The only sport that has more legal contact than the National Hockey League would have to be the National Football League.
They both wear helmets and they both have shoulder pads, yet only one (hockey) lasts a lot longer. While the NFL is a mere 16 games, the NHL is a grueling 82 games long.
So how in the world do you prepare for an 82-game season of what might as well be called football on ice?
That’s a question that fifth-year center for the Montreal Canadiens’s Alex Galchenyuk can answer perfectly.
In an interview with Men’s Health, he goes into detail about how he best prepares himself for the toll of the season ahead.
In hockey you need explosiveness. Explosiveness off the ice, explosiveness as you rip through a slap-shot and explosiveness when you’re chasing someone down.
So every off-season, Galchenyuk trains at his grandparents’ summer house in the woods where he throws tires into a hockey net.
He also recommends running hills with a tire strapped to your waist. “It’s perfect for cardio and explosiveness,” he says. “It’s mentally draining too.”
Protein, Protein, Protein
After his workouts to recover and build muscle, Galchenyuk makes a point to consume as much protein as he possibly can.
His diet consists of either chicken or two steaks a day, which he balances out with a lot of rice and pasta for energy.
“I try to eat as healthy as I can, but I’m not crazy about diets,” he says. “I just give my body whatever it feels like eating and if it isn’t the ‘healthiest option,’ I know I will train it off anyway.”
Like I said, hockey is football on ice with much less regulation.
With that being said, it’s important that you can both take and absorb contact, which is why having an air tight torso is so key.
Besides bench and dumbbell presses, Galchenyuk also does weighted pullups with a heavy chain draped over his shoulders, going slow on his way down and doing max reps just for the challenge.
Legs of Steel
A skater goes all-out for about 30 shifts of 45 seconds each. Which is especially funny because there are NFL players that have never gone ‘all out’, ever. As famed hockey coach Herb Brooks famously pointed out, “The legs feed the wolf,”.
Having played in the best hockey league since the tender age of 18, Galchenyuk knows a little about building up legs. He still covers the basics, like squats and lunges.
But he also does beach workouts in Miami. His favorite workout is when he sets up 15 to 20 hurdles and jumps them all without stopping. The sand provides resistance to hone his speed and build his foundation, he says.
You may not be playing hockey anytime soon, but if you need a starting point on what workout to do, it probably wouldn’t hurt to give Alex Galchenyuk’s workout a try.