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Fitness testing in the books

by Torie Peterson / Calgary Flames

CALGARY, AB -- On Monday morning, Calgary Flames prospects headed into the Human Performance Lab at the University of Calgary to undergo fitness testing.

The eight-step process breaks down as follows: body composition testing, a 12-minute submax V02 test, a flexibility test called the Sit & Reach, a 10-second bike sprint known as the Wingate, strength testing on their upper and lower body, an explosive strength test and the two and half minute max bike ride.

The two and half minute bike ride - which every prospect was dreading - was the last exercise to complete. It tests critical aerobic power and, quite simply, is absolutely grueling to watch, let alone do. Players go all out over the span of two and half minutes, trying to maintain a high level of power.

Ryan Culkin is attending his first development camp and his recovery time after the bike test was a bit longer than those who have been through it before.

"I expected it to be tough but it was a lot tougher than I thought," Culkin said afterwards. "I think did pretty well but it was definitely the hardest test of the day.

"I'll be feeling it for awhile."

Development camp veteran Chris Breen looked like he fared a bit better than Culkin as he hopped off the bike with a smile but appearances are deceiving. He conceded that even after going through the test a few times, it hasn't gotten any easier.

"Oh, I'm not feeling so great right now," he chuckled. "That bike test, it's pretty deadly. My legs are little stiff right now so I'm going to need walk it off. It doesn't feel like it's gotten any better over the years."

Abbotsford Heat strength and conditioning coach Mike Thompson was in attendance on Monday morning and is really impressed with how the Flames conduct their fitness testing.

"It's awesome. It's so advanced, so technically sound," he said. "It's just amazing. I'm really impressed with the facility here at the University. It's top-notch."

There is great value in having Thompson attend the fitness testing as he is able to see first-hand how each player does and see if there is anything that needs to be immediately rectified. He also will be using the results to help tailor individual training programs for Heat players in the fall.

"It's huge. I can tell where their weaknesses are and where their strengths are, see what they need to work on ... It's a great tool and is very beneficial."

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