MEN’S FITNESS: So Jagr is getting pretty famous for his unorthodox drills…
TOMMY POWERS: A lot of the stuff we do is definitely a little out there.
He shoots a six-pound med ball against a wall. He wears a 45-pound vest and ankle weights, and he’ll just wear them all day until he gets on the ice. Then sometimes when he’s on the ice he’ll skate with the weights on. There was one practice where one of our star defensemen lifted up Jagr’s stick and took his puck away, and after that Jagr came in and said, “I’ll never get a puck taken away from me again!”
We also found a way to strap a stick to a cable on a Keiser Functional Trainer, and he applies pressure downward on the stick to activate his core.
MEN’S FITNESS: And any traditional weight training?
POWERS: Not really. He’ll do some dumbbell shoulder raises, but he’s not doing bench presses or hang cleans or power cleans or deadlifts or any of that stuff. When he sees other players doing those, he’ll be like, “You shouldn’t be doing that, you should be doing this!” It’s pretty funny to see. Some guys will start going over to the stuff that he’s doing.
I do think something like hang cleans could benefit Jagr with the power aspect, but he’s 44, and he’s probably never really trained that way in his career. I’m not going to come in and say, “Hey, you should be doing this,” and totally change up his routine.
MEN’S FITNESS: What did you expect training him would be like?
POWERS: When Jagr got traded to us he was 43, and everybody told me he was the kind of guy who has his own key to the rink, who wants to skate at late hours—all these nightmare stories for a strength and conditioning coach.
But it really wasn’t that bad. He’ll call me up and we’ll skate at 10:30 at night, and then we’ll work out in the gym until 12, 12:30 doing sprints and pushes and all that stuff. He just wants to train when his body feels ready, not be told when to do it.
MEN’S FITNESS: What does he focus on in his training?
POWERS: Right now it’s being strong and stable and able to protect the puck. He’s evolved into a guy who’s going to create pressure in the offensive zone and use his body and have short bursts of speed.
Sprints are his go-to. I’ll resist him with a rope, and he’ll go 10, 15, maybe 20 meters max. That gets his legs going and gets his glutes firing. He’ll do those for 10 minutes after every game, and he’ll grab me on the road and we’ll do it in the hallways of the hotel. We try to maintain as much of that lower-body power and speed as we can that way.
MEN’S FITNESS: Can other athletes learn from him?
POWERS: I think anybody can learn from him. He doesn’t like taking any days off. If he takes a day off, he feels terrible. And he finds ways to make himself stronger with his mindset and his mental preparation, too.
He’s also very into the spiritual aspect of things. He’s really into activating chakras and all that stuff.
MEN’S FITNESS: Activating chakras?
POWERS: Yeah, he’s been doing it for years. There are seven chakras; he’s able to open them up to help him feel strong and create energy through his body.
Before games, he listens to chakra opening music on YouTube, and he kind of meditates. Then he’ll say to me, “How are my chakras?” I’ll push him and he won’t budge at all, and I’ll say, “Yeah, they’re really good. They’re open.”