SITTING IN AN office at Endeavor Sports Performance, a hangar-like gym off a sparsely populated road in Pitman, N.J., Johnny Gaudreau searches for the name of an exercise. It's the hardest one he does, so usually he tries to put it out of his mind.
Gaudreau (above) can at least describe it: He puts one leg on a bench behind him, holds dumbbells, then squats with the other leg. "Those suck—hate them so much," says the 24-year-old Flames winger. "But you can tell it helps. Your speed is better on the ice when you do those."
Getting faster is the offseason goal for Gaudreau and four of his hockey-playing workout buddies—Anthony DeAngelo (Rangers), Buddy Robinson (Jets), Ron Greco (Boston College) and Alex Rauter (Cornell)—who have gathered to train on a warm summer morning. The gym, founded in part by former Avalanche defenseman Colby Cohen, has a dedicated list of hockey clients who frequent the site in the offseason.
Over the last 10 years many NHL teams have emphasized skill and speed over size and toughness, a trend that few embody more than the 5'9", 157-pound Gaudreau. "For smaller guys," he says, "if you're not fast, you're in trouble."
To keep pushing the pace, Gaudreau and friends focus on sprints and squats more than lifting heavy weights. The idea, according to trainer David Lasnier, is to get strong but also improve mobility. "For these guys, there's not a lot of movement outside the practice and games," says Lasnier. "We have time to create a foundation and work toward more speed."
The regimen has been successful for Gaudreau, who scored 18 goals last season and has 73 in his three-year career. Unfortunately, the path to his future success will include, yes, Bulgarian split squats, which he can block from his memory but not from his workout.
Presented by edge
Build NHL-level speed with three exercises from trainer David Lasnier
Sprint while pushing a weight sled for 25 yards. Do five reps. Start with no weight and add as you get stronger.
With no weight, do a traditional squat then explode up into a jump. Do one set of five reps. Add dumbbells as you progress.
Run 15-yard dashes, expending maximum effort on each. Do 10 to 12 dashes, making sure to fully recover between each rep.
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