In the case of Alabama junior running back Trent Richardson, weight room numbers tell just part of the story when you start to dissect what a freak of nature physically he truly is.
Ask his teammates about him and watch them gasp in amazement.
“You ever seen him with his shirt off?” asks Alabama center William Vlachos. “It’s scary.”
Offensive guard Barrett Jones adds, “You look at him, and the guy is a freak. You watch him work out, and he’s one of the strongest human beings I’ve ever seen. I can’t wait to see what he does this year on the field.”
Richardson, who steps in as Alabama’s feature back now that Mark Ingram has departed for the NFL, doesn’t necessarily want to be known as a “Workout Warrior.” He wants to be known as one of the best players in college football and somebody who helped lead his team to championships.
That said, he concedes that the weight room in a lot of ways is his sanctuary.
“I feel lost if I don’t work out,” Richardson said. “It’s a part of me. It’s who I am. I’ve got to do something extra every day. I don’t care what it is. Maybe it’s wrestling my brother, but I’ve got to do something. If I don’t, I feel like something’s missing.”
Richardson’s exploits in the weight room are the stuff of legend at Alabama.
For starters, you’re talking about a 225-pound guy who’s run a 10.4 in the 100 meters and a 4.37 in the 40-yard dash.
If he sees a sliver of daylight, he’s gone.
But he combines that speed with brute strength and explosive power.
You see, Richardson doesn’t know for sure how high he could go on some of the weight-room lifts at Alabama.
He said the Alabama strength staff stopped him at 465 pounds on the bench-press.
“They didn’t want me straining anything,” Richardson explained. “But I wonder what I could do for real.”
The same goes for squats and the power clean. Richardson said he wasn’t allowed to go higher than 600 pounds on squats and “did that easy.”
He’s gone all the way up to 365 pounds on the power clean, but added, “I was doing right around that in high school.”
He said his vertical jump is 36 inches, and he possesses just 6 percent body fat.
“I don’t feel like I’m a weight-lifter,” Richardson said. “I’m a football player who has natural strength, crazy strength, really. I’ve got a lot of God-given talent, and it’s up to me to build on that talent and get the most out of it.
“That’s why you never stop working, and you never think you’ve done enough.”
Even though he was banged up with an assortment of injuries last season, Richardson averaged 6.2 yards per carry and was second only to Kentucky’s Randall Cobb in the SEC in all-purpose yards per game (145.5).
One of the things that makes Richardson such a specimen is his blend of power and speed. He’s a bruising runner who’s adept at making yards after contact, and yet, he’s also a burner when he gets on the outside.
And while Richardson doesn’t think there are many players in the SEC who could beat him in a straight-up race, he jokes that there’s one who definitely could.
“I thought I was pretty fast, and then I went up against my boy, Jeff Demps, in a high school track meet,” Richardson said. “The race started, and I kept up with him for a couple meters and was thinking, ‘He doesn’t look that fast. I’m in this race.’
“But just like that, he pulled away and was celebrating before he finished. Now, that is one fast dude.”
Indeed he is, but Richardson is one freakish dude in his own right.