Kris Letang had a breakout season in 2010-11, earning Norris Trophy buzz with the way he played. The summer after that, Letang decided he needed to change his offseason training regimen to make sure he could continue to play at a high level in his expanded role.
He began working with Jonathan Chaimberg, a former wrestler turned respected strength coach and trainer, at the Adrenaline Performance Center – his facility in Montreal.
“In the last two summers, we’ve changed his conditioning based upon the amount of ice that he’s had,” said Penguins assistant coach Todd Reirden, who works with Pittsburgh’s defensemen, back in May. “He’s made the commitment off the ice to get himself to a guy that can play 25-plus minutes without becoming fatigued.”
Letang’s goal in working with Chaimberg was to pair endurance and conditioning with his natural quickness and agility. As Letang told me that first summer, “Before I focused more on being powerful and building strength. To play the way I play, I think it was important to work on my conditioning because I’m a guy who has a good first stride and strong skating. So I want to be able to skate my whole shift. I want to be able to have quick feet, to be able to jump in the play and never get tired after a 30-second shift.”
Last year, Letang led the Penguins in minutes per game for the third straight season while being named a Norris Trophy finalist for the first time in his career. It was another impressive campaign for him, but Letang, who signed an 8-year, $58-million contract extension in July, knows he still has a lot of work to do to become the best defenseman he can be – and he’s putting in the effort for a third straight summer with Chaimberg in Montreal.
Here are three short videos of separate workouts of Letang at the Adrenaline Performance Center, courtesy of the NHL. The league will have a written feature on Letang and a longer video of his workouts coming on Wednesday.
1. Letang climbs the ladder
Description: Watch Letang dominate a Jacob’s Ladder by hitting 128 steps in 30 seconds.
Note: seriously, watch this. My jaw dropped and I just started laughing in disbelief when I saw Letang do this. It’s ridiculously impressive. Never heard of a Jacob’s Ladder?
From a piece on Reuters by Dorene Internicola explaining what the machine is (link here…):
“Jacob’s Ladder, a moving, angled, climbing machine, may be named after the Biblical stairway to heaven, but it packs such a challenging workout people have dubbed it the stairway to hell. Fitness experts say users of the fitness machine, which is a favorite among Army Rangers, Navy Seals, and "The Biggest Loser" television series, reap total body, calorie-busting rewards.”
2. Letang jumps high hurdles
Description: Letang jumps almost elbow high for an exercise drill during his off-season training.
Note: That Letang can jump that high from virtually a complete standstill is a testament to his explosiveness, agility and speed.
3. Letang does leg squats
Description: Watch Letang do individual leg squats with 240 lbs. of weight.
Note: Letang doesn’t look especially bulky, but here you can see how much strength he has. Seriously, look at the size of those plates.