TEMPE, Ariz. — Carson Palmer is taking a radically different approach to training this summer than he did last summer when he was coming off ACL surgery.
“So much of it last year was just getting healthy and getting strong,” the Cardinals quarterback said Monday at the opening of the team’s strength and conditioning program. “This year, without having to slow your way into it and having to be cautious because you had a repaired ACL, this year has been totally different.”
Rehabilitation was one thing, but this year’s training is also radically different from the early years of Palmer’s career. Palmer is 36, and while he isn’t cutting corners in his preparation for the season, age and mileage have forced him to alter his methods.
“When you get older you need more time to recover,” strength and conditioning coach Buddy Morris said. “You’re not as supple as you once were. You’re a little more beat up.
“The body can’t handle as much stress or as much volume of work so we make considerable adaptions to Carson. Everything is based on how they respond to the active dynamic warm-up when they come in each day.”
That doesn’t mean the Cardinals are treating Palmer with kid gloves.
“There’s a falsity that people think the older you get, the less you train,” Palmer said. “It’s actually the opposite. The older you get the harder you train.
“You need to be more efficient with your time. Maybe the two-and-a-half and three-and-a-half hour workouts need to be slimmed down to two hours, but you’re getting more in probably because you’re going at a faster tempo and a faster rate.”
Palmer said there is a danger in being unduly cautious in his preparation due to age.
“You may alter some exercises that you did when you were 22, 23 years old but you can’t go easier or try to be careful or try not to get hurt because once you get on the football field you’ve been training to not get hurt and that’s kind of when you get yourself in some difficult situations,” he said.
Morris said the focus for Palmer is in line with his overall philosophy for the team.
“What I do for Carson is more body weight, more movement prep-based,” he said. “I don’t care how strong you get; if you can’t move you can’t help us. So really, the foundation of our program is securing biomechanical efficiency and periods of fatigue and making sure our athletes are able to move.”
Palmer admits that training technology and science is progressing at dizzying rate. He tries to incorporate the latest innovations and philosophies, but only to a point.
“People come up with new ways and you find out something you’re doing this year or something you were doing last year, everyone is slamming it that it’s hurting athletes,” he said. “You’ve got to take everything with a grain of salt.
“I listen to the new stuff, I try it out and if it works it works. If it doesn’t I still feel really good about what I’ve done over my career to get ready and I’ll stick to those things.”