Fitness Corner: Leg workout


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.
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This Fitness Corner features video of defensive end Gary Walker performing one of our standard leg routines. I recently used this video at a clinic the Texans hosted for high school football coaches. Texans Entertainment Manager/Game Day Producer, Scott MacKerron, shot the video, which you can watch here (

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The purpose of the video was to provide coaches with a visual picture of how our players perform an exercise. Remember our Texans "Rep Rules" when viewing the film. In past installations of the Fitness Corner I discussed the need for rep reproduction to accurately monitor strength gains from one workout to the next.

Our Rep Rules while performing each rep include the following:

  1. Eliminate momentum (bouncing, jerky, cheating movements) while raising the weight. Force the muscles to perform all of the work. It is the neurological intent to raise the weight fast that develops explosiveness, not that the weight itself is lifted fast.
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  1. Pause momentarily in the muscles contracted position. The Sliding Filament Theory tells us that the greatest numbers of muscle fibers are recruited in a muscles contracted position. Any bouncing (momentum) in this position will result in fewer muscle fibers recruited and less strength gained. This will provide a smooth transition from the raising phase to the lowering phase.
  1. Emphasize the lowering of the weight. The same muscles raise and lower the weight. One half of the exercise is raising the weight. The lowering of the weight is the other half. Because of gravity and intracellular friction, the athlete must take more time to lower the weight.

During the filming Gary performed 12 reps of each exercise. Scott edited the film and included just a couple reps of each exercise. The exercise sequence is our standard template for our leg routines.

The order of exercise includes the following:

  1. Leg Press (fused movement arm)
  1. Leg Curl
  1. Hip Extension
  1. Hip Abduction
  1. Leg Press (non-fused movement arm)
  1. Leg Extension
  1. Leg Press

8.      Adduction

Hip Flexion and Standing and Seated Calf Raises are optional exercises for our players. Some players incorporate these movements into our leg routine and some do not.

Upon completion of his lower body workout Gary performs three exercises for his midsection (core). The midsection is made up of three major muscle groups and Gary performs an exercise for each.

  1. Trunk Flexors
  1. Trunk Rotators
  1. Trunk Extensors

While performing the Back Extension on the Medx Low Back machine, Gary extends his arms to illustrate how compatible this movement is with a stiff-legged dead-lift or hyperextension. Unlike the dead-lift or hyperextension, the Medx Low Back provides direct and rotary resistance, which is necessary to develop the low back through the full range of motion.

A big thank you from the Fitness Corner to "G-Funk."

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