The NHL is one of the most aggressive, violent, and physically demanding professional sports globally, filled with the fastest, toughest, and strongest athletes that ice rinks ever witnessed. The entire league is filled with players that most men would consider physical wonders whose bodies are akin to muscle machines capable of exerting incredibly physical workloads. With a few exceptions, of course, because every now and then, a talent makes a name of itself despite having a body figure of Shrek.
This article looks to call out the superhumans of ice hockey, the top 7 most fit hockey players, explaining their training regimes and just how much work it goes into becoming an absolute beast on the ice. So without further ado, let’s introduce our first most fit hockey player.
Okay, truth be told, P.K. Subban requires no introduction, as he’s arguably among the best blue line players in the NHL and one of the most jacked defensemen of his generation. Though approximately 9 inches shorter than LeBron and a few pounds lighter, this hockey player has the ability to match any opponent on the ice.
He keeps himself in shape through weight training, including hamstrings and glute drills, chin-ups, treadmill work, and sprinting. He’s one of the fittest NHL players whose athleticism allows him to cut through the competition like a sickle, warranting a good viewership every time he sets skates on the ice.
Another hockey player who doesn’t need an introduction, Alexandar Ovechkin is one of the most feared NHL players in the league. This physical freak is an absolute beast during the regular seasons; his physical prowess is confirmed by over 600 goals Ovechkin scored during his career. Most of his training is based on squats and bench press, with an occasional mile or two long runs for conditioning purposes.
However, the off-season is a different animal altogether. The fierce-as-a-tiger Ovechkin is more akin to a fluffy teddy bear during the off-season. It’s noted that he likes to relax during the off-season, which usually means he packs on a few pounds in the front by the season’s beginning, developing a noticeable belly.
It’s only natural that we mention Ovechkin’s long-time rival, Sidney Crosby, another muscle-packed powerhouse of a hockey player. He’s 5’11” paired with 205lbs of muscle, and legs like tree trunks make him one of the fiercest and most fit hockey players in the NHL. We like to think of him as a muscle-wrecking ball.
Of course, those tree trunk-like legs didn’t earn themselves; Crosby spends hours in the gym, mainly focusing on squats, deadlifts, and box jumps. It’s pretty clear that he focuses more on the lower body exercises, which are crucial to hockey players, and isn’t afraid of hitting the gym during the off-season—got to keep that engine running.
Seguin is one of the most prolific NHL scorers ever since he joined the league in 2010, which is mainly attributed to his continuous off-season training. Yes, Tyler Seguin trains vigorously even during the off-season, having admitted to training six days a week for up to four hours a day. His gym trainer is a firm believer in a diversity of training methods to prevent the muscles from getting used to repetitive work.
Seguin’s workouts include weight work, specific days for running on different tracks, yoga, Pilates, and even beach volleyball. The effectiveness of his training regimen is quite evident, especially considering that his physique earned him a massive female following called the “Saguinistas.”
Stamkos has all it takes to be a successful offensive player – at 6’1″ and 194lbs; he’s a perfect combination of size and speed, which gives him enough power to get past the defense and crush the net. But you don’t get to his level of performance by skipping leg days at the gym.
He gets most of his fitness from off-season training when he spends time in the gym, focusing on weighted sled work, sprints, and deadlifts. But he doesn’t neglect the kitchen aspect of fitness, as his diet consists of chicken, fish, lots of nuts, hemp seeds, and all other sorts of healthy foods.
Kris Letang is known as one of the most fit hockey players in the entire NHL league and one of the top defenders the league has ever seen. His off-the-charts athleticism indeed makes him a powerful defender but also allows him to expand his skillset and join the offense, often turning the game in favor of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
However, this athleticism was well-earned with dedication and hard work. In fact, one of his training videos highlights him wearing a 40lbs weight vest while performing Bulgarian Split-Squats with 120lbs dumbbells. Letang prefers rough and intense training sessions so that he can translate them into his game. It only goes to prove that titans aren’t born – they’re forged.
Though currently recovering from an injury, Max Pacioretty is one of those players whose teammates chase his gym records, including some better-rated players in the league. Sure, he might not be one of the best goal scorers in the game, but his explosiveness allows him to break through any defense with raw power.
Most of his fitness is attributed to off-season training, as the athlete focuses mainly on structural balance, speed, and strength. Power is always crucial, but so is agility, and Pacioretty spends some time stretching after vigorous training sessions. However, like many others, Max is also taking good care of his body through proper dieting and nutrition.
The success of these athletes is only the tip of the iceberg, laid on the proverbial foundations of hard work and dedication hidden below the water surface. Improving one’s performance in the rink can be directly attributed to physical off-rink training, like weightlifting, cardio, and the hardest of all workouts – healthy dieting.
With a good workout program, good diet, and plenty of discipline and hard work, you too can be among the most fit hockey players of your league. Just don’t forget occasional cheat days, and the importance of rest.