The New Jersey Devils defenseman spends his summers on ice and in the weight room
As a professional athlete, there’s little rest at the end of a grueling season — but NHL player P.K. Subban is too energized to need it anyway.
The All-Star defenseman was traded from the Nashville Predators to the New Jersey Devils a few weeks after the season ended, and the average person wouldn’t believe Subban’s on a summer break based on his daily workouts. Between the hours spent weightlifting, running sprint drills, working on mobility and, of course, skating, Subban, 30, could easily start the season now.
But on a hot day in July — a few hours before he was officially anointed as the newest member of the Devils at the team’s welcome celebration — Subban is happy to get a change from his usual in-season workouts. The day before he had gone through an intense weightlifting session with his trainer Alex Bunt, something he doesn’t have as much time for during the regular season.
“In the off-season when I’m not skating as much, I’m able to do a lot more in the gym,” Subban tells PEOPLE. “I lift during the season, but definitely prioritize it more in the summer. If you’re in really good shape going into the season you can maintain a lot of strength while on the ice. This way, I’m able to hone in and focus on building speed and agility.”
The Toronto native says he focuses on building his leg muscles with plenty of squats, snatches and deadlifts to keep up with an NHL that’s trending toward speed — “the game has gotten that much faster,” he says.
But Subban also spends plenty of time on the ice. During his day off from weightlifting, he stretched with Bunt before heading over to the Devils’ practice rink for a three-hour session with his skating coach Kam Brothers.
“I’ve worked with Kam for 25 years — since I was 5 years old — and we’ve developed a sort of symbiotic relationship,” Subban says. “He’s able to recognize things I can improve on and together we are able to come up with a plan of action to not only get better but do so in the most strategic and undamaging way.”
And Subban’s girlfriend, the World Cup champion skier Lindsey Vonn, gears up and jumps on the ice to help out. As their dog Lucy watches nearby, Vonn gets in a squat stance and holds on to an elastic band that attaches to a belt around Subban’s waist. He then skates out as hard as he can for resistance work.
“This drill complements the work I put in while in the weight room, while also building ankle strength, stability, balance, speed, and the knee bend — because your knee bend is very important in hockey for everything,” he says.
Along with the hours spent on ice and in the weight room, Subban is training his body in the kitchen — he’s spent the last few weeks going carb-free, and is admittedly hungry.
“I’ve been limiting my carb intake to enhance my results from the weight and muscle work,” he says. “It doesn’t make for the most fun while on vacation in the off-season, but it does help amplify my workouts as I look to build muscle and strength and maximize the results.”
But even a desire for carbs can’t slow Subban down. He’s pumped to get stronger each day and make an impact with the Devils.
“My main goal is to start the season off right and contribute as much as I can to this team,” he says. “New Jersey has already been so welcoming to me and I’m just excited to get started.”