Six packs and minimal body fat percentages have almost become the norm for professional football players in the modern era.
Every English club from the Premier League down to League Two is now equipped with dieticians, nutritionists and personal trainers to keep players in tiptop condition.
It’s the same everywhere else in Europe, too, not to mention in Major League Soccer (MLS) and the Chinese Super League.
Players have all the tools they need to maintain and improve their physiques, which is why it’s such a rarity to see fat footballers.
Working out in the gym has even become common practice at professional clubs, whereas 20 years ago building muscle wasn’t seen as a necessity.
This change in emphasis has seen a rise in muscular football players – and there really are some absolute beasts out there.
Adebayo Akinfenwa is one of the biggest. The 36-year-old Wycombe Wanderers striker is 5′ 10″ and weighs 102kg, which is largely unheard of in professional football.
Here’s a look at eight footballers who probably spend as much time in the gym as they do on the football pitch in order of how much they could bench press – because why not?
8TH – XHERDAN SHAQIRI
Predicted one rep max – 110kg
Bear with us on this one. Xherdan Shaqiri may be the shortest player on this list at 5′ 7″, but the Swiss never skips leg day and is renowned for being a little unit.
Indeed, during the 2018 World Cup, Shaqiri celebrated a goal for Switzerland against Serbia by removing his shirt and showing he’s ripped.
Shaqiri weighs just 72kg, but due to his physique and dedication to the gym there’s a good chance he can bench press a lot more than his body weight.
7TH – MICAH RICHARDS
Predicted one rep max – 120kg
Micah Richards’ career has fallen to pieces since leaving Manchester City for Aston Villa in 2015, but the fact remains he’s a beast who could outperform most footballers in the gym.
During his time as a right-back at City the 30-year-old became renowned for his size and he’s very quick for someone who weighs 83kg.
He’s naturally strong and well built, so when combined with regular gym workouts Richards’ one rep max could be somewhere in the region of 120kg.
6TH – HULK
Predicted one rep max – 120kg
A man sharing the same name as the Incredible Hulk is always going to be a big hit in the gym, isn’t he?
Hulk, who currently plays for Shanghai SIPG, has a lethal left foot and there are very few players who can say they’ve successfully muscled him off the ball.
EA Sports gave the Brazilian a strength rating of 88 on FIFA 19 and it’s statistics like those that suggest he could produce a big one rep max on bench press.
5TH – ROMELU LUKAKU
Predicted one rep max – 135kg
Imagine being able to bench press 100kg at 15 years old – well, that’s exactly what Romelu Lukaku claims he did during his teenage years.
“I used to bench press 100kg at 15. I really bulked up that year,” said the Belgian in 2016, whose game revolves around beating defenders using his speed and strength.
Lukaku is now 10 years older and bigger than he used to be, so a one rep max of 135kg seems a fair assumption for someone of his size.
4TH – TROY DEENEY
Predicted one rep max – 145kg
Troy Deeney loves nothing more than bullying Premier League defenders and it’s no wonder considering he’s 6′ 0″ tall and has 90kg worth of weight to throw around.
But a lot of that 90kg is muscle and the 30-year-old is known as the hardest worker in the gym at Watford.
Deeney uses the same trainer as Anthony Joshua, Jamie Reynolds, and the workouts he posts on Instagram look gruelling, so he must be a monster on the bench press.
3RD – GEORGE ELOKOBI
Predicted one rep max – 165kg
Just look at the size of him. George Elokobi certainly isn’t your average centre-back and strikers must dread coming up against him.
The 32-year-old claims he’s stopped doing extra weights in the gym but reckons he’s still as big and strong as ever – and we believe him.
If Deeney is able to bench press something in the region of 145kg then Elokobi, given his size, would be able to do quite a bit more we think.
2ND – ADEBAYO AKINFENWA
Predicted one rep max – 190kg
Bet you didn’t see this coming. Akinfenwa is aptly nicknamed ‘The Beast’ by football fans and you need only look at his gym videos to see just how strong the striker is.
He’s also the strongest player on FIFA 19 with a scary strength rating of 97 – which is a Guinness World Record.
So when it comes to bench pressing Akinfenwa can lift a huge weight and in 2015 he posted a video of himself beating his personal best with 190kg.
1ST – STUART TOMLINSON
Predicted one rep max – 195kg
Sorry Adebayo, but when it comes to bench pressing it’s hard to look past goalkeeper and former WWE wrestler Stuart Tomlinson.
The 33-year-old has played for the likes of Crewe Alexander, Port Vale and Burton Albion and watching all 112kg of him dive across the goal is quite a sight.
He retired from football in 2013 to chase his WWE dream and later that year a video emerged of him bench pressing 180kg in flip flops, so a one rep max of 195kg sounds about right.