Best Health’s Melissa Greer recently sat down with Toronto Maple Leafs Left Wing and Nike Canada athlete Joffrey Lupul to chat about his off-season training and this season’s expectations under new coach, Mike Babcock.
You’ve put on a lot more muscle leading into this season. Why was that important?
Joffrey Lupul: I don’t think it was necessarily intentional. The training I was doing was a different program and it just kind of happened. I just ended up putting on a bit more muscle than I typically do in the summer.
What types of exercises were you focusing on to prep for this season?
JL: I cut out long cardio sessions like running and did more explosive sprinting and sled pulling. The goal was to focus on explosive power.
You’ve overcome several injuries in the last couple of years. What’s the recovery like for you?
JL: We’ve got really good doctors and training staff so we’re in pretty good hands as far as that goes. More than anything when it comes to injuries, is that some of it is preventable but a lot of it is just luck. The game is fast and there are skates and sticks and pucks flying around so you also have to be fortunate.
Why is a strong core important for injury prevention? And how does it help you on the ice?
JL: For me in particular, because I’ve back surgery twice, a strong core is really important. It can take a lot of tension off your hips and back. I’ve got a core routine that I do every day, so that’s where it all starts for hockey, and probably for any sport. If your core isn’t strong, other areas are going to compensate and you’re going to end up with some injures.
You’ve been doing cryotherapy post-workout. How does that help? (Editor’s Note: Cryotherapy involves standing in a chamber that, thanks to liquid nitrogen, is kept at an extremely cold temperature of minus 110 degree Celsius to minus 140 degrees Celsius.)
JL: Truly I was just so sore this one day in the summer that my trainer sent me [to cryotherapy] and I enjoyed it. Now we have the [cryotherapy] chambers at the arena. I like it a lot for recovery, and for the fact that after a long workout, (three-hours in my case), your body temperature can be so high that I’ll go out for dinner after the game and I’m still sweating. It brings your body temperature way down, which is a nice benefit, but it’s also good for muscle soreness.
We’ve always had cold tubs or ice baths but this is just a new version. Sort of like an expensive ice bath. I think it’s about minus 200 degrees Fahrenheit so you have to put gloves and shoes on to go in.
How important is your warm up?
JL: Now that I’m older I warm up before a workout or game a lot more. When I was 20, I would just get on the ice and start playing. Now I have a routine that I stick to before practices and games. Before a game my off-ice warm up is about 20 to 30 minutes. This year, myself and a few of the guys have been lifting a bit before the game for a quick jump start and to get some of that fast-twitch muscle going.
We’re just excited to get started this season. I worked hard in the off-season so I’m looking forward to our performance this year.