One of the NFL's best blockers says his game transformed after he started doing squats on a physio ball - here's how it works

Andrew Thomas
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  • Giants player Andrew Thomas took up balance training to recover from ankle surgery this offseason.

  • The training involved standing on top of a medicine ball and doing various exercises.

  • Thomas says the training has made a difference in preventing him from falling down during plays.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

New York Giants offensive tackle Andrew Thomas has been one of the NFL's most improved players from last season.

His blocking performance ranked near the bottom of the league last year, according to Pro Football Focus data. Now, he's one of the best.

According to Thomas, his improvement is credit to the balance training he took up in January as part of his rehab following a left ankle surgery. The workout involves a series of exercises, all done while balancing on a physio ball.

"It's cross-body action, working rotation and balance," Thomas told Insider.

The training not only helped him recover from the surgery - it also directly translated to his work on the field, he said.

The training has helped Thomas have leverage over opponents

The Giants made Thomas the first offensive lineman taken in the 2020 NFL draft when they selected him with the fourth overall pick out of Georgia.

But he struggled as a rookie, giving up five sacks and letting opposing defenders pressure the quarterback 28 times in his first five games, according to Pro Football Focus.

This year, however, Thomas has been one of the league's best blockers. He hasn't given up any sacks through the first four games, and has the ninth-highest pass-block grade from Pro Football Focus among all offensive tackles with a 79.

Unlike last year, Thomas said, he isn't falling down on plays.

He is also able to rotate his body smoother, and has more control over shifting his weight from his left to right side, allowing him to stay in front of opposing defenders.

"When I go back and watch the film from last year to this year, I can just tell the difference is affected by how much I'm not on the ground, last year I was on the ground a lot," Thomas said. "I messed up my blocks a few times because my weight was on my outside half. This year it's a lot more smooth moving from outside to inside."

Try his workout to build strength and agility

Andrew Thomas vs Chase Young
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Thomas stands on a half physio ball - an inflated rubber, semicircular ball, with a flat platform to stand on and a rounded part which faces the ground. Then, he squats down to perform various tasks.

In one move, he squats down on one leg, picks up a kettle bell with one arm, does a knee raise, then puts it down.

Next, he picks up a tennis ball, and does the same thing.

Balance training can be useful for anyone looking treat or prevent injury. If you sprain your ankle, the muscles around the joint stop contracting in a coordinated fashion, but balance exercises after the injury can retrain the muscles to contract together and prevent reinjury.

Other balance exercises that don't require equipment include:

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