Excitement surrounds the 2010-11 NHL season, particularly the talented rookie class. The two headliners are Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin, drafted first by the Edmonton Oilers and second by the Boston Bruins, respectively. Billed as potential superstars, they are already doing their best to live up to the hype, with impressive performances early in the season. Other rookies have shown the true depth of the class, posting highlight reel goals and even a hat trick (by Derek Stepan of the New York Rangers).
Tyler Seguin receives a football-like pass and goes in for his first NHL goal:
Jordan Eberle tries his best to mimic Alexander Ovechkin in posting his first career goal:
After watching these videos, you may ask yourself how these young rookies (some 18 years old) can so swiftly make their mark on a league full of ultra-talented players?
Obviously, they are all incredibly gifted, but they are also fully dedicated to off-season training—and it shows. From May to July, Seguin actually put on seven pounds of muscle, which helps him battle in the corners with enormous NHL defensemen. Yet in spite of the added weight, he didn't lose the explosive speed that is so important to his game.
Adding weight while maintaining or improving speed comes down to a balance of training and nutrition. Your legs are your engine and must be continually developed in a manner similar to how they are used in your sport. For hockey, it's important to develop your stride power by performing lower body resistance exercises, such as the Power Clean, Front Squat, and plyometric exercises, such as Russian Plyos and Box Toe Touches. This combination of exercises builds your muscles' overall strength and explosive power for speed by developing critical fast-twitch muscle fibers.
With all of this work in the weight room, you must also give your muscles the fuel they need to recover and mature. For adding the lean body mass needed to compete at a high level, follow these guides on gaining weight to improve athletic performance.
Keep an eye out for Hall, Seguin and other rookies to make their marks on the NHL.
Photo: Getty Images
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock