NHL Players Recognize the Importance of Year Round Training

Every time I come across an article like the one by Canadian Press writer Chris Johnston, I see the value of our book The Hockey Conditioning Handbook. Click on the Store tab above to check it out. The article is on www.canoe.ca and it titled NHLers spend summer training. Here is an excerpt.

Whether Rod Brind’Amour’s season ends in June, April or February, one thing always remains constant – he starts training for the next one as soon as he can.

The captain of the Carolina Hurricanes is one of the fittest players in the NHL because he refuses to stop exercising. He turned 38 over the summer and still has three years left on a contract he fully intends to play out.

Brind’Amour typifies the character needed to be a veteran in today’s NHL. In the past, some believed that longevity was best achieved by taking extensive time off over the summer to let the body heal before essentially starting anew during training camp.

That strategy simply wouldn’t work now.

“It’s definitely a year-round job,” Brind’Amour said during a recent interview. “I think the guys that approach it that way are the ones that last the longest…

The training methods vary by individual.

Brind’Amour likes to get up by 6 a.m. for a bike ride before hitting the gym or going for a skate. Alzner has added more bench press and chin-up exercises to his normal routine that focuses on core strength. Andrew Ference of the Boston Bruins is a friend of Simon Whitfield’s and participated in triathlons while taking time away from skating early in the summer.

The key to Jason Spezza’s off-ice workouts is the presence of other NHLers. He’s one of 10 guys that train together at a gym in Toronto over the summer.

“It’s pretty intense,” said the Ottawa Senators forward. “That’s why you try to have other guys around you that are kind of working towards the same thing.

“It makes it a little bit competitive and keeps the edge on the days you don’t feel like getting out of bed. You’ve got to beat the other guys.”

The 29-year-old Ference believes his generation of players is used to working out all summer long and showing up to training camp in top shape.

However, one change he’s observed over nine seasons in the league is the different approach players now take to their workouts.

“Some guys used to think training was all about going in the gym, pumping iron and getting huge,” said Ference. “They forgot they’re not professional weightlifters or bodybuilders – they have to be ready for hockey.

“I think the type of training, guys have maybe adjusted that to be more specific to our sport.”

Read the rest of the article for more insight on NHL players feeling for the importance of year round specific training for hockey.

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