MARGATE CITY, NJ - Before you read this, take a moment to get into a push-up position. Then, lower yourself barely an inch off the ground and explode up into the air. Once you get a couple of feet off the ground (yes, feet) and gravity pulls you back down to the floor, land in that same push-up position and do it all over again, and again, and again, and again. No stopping.
OK, so it's much easier for an NHL athlete, like Dennis Seidenberg, who did a series of them with the same seemingly effortless explosiveness that he deploys on the ice. He had so much fun that he flashed his big smile afterwards.
For the second and final day of BostonBruins.com's #BearTracks visit with Seidenberg in his offseason home in South Jersey on Tuesday, we received a glimpse into his summer workout routine, and how he's preparing with training camp just one month away.
The Bruins defenseman spent roughly two hours moving swiftly through the exercises that emphasized plyometrics, muscle activation and explosive movements, put forth by trainer Ben Brownsberger.
"It was basically a lot of activation, a lot of explosive movements in a position I kind of would be in on the ice," said Seidenberg, whose footwork on the back end helps him continuously gain a positioning advantage over his opponents.
"It was a pretty tough workout, and it was fun."
One of his first exercises involved altitude drops, where he gradually worked his way up to higher box heights, extending a knee up to the sky before dropping down into a squat on the turf below.
"It lengthens the muscles. Every time you land, you have to activate and absorb the force at which you come down, and it’s just something that [my trainer] likes to do, and it’s a lot of fun," said Seidenberg.
It's an exercise that he wouldn't have been able to do nearly eight months ago in December, when he sustained the ACL/MCL tear in his right knee.
But the injury itself isn't what 'Seids' has been focusing on since that day (though it will still be written about); his frustration has mostly turned to motivation, to come back even better than before.
He says the knee is doing well. His three-inch long scar that stretches down his leg is a reminder of how far he has come in his recovery, but also of the challenge of getting game-ready that still lies ahead.
The muscles around the new ligament in his knee take time to re-train, stabilize and build back to full strength. It has taken time, and dedication, to get to a place where he expects that he will be fine for training camp.
The total-body exercise like the one outlined at the outset of this blog - a series of plyometric, or rebound, push-ups - helps the cause.
"You activate and have to come up off the ground explosively. And it's just, it’s hard on the whole body, the core and again, it’s fun doing that stuff," he said.
For the blueliner, every exercise he does is "fun," especially if it's tough.
Seidenberg's workout featured plenty of upper-body work as well, like isolated push-ups and shoulder strengthening exercises, including a particular "favorite" of Strength and Conditioning Coach John 'Whitey' Whitesides.
It involves Seidenberg isolating his shoulders and fast-twitch muscles. He first relaxes them, then quickly activates them by lifting, dropping and catching a weight.
"Whitey would always make fun of me when I’d do it in the weight room and laugh at the weights I’m using," Seidenberg laughed. "But it’s all good. I mean, he loves when I do it and he always gives me crap about it, and it’s all good fun."
"It’s hard, and it feels good on the shoulder. You need strong shoulders. When you get hit quite a bit, you want to make sure you protect it."
At this point, Seidenberg would welcome that hitting. It's been a while since he could get into battles, and deliver his own share of crushing blows.
"It’s going to have been months by the time I get back on the ice and get to play one-on-one against guys," he said. "So it’s something you have fun with, and I like doing on the ice, and it’ll be good once it starts again."
Seidenberg's workouts are shifting towards more skating in the coming weeks, as he makes his way back to Boston, and back around his teammates on the ice for training camp in September.
So, who will be getting the honors of the first pounding hit from Seidenberg?
"I mean, I’m sure there won’t be somebody I can pick, but it’ll be a drill and whoever’s there, is there," he laughed.
And it will be a long time coming.
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