Interviews

Washington Redskins Star Ryan Kerrigan On His Go-To Workouts, Hydration, and Training For Speed

The Pro Bowl defensive stud talks about why he thinks his team is ready to get back to the playoffs.

Washington Redskins outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan (91) intercepts a pass and returns it for a second quarter touchdown against Philadelphia Eagles running back Darren Sproles (43) on September 10, 2017, at FedExField in Landover, MD.
L: Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images, R: Patrick McDer

Washington Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan is ready to bring his team back to the playoffs.

After watching the Washington Capitals win the Stanley Cup last season, the three-time Pro Bowl linebacker got a little taste of what that celebration was like. Kerrigan, who attended some Capitals games with his teammates during the NHL playoffs, wants to give Redskins fans the same type of experience.

“It would be amazing to bring a Super Bowl to Washington D.C.,” Kerrigan told Muscle & Fitness. “I’ve always felt that way, but even more so after seeing the city react after the Caps won the Stanley Cup. There were people partying in the streets here for days. It’s been so awesome. We see what it would be like if we were to win a Super Bowl, as if we needed any more motivation.”

While the Redskins haven't made the playoffs since 2015, Kerrigan is excited about the moves the team has made this offseason. Washington has a new quarterback, Alex Smith, and a potential stud running back in rookie Derrius Guice. While they’re in the same division as the Super Bowl-champion Philadelphia Eagles, Kerrigan thinks the Redskins can compete.

”We made some good additions this offseason,” Kerrigan said. “And I think, if there’s anything to take away from last year, the Eagles were last place in their division the year before and then they went on to win the Super Bowl. I think with the additions that we’ve made, we’ve got a lot to be optimistic about.”

Kerrigan spoke with Muscle & Fitness about his go-to workouts, his nutritional routine, and working with Gatorade's Beat the Heat program to teach kids about why hydration is so important.

Muscle & Fitness: What’s your workout routine like during the offseason?

Kerrigan: During the offseason it’s pretty intense. I do a lot of strength and explosive training, a lot of power, squats, stuff like that. But then also, as I’ve gotten older in the league, I’ve tried to incorporate more flexibility into my routine. I’m doing a lot of yoga, Pilates, things like that to help my body sustain and be able to be pliable throughout the season. My favorite workouts are anything explosive. I like doing squats, I like doing box jumps – those are the things that are very pertinent to my position and really important for a pass rusher, so those workouts are kind of my speed I guess.

If you could use only one type of workout to train for football, what would it be and why?

It would be the squat, because you have to have a strong lower half, you have to be explosive, and you can be as strong as you want upper body in football, but if you don’t have strength in your lower half, you’re going to get pushed around, especially in the line of scrimmage where I play. I also do a lot of planks, a lot of pillars, a lot of stability ball work and some work on our Kaiser machines that will help my core work.

What’s your daily nutritional routine like?

As I’ve gotten older, my routine has gotten pretty tenuous. I try to really follow my diet. Specifically, each day I try to eat at the same time and eat the same amount of protein, carbs and fats at each time each day. It’s something I’ve really taken pride in over the years, because I feel like it really makes a difference not only in training but allowing me to sustain performance throughout the season. Gatorade helps me stay hydrated and helps you sustain your performance because you can’t rely on food and water to take you through a workout, you need a little something extra if you’re really working and you’re trying to push yourself. That’s where Gatorade comes in.

What are your favorite ways you like to train and workout in the gym to work on your speed and agility?

For me, speed and agility, mainly it’s just working on drills pertinent to my position. It’s working on takeoff, working on bending the corner in pass rush drills and ladder drills as well will help with your foot coordination because in pass rushing, you have to, what they call, “marry your hands and your feet.” It is same foot, same hand and that goes against what you’re taught to do when you run, so that’s where the foot ladder comes in and allowing you to coordinate your hands and your feet.

You haven’t missed a game in your professional career, what are some of the workouts and training techniques you use to work on injury prevention?

A lot of strength exercises, mobility exercises. I’m a big believer in foam rolling and stretching. I feel like that really helps you stay limber, helps you stay pliable and can help you avoid those soft tissue injuries that can be a nag and be a pain throughout the season. I do a lot of yoga. I try to do yoga three or four times a week because the importance of flexibility can’t be overstated enough. It helps with injuries but it also helps you on the field, you know, make yourself small around an offensive lineman. Boxing I’ve done a little bit. But yoga and Pilates are my go-to.

Why is it important for athletes to properly hydrate during the hot summer months?

It’s important to properly hydrate for a number of reasons, the main one which is safety. You know, you don’t want to dehydrate out there and make yourself susceptible to any kind of injury but also for your performance. I mean if you’re dehydrated and you’re tired out there, you’re not going to be able to perform as well. So if you’re hydrated and you’re feeling good, your performance is going to benefit as a result. A few years back during training camp, I wasn’t properly hydrated. I hadn’t had enough electrolytes. I drank a bunch of water but I didn’t have the right amount of sodium or carbohydrates or electrolytes in my body. As a result of that, after practice I went into a full body cramp and that’s just not a situation you want to find yourself in, I’ll tell you that.

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