chris Barnard is a strength and conditioning coach at Strength Camp, a hardcore athlete training facility in St. Petersburg, Florida, as well as author of multiple performance programs. He has worked with athletes at all levels and from many different sports to produce the highest level of performance in each. He currently resides in St Petersburg, Florida and continues to pursuit breakthroughs in athletic performance.