Muscle Sport Magazine

Size Doesn’t Matter – Leon Washington of the New York Jets

525-pound Squat for ‘Small’ Running Back

Try earning a living in a workplace where you’re considered one of the ‘small guys.’ And this isn’t some 9-to-5 office with a bunch of cubicles, a mailroom and a secretary that is the apple of everyone’s eye. No, this is survival of the fittest, where every yard counts.

Leon Washington may be only 200 pounds in an occupation where 300 is common, but he doesn’t take the easy way out. Being a punt and kick returner in the National Football League is an occupation that doesn’t find health insurance salesman knocking at their front doors. When Washington wants to ‘take it easy’ on himself, he is the third-down running back who has a knack for moving the chains.

His secret? Working out his lower body in the offseason, enough to max out at an incredible 525 pounds on the squat rack.

“I really got stronger in the weight room with Sal (Alosi, team head strength and conditioning coach),” said Washington in the locker room following the Jets’ 47-3 victory over the St. Louis Rams. “I won an offseason award in the weight room – the Iron Brigade – and really prepared myself with a healthy body and a healthy mind.”

Although Washington had a very productive season in 2007, he has taken it to another level this year. One play that has made the rounds on the Internet came against the Kansas City Chiefs’ punter Dustin Colquitt, who Washington dragged on his back during a tackle. It appeared as if Colquitt was giving number 29 a ‘horsy-ride.’

“The base foundation of any football player, especially in a contact sport like this, is your lower body,” Washington said. “That’s something that I concentrated on in the offseason. Working the squats and trying to get stronger. I added muscle mass and got stronger in all of my lifts.

“If you have a strong lower body adn a big heart, you’re going to be hard to stop.”

Photo credit: Al Pereira (January 2008 issue of New York Sportscene magazine)

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