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Commitment to training has helped Recchi's longevity

Tuesday, 11.09.2010 / 9:00 AM / Zigtech Ultimate Training powered by Reebok

By Shawn P. Roarke - NHL.com Senior Managing Editor

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Commitment to training has helped Recchi's longevity
You don't get to play in the NHL at age 42 without a serious commitment to training, which describes Bruins forward Mark Recchi perfectly.
Mark Recchi impresses even fitness professionals.

Jeremy Frisch, a strength and conditioning coach for 10 years who recently left the College of the Holy Cross, helped put Recchi through a workout and was blown away by the abilities of the 42-year-old Boston Bruins forward.

"He's amazing," Frisch told NHL.com. "And he's a good guy, too.

"Guys should take notice that you can be in that type of shape at that age. You can absolutely get in good shape if you train and focus."

Recchi never has been shy about training or committing himself to those things he needs to make himself better and keep himself competitive against players sometimes more than half his age.

Much of that hard work -- especially in the past few years -- has revolved around lower-body training, and Recchi always is looking for new ideas.

Enter Frisch, who hooked up with Recchi in the late summer to offer some advice.

Frisch didn't want to mess with Recchi's base program, as it clearly is paying dividends.

So the sprint work Recchi believes to be so crucial to his success was not really up for discussion -- not that Frisch would have changed anything in that department anyway.

"If you are an athlete and you are not doing sprint work, you are missing the boat," Frisch said. "It is one of the most perfect exercises to get the body working properly. There is no exercise in the world that turns on more muscles in the body than sprinting."

Frisch believes in short sprints -- quick, explosive bursts for as short as 30 yards -- with long intervals of rest. That way, the athlete does not get tired and progress -- in the form of training the nervous system for the quick bursts demanded by the body -- is allowed to happen without interference.

"Recchi has definitely jumped on that train and is taking it as far as he can," Frisch said. "It's a lot of what has brought him to this point in his career."

Frisch, though, did introduce a few new exercises into Recchi's lower-body regimen.

One of them is a speed lunge, which Frisch says is a great exercise "because it challenges the entire infrastructure of the lower body and gets the athlete's limbs -- especially the legs -- performing at a full range of motion at high speeds."

He also suggested an iso-dynamic squat jump, which requires the athlete to squeeze and contract the major muscle groups before jumping and landing in the starting position, ready to repeat the exercise immediately. Frisch says this exercise not only helps with leg-muscle development, but also activates several other motor muscle units in the body.

Finally, Frisch introduced a box-over exercise, in which the athlete jumps from foot to foot, using a small box as the resting place for his inside foot in the exercise movement. It is startlingly similar to the skating motion used in hockey, even though it is not a hockey-specific exercise, according to Frisch.

"It teaches the athlete how to start and stop -- most importantly stop," says Frisch.
"Watching him train like that, a lot of young athletes should take note because that is how you should train." -- Jeremy Frisch on Mark Recchi
While Frisch was happy to lend some of his hard-earned expertise about developing the lower-body of an elite athlete to Recchi, he walked away from their first meeting with a sense that Recchi didn't need all that much help.

"Watching him train like that, a lot of young athletes should take note because that is how you should train," Frisch said. "You should train in short bursts, high intensity and then rest and then do it over and over and over again. He does that. And I think that is probably one of the reasons he has been in the League for so long."

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