When healthy, Lorenzo Alexander is special teams ace and can play almost any position on defense. The problem in recent years is that he has been slowed by hamstring injuries in two of the last three seasons.
This offseason, however, he found a secret weapon that has kept him healthy this season: Pilates.
“It’s probably the best thing I’ve done offseason wise, as far as training,” he said. “Every other day, I was doing something that would focus on hamstrings and glutes to get them strong. This year, I feel like I’m healthy enough to sustain the grind of the season, and I haven’t had any problems with them.”
I knocked on wood. “God willing,” Alexander responded.
Pilates is a fitness program that focuses on controlled movement and breathing in order to strengthen the support tissues around the dominant muscles. This can improve strength and work to prevent injury, as it has for Alexander.
“It allows me to be stronger than usual because it trains your core and ligaments before you work on the big muscles,” he said. “If that stuff isn’t strong enough, you’re not able to carry the weight and do the work, and be as explosive.”
Alexander said that it was teammate Kedric Golston that got him involved with Pilates for the first time in February. Alexander’s only regret is that he hadn’t suppressed his pride and gotten involved sooner.
“Once upon a time, I believed it was like yoga, and that’s for women. That’s not for me,” he said with a smile. “But it’s not a feminine discipline, it can be very masculine, and you’ll feel better when you go to the gym.”
How much better? Alexander said that he feels better at this point in the season than he has his entire career, and his numbers support it. Through 13 games this season, he leads the team with 15 special teams tackles, half again as much as his next teammate.
“You may not think you’re doing a lot, but I’m a lot stronger now at 265 than I was at 300 pounds,” he said. “My core is tighter, my ligaments are stronger, and and have a better foundation to sustain a season.”
During the offseason, Alexander and Golston teamed up to buy the local Castlerock Pilates Studio in Ashburn, and now run it as “The Studio M.B.S.” (Mind, Body, and Soul).
Not only is it a good business opportunity for after their playing careers are over, it’s also a way to prolong their playing days, even if it has come with humbling moments.
“When I work out, I’m in there with doctors and teachers,” he said. “Some of those people are more flexible than me and can hold different positions or get into different positions than me. So as a professional athlete, that is challenging.”
Not only has Alexander noticed the results, but so have his teammates and coaches. Alexander said that the likes of Ryan Torain, Rob Jackson and Perry Riley have approached him about working out in his studios in the offseason.
Alexander said that he and his wife both enjoy the workout regimen, and thanks to the results on the field, he intends to commit to it more during the season next year.
With the results that he’s putting up right now, both of his career endeavors look to benefit.