A generation ago, most hockey players showed up to the first day of training camp and skated their way into shape. They used the – strictly – on-ice sessions to get rid any softness around their midsections that developed over the summer.

Not anymore.

Players like London Knights forward Jared Knight come into camp these days with cords of thick muscle that would put the “round is a shape” players of yesteryear to shame.

“First and foremost, there’s 68 games, so the (regular) season is definitely long and you need to have a body that can hold up – withstand the wear and tear that goes on,” Knight said. “It all starts in the summer and you have to really work hard.

“The fitter you are the longer you’re going to live. You feel a lot
better about yourself when you’re eating well and you’re exercising.”

A second-round draft pick of the Boston Bruins in 2010, Knight puts himself through an imposing summer training regimen. At the Bruins’ rookie camp this year, Knight bench-pressed 225 pounds 12 times, and he can power clean 280 pounds for one rep.

“I wake up and I’m usually in the gym by six o’clock. I have a workout and then I usually go home and sleep,” Knight said. “I’ll have an on-ice session or another workout in the gym in the afternoon – one or two workouts a day with an ice session four times a week.”

The volume decreases considerably during the season, so Knight doesn’t suffer unnecessary fatigue or burnout.

“In-season, you’re just trying to maintain – you can’t go in there and squat with 500 pounds on your back because you’re going to get tired and your legs are going to be sore for the next week,” he said.

“I just want to maintain the gains I made over the summer – it’s a long season.”

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