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DEMERS DEVELOPS DE-BODY: FOCUS ON LEGS

Islanders Strength and Conditioning Coach Jesse Demers introduces the leg portion of his push, pull, leg exercise system

Wednesday, 08.25.2010 / 1:49 PM ET / News
By Dyan LeBourdais
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DEMERS DEVELOPS DE-BODY: FOCUS ON LEGS
When talking about his push, pull, leg system, the Islanders Strength and Conditioning Coach Jesse Demers stressed that his fitness routine isn’t your ordinary workout.

I don’t think it’s appropriate or necessary to overload the legs because the legs have to work the right way to be successful rather than just strong. - Jesse Demers
“Every day our entire body is getting some work where some other programs might do three days a week and just concentrate on legs,” Demers said about his training program. “I don’t think it’s appropriate or necessary to overload the legs because the legs have to work the right way to be successful rather than just strong.”

“My program allows people to create movement the right way,” Demers said.

Even though the word “strength” is in his title, he doesn’t recommend players use machines to leg press or bench press dead weight because those exercises will not maximize your full-body potential. Instead, Demers utilizes a six-day program that focuses on different muscle groups each day through a series of movement exercises.

Each day, Demers has the players go through three separate series of three different exercises so they are completing a total of nine different exercises in one day. Although Demers refers to Day One of his program as a ‘leg day,’ his exercises really involve many different muscle groups.

“Rather than resting our arms by our sides when we do a lunge, our arms are over head, so our core, our shoulders and all our stabilizing muscles are in place and we really challenge the body outside its comfort zone,” Demers said.
 
The core isn’t the only other muscle group that is targeted on a “leg” day.

“How I typically start out our Day One program would be a focus on the leg exercises, followed with a light or medium push, followed by a light or medium pull,” said Demers, referring to chest, back and arm exercises. The last series of the day will incorporate three different high-intensity leg exercises in a row.

“In each series, one of those exercises will be an injury prevention exercise because part of my leg program is really designed to what I would call a mechanical function or efficiency,” Demers continued.

In the accompanying video, Demers will demonstrate three different exercises he uses on a leg day, which include examples of a heavy leg, medium push and light pull exercise.

Weighted elevated lunge

The first exercise, a weighted elevated lunge, is geared towards improving the power in your legs by strengthening the muscles. Strengthening the legs will help you move faster on the ice.

With two heavy weights in your hands, stand about hip width apart on top of the exercise platforms. Step your left leg off the back of the platform in a lunge position. Bend your left knee so that your shin is parallel to the floor and your right leg is bent at a 90 degree angle. Stand back up slowly and step your left leg back on top of the exercise platform so you are standing with your feet hips width apart. Repeat on the right leg.

Rotational plate pull-push
The second exercise is a rotational plate pull-push exercise. This exercise will help strengthen your rotational movements which are important when taking a shot or passing the puck, as well as your leg stability which could help keep you on your feet after receiving a check.

To begin, stand with your legs in the lunge position and the weight at your chest. While pushing the weight up into the air, rotate the body forward towards the bent knee. As you pull the weight back in to your chest, rotate your body back to the starting position. To complete the first rep, rotate your upper body towards your extended back leg while pushing the weight down towards the floor. Complete your reps and then switch your leg position and repeat.

Three-way reverse fly with bands
The final exercise in this series is the three-way reverse fly with bands. This is an exercise Demers uses for injury prevention because it works to create good posture and helps strengthen the muscles of the shoulders as well as create a better range of motion. This exercise also helps increase the power in the shot.

To begin this exercise, wrap the band behind a post so that when you pull away, the band’s resistance increases. Keep the band at chest height. With your hands holding both sides of the band, stand with your legs wide, toes facing forward, and pull your arms out to your sides so they are parallel to your shoulders and palms face forward, repeat three times. Repeat this motion three more times, except pull the band lower to the height of your waist. For the final three pulls, pull the bands straight towards you with your knuckles pointed towards the floor and your hands resting at your hips.

The next installment in the 'Demers Develops De-Body' series will focus on the “Push” aspect of his push, pull, leg system.

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