Redskins nose tackle Chris Neild and receiver Pierre Garcon are among the pro athletes featured in “American Muscle,” a docu-series about the Barwis Methods Training Center that premieres tonight at 9 on Discovery Channel.
The series, produced by Funny or Die, follows strength trainer Mike Barwis and his staff, who train everyone from the average Joe to world-class athletes at a gym outside of Detroit. Barwis, who serves as a senior strength and conditioning adviser to the New York Mets and a consultant for the Miami Dolphins, has trained more than 500 Olympic and professional athletes. He previously served as the head strength and conditioning coach at Michigan and also at West Virginia, where he first worked with Neild.
“A lot of people won’t cut it here,” Barwis says in the show’s opening sequence, “but the ones who do, they’re family.”
In the premiere episode, Neild, who is entering a contract year with the Redskins, arrives on a 5-degree morning and is put through a rigorous hypertrophy workout designed to increase his muscle mass. Each day at Barwis’s training center features a total body workout with an emphasis on different muscles.
— Maxout Strength Syst (@MaxoutCEOJason) June 24, 2014
“It’s aggressive, it’s edgy, it’s intense, and it involves a little bit of vomit,” Barwis says. “I like it.”
Barwis told ESPN’s John Keim that he and Neild trained together for nearly two months. Part of their focus was on increasing Neild’s leverage and explosiveness.
“Chris is blood to me,” Barwis told Keim. “He’s an absolute warrior. His mentality is incredible. He’s one of the major aspects of the premiere of our show. …You won’t find a lot who are tougher and work harder than Chris.”
Garcon is featured less prominently in the series. Barwis told Keim that Garcon’s goals were to refine his speed and running mechanics. Some of the other current and former pro athletes who will appear in the series include Richard Sherman, Ndamukong Suh, Shawne Merriman, Nick Swisher, DeAndre Jordan and Baron Davis.