Fitness Corner: 40s


Texans strength and conditioning coach Dan Riley writes his popular Fitness Corner column for HoustonTexans.com. Riley and assistant strength and conditioning coach Ray Wright will continue to post selected answers to your questions throughout the year. Join in by shooting over an e-mail to fitness@houstontexans.com.

Here's Dan...


We are in the fourth week of our "official" off-season program. During the off-season program our players are focused on generating maximum strength gains and getting into good enough shape to safely participate in our on the field Coaching Sessions and Mini-Camps in May and June.

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The Players' Union and the NFL created a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) which states we can officially declare a fourteen-week period as our official off-season program. Any participation before or after this period is deemed voluntary.

During the first three weeks of the off-season our running program consisted of longer runs (110s and the Ladder). A description of these runs can be found in our player's training manual which can be downloaded off our website.

The running workouts this week (April 11-15) will make a transition from our longer sprints to our shorter sprints and change of direction workouts. Our goal is to concentrate on shorter and more intense runs designed to train the specific energy systems our players will use during the on the field coaching sessions and Mini-Camp.

Our running workouts this week will consist of the following:

Tuesday: Conditioning Fortys

Distance: 40 yards

Number: 10 sprints

Sets: 2 (total of 20 x 40 yard sprints)

Rest between sprints: 30 seconds

Rest between sets: 5 minutes

Sprint times by position:

WR/DB = 5.0

QB/RB/TE/LB = 5.5

OL/DL = 6.1

Thursday: Conditioning 20s

Distance: 20 yards

Number: 16 sprints

Sets: 2 (total of 32 x 20 yard sprints)

Rest between sprints: 20 seconds

Rest between sets: 5 minutes

Sprint times by position:

WR/DB = 2.8 seconds

QB/RB/TE/LB = 3.0 seconds

OL/DL = 3.2 seconds

Friday: 4 Quarters and the Green Monster

Strength Coach Ray Wright coordinates the Friday morning run. It will involve a variety of activities but always concludes with a series of forward and backward runs up the Green Monster.

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During our Tuesday and Thursday conditioning session we begin the workout at precisely 10:00 a.m. with a team jog around the field. Aaron Glenn and David Carr lead the team around the field with a slow jog to begin the warm-up process.*
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After jogging around the field our players gather on the goal line in three groups (listed above by position) and then strength coach Ray Wright takes our players through a series of active warm-ups to include lunges (below left), High Skips (below right) and the Lateral Shuffle.

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After this warm-up period Aaron Glenn and David Carr lead the team through our Texans stretching routine. Upon completion of the team stretch our players perform a series of "active warm-ups" on the hurdles. The purpose of an active warm-up is to take the muscles through a greater range of motion while moving and also increase core tissue temperature to get them ready to run.

Our players step over the hurdles, kick over the hurdles and step under the hurdles. Offensive linemen Todd Wade at six feet seven inches tall demonstrates his flexibility by easing under the hurdle.

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The last activity before our players begin the running portion of the conditioning session is a series of drills on the quick foot ladders. There are dozens of different drills that can be performed on the ladders to include moving forward and moving side to side and the Icky Shuffle.

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Players can also do the Ickey Shuffle moving backwards.

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We stress to our players that the drills performed on the ladder will not transfer to any skill they use on the football field. It will not make them quicker or faster. They will utilize the quickness they inherited to get better at performing each new drill we give them.

After finishing the ladders we give our players a few minutes to hydrate, change shoes, and prepare for the run of the day. The players start from a stance and sprint through the designated finish line. At the finish line we have our computerized horns preset at the designated running time for each group.  The horn goes off at the time we want each group finishing the sprint.

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All of our players are in town and participating in the program. This is the most disciplined group of players I have worked with in my twenty-four years in the NFL. Players are challenging themselves and each other.

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