Why Are Offensive Lineman So Heavy?

If you watch football on tv you’ve likely noticed that many of the players on the offensive line are quite heavy. These players often carry around enough body fat to appear like they are totally out of shape. In reality, this is not true at all.

Offensive linemen are so heavy because it allows them to effectively block their opponent. On passing plays, their opponent will not be able to move them out of the way. And on rushing plays, they can use their weight to hit defenders and create space for the ball carrier.

Pass Protection

When it comes to pass protection as an offensive lineman your goal is to move backwards slowly keeping yourself between the defender and the quarterback.

As the defender rushes towards the quarterback the lineman must ensure they block their path.

One popular pass-rushing move to use against lineman is a bull rush. A bull rush consists of a defender using all his strength to push the lineman into the backfield. If a lineman carried no body fat and was let’s say fifty pounds lighter this would be much easier for the defender.

By carrying the extra weight you are forcing defenders to move much heavier players out of the way in order to reach the quarterback.

Lineman without this extra weight would be similar in size to a tight end. And if you ever watch a tight end attempt to block the opposing team’s top pass rusher you’ll know how poorly this tends to go for the tight end.

Run Blocking

When it comes to run blocking the weight of an offensive lineman plays a huge role as well. On rushing plays linemen are tasked with hitting defenders, moving them out of the way so that the ball carrier can get downfield.

If you play on the interior of the offensive line you are going to be tasked with blocking defensive tackles. Defensive tackles are the heaviest players in football making them incredibly difficult to move.

If a lineman attempts to move the DT while weighing 100 pounds less than him it is not going to go very well. Instead, these linemen must get themselves to a similar size as the opposing DT in order to move them on rushing plays.

Additionally on some rushing plays the lineman may pull and run downfield. Having the extra weight, in this case, makes their blocks that much more devastating.

200 pounds coming downhill toward you is much different than 300. By adding on this extra weight linemen are much more likely to pancake block an opponent.

Are Offensive Lineman Out Of Shape?

Due to their high body fat many football fans make the assumption that these players are out of shape, this could not be further from the truth.

Due to all the body fat they carry offensive linemen are not necessarily healthy but they are incredible athletes.

Despite carrying all this extra weight linemen are incredibly fast for their size. It may not look like it on the football field but these huge men are much faster than you would imagine.

Additionally, offensive linemen are one of the strongest positions on the football field. Only a defensive tackle consistently puts up more weight in the gym than an offensive lineman.

Oftentimes when a lineman retires he will lose 50-100 pounds within a year. Their physical shape post-retirement usually shows that they were always in good shape the added weight was just necessary to do their job effectively on the field.

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