Which Way to the Gym?



Twenty years ago players would show up at training camp looking like Gregor or Wanye. Not bad but not great. Training camp would be used by everyone to get back into playing shape and to work off the summer chub.

Those days are long gone.

The offseason is now used to get into great shape for the season. When do they start? It depends on each individual player and how far their team went in the playoffs. For this article I will look at a typical non-playoff team player’s summer…

12 Month Commitment

Some guys start at the beginning of July, others the beginning of June. For many, the month of April is used to rest and then in May the process begins. May is a time to make sure all injuries from the previous season have healed. It is very frustrating and difficult to really train hard with a nagging injury.

This can mean a lot of time spent at physiotherapy or even lots of yoga. More and more players are using yoga to lengthen the muscles and get them ready to train hard. It is a great way to get over a long NHL season.

June is when the guys get back into the gym for real. This means four or five days a week working out. I always found June a good month to work on specific weaknesses. That could be anything from strength, foot speed, endurance or body composition. Each player is unique. It was still a month to prepare for July which is a very heavy month of training.

By the start of July, the body should be feeling recovered and strong. Ready for a very heavy month of tworking out. July is usually the hardest month of the summer: heavy weight lifting, lots of quickness/footwork and body function are the focus. Six days a week, all with a different length and intensity of workout are common, somewhere between one to three hours are day.

The length of workouts shorten in August but the intensity remains elevated. This is because many guys start to skate regularly and the body needs to have a chance to be fresh heading into camp in September. Some guys skate every day, others maybe once a week. Depends on the individuals need and goals of the summer.

More and more players are spending a lot of time on skill work over the summer. Makes sense. Once September comes guys will pull back a lot, even take time off. The NHL season is long and grueling, so you want to be as fresh and healthy as possible when it starts. If by September you still look like Wanye or Gregor you have two big problems – First, training hard for those two weeks won’t make a big difference, it is too late. Second, you better get used to having sand kicked in your face at the beach!!!

Are you serious?

That is a nice little offer sheet that Shea Webber signed with the Flyers yesterday. Good for him. He deserves it. A great defenseman and good captain.

Many people and media members alike wondered if he should still be the Captain of Nashville if the Predators match it because he signed with another team. Are you serious? Was that a joke? You are suggesting you take away the captaincy from a player you just gave north of one hundred million dollars to over the next fourteen years? Wow!

I choked on my bowl of mini wheats when I saw those comments. That would be a great way to start off that relationship! It is as bad of an idea as texting a prenuptial contract to your fiancé on the way to the church!

  • Chainsawz

    Good article Struds. Interesting to see your take on the training regime required to recover from the past season, and rebuild for the upcoming one.
    Without throwing Teddy Peckman completely under the bus, I noticed that there was no mention of cheeseburger in any of the off-season training regimens.
    I am the furthest thing from an elite athelete – but know from training for cycling races that it only takes a few days off from training, or poor lifestyle choices (beer) and you’ve taken several steps back in strength/fitness. Being a pro athelete takes huge commitment.

  • vetinari

    Good article Struds… as for Weber comments regarding whether he should continue as their captain if Nashville matches the offer sheet, I have to admit that I was one of those guys.

    No one questions that Weber is an exceptional player and leader but rather I posed that question because of the comments made by his agent and himself that confirmed that the Suter situation changed everything for him and how he viewed the Pred’s and that Philly had tried to trade for his rights earlier to no avail before going the offer sheet route.

    This tells me that this has been a process of “disengagment” by Weber from being the face of the Pred’s and even if Nashville matches the offer sheet, a new captain may not be unreasonable, even if it is for a season or two to make sure that Weber is comfortable with their direction and doesn’t pressure them for a trade.

    I also think of the Nash situation in Columbus and seesome parallels. How do you be a team leader when you clearly want out the door?

  • Quicksilver ballet

    I can’t see the Predators matching. It makes no sense from even a competitive perspective:

    They COULD probably afford Weber even on their internal budget, but could they build competitive teams? Unlikely.

    Combine with the fact that the Predators were a good team this year, yet Nashville still clearly struggled to make money. If they overspend, there’s no guarantee the fanbase will suddenly appear. Nashville is a music town first (the night life there is unbelievable for a city its size), a football town second. I don’t even know where hockey registers there on the interest scale. People just don’t talk about it, and if asked, change the subject.

    Besides, Weber wants out. He wouldn’t sign an offer so clearly hostile to Nashville if he was interested in staying.

  • O.C.

    One item that is starting to make headway is over-training. A body needs complete rest (not just different muscle groups on opposite days).

    There was an Olympic swimmer for the US last Olys… She trained 7 days a week leading into competition.. As soon as I heard that, I followed her intently.

    She failed miserably.

  • Maddog

    In addition to training their bodies or rather in conjunction with this critical part of being a pro athlete,are their any direct and focused attempts to work out players perspectives or vision for the game?There must be a related growth in their perspectives parallel to their physical personal evolution.What i mean is,I believe that their is a constant and paralell evolution of an athletes perspective and vision of the game both on and off the ice and I am curious wether or not there is a system in place to address the need to take an organised approach to properly maintaining and supporting this growth and evolution.I have a system that has been designed to integrate both of these components during the season and especially dureing the off-season when training methods begin to really vary in their form and function from player to player.Dureing the developmental process when I was designing my NewAge Hockey System I encountered this challenge and devised a way to integrate the solution into the systems form and function on a base level.I can provide one system that will be allow these two critical dynamics to be addressed and integrated into ALL the individual off-season routines used by players.This developmental issue is addressed on a constant basis through the application of the Newage Hockey Systems core value components when teams use it,so it is integrated into the everyday actions of the players,however the catalysing core values can be isolated from the NewAge Hockey System and applied anywhere in any physical dynamic.Are their any systems this accomodateing to individual formats that the athletes at the pro level use that accomplish the goals I have outlined??