Post Baskin Robbins photo shoot.
Phil Kessel has been described by the Toronto media as: slovenly, unkempt, doughy, and by myself “as if Rob Ford lost a good 25 pounds, didn’t shave for a week, and threw on a pair of CCM Tacks.”
Now this may not seem like a fair assesment but Phil doesn’t help himself with quips like “I skated 10 times maybe all summer”. He makes himself an easy target when he lists “Burritos…and ice-cream” as his favorite foods. Despite the fact that he looks like that 42 year old dude getting his weekly-elliptical-shred fest on at your local gym Phil scores goals; lots of them.
A young Rob Ford or contemporary Phil?
He is undoubtedly one of the fastest skaters in the NHL and has arguably the best snapshot. Still he gets ripped on for on having the cardio of Martha Stewart in her pre prison days. So how is it that someone who gets vilified for his lack of fitness is able to do things like this?
The answer is smelling salts; lots of them.
The best part of waking up is Folger…nah it’s remembering that you’re The Phil.
But actually the fact of the matter is that Phil Kessel has the lower body strength and explosiveness of a Pavel Bure/Horse hybrid on Clenbuterol and he didn’t get that way from doing this.
In order to get any speed or explosiveness benefits from so called ‘speed or agility drills’ you need to have a strong base of strength. Otherwise they are just a really good way to look like a douche the next time you go to the gym. The best way to get faster is to first get stronger and through the use of heavy compound movements (Squats and Deadlifts) you can achieve this base of strength. Not everyone is ready to jump into heavy compound movements so make sure that you have mastered your bodyweight before you get into lifting heavy. You will get stronger and will avoid injury this way.
Ivan and I have written posts on the ins and outs of squats and dead-lifts which should be beneficial if you are interested in getting stronger. However, if you are just starting out focus on getting good at pushups, pull-ups, lunge variations, bodyweight squat variations, and sprinting.
Here are three bodyweight exercises for your lower body and core to get you wheels like Phil, but hopefully not a chin like his.
1. Pistol Squat
Pistol squats are not easy. Work on the earlier progressions first. Try to work your way up to 3 sets of 10 on each leg. This exercise can really open your eyes to imbalances that you may have and will also make you stronger and improve your balance and coordination.
2. Hill Sprints
Listen to Walter Payton. Run some hills. Long distance slow running will not make you faster as a skater or as a runner. Do hill sprints (10 sets of 10 sprints rest as needed) 1-2 times a week.
3. Box Jumps
Work box jumps in at the beggining of your workout and make them challenging. Doing 50 jumps onto the curb is not going to translate into explosive power. Think more along the lines of 6 sets of 3 max reps.
Eat all of the burittos and most of the icecream.