I had the opportunity to interview Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lighting last Friday. He was in Tampa showing off the new app SimpliFlow, which is designed to help athletes, and the athletically inclined, push themselves to new heights. I should preface this article by mentioning that this happened before the lockout was official, but it was eminent.
Not one to let a new workout app go by without trying it, I was determined to give it a go. It's hard to find one that really grabs my interest and keeps me going back. It takes a few moments to set up and register. Once you are registered you are asked to take 8 tests. They will make you jump and run. Based on your results, you will be assigned a number 1 -5 . Do not feel embarrassed about your numbers, the app is designed to help you improve them! Once done, you can get a training plan that has been fully customized to help you improve. You can chose to have your schedule from 8 to 20 weeks. I chose the 20 weeks. There are three sessions per week. Each designed to help you increase your stability, core strength, speed and hypertrophy.
The testing isn't difficult, I did mine outside. I didn't have cones around the house, so I just used a couple pairs of shoes. I didn't have chalk to write on the wall when I jumped, so I used a dry erase marker. I did have a measuring tape (woot woot) and , of course, my trusty iPod to show me what I needed to do. With my sights set on starting, and finishing, the test I went outside. I place three shoes 6' apart and measured my standing reach. By the time I finished doing this, a couple of the neighborhood kids came to see what I was doing. So we gathered around my iPod, watch the videos describing what is expected of each test and the kids had a bit of a competition going as to who could do what the best. As they were doing that I took notations down and wrote my stats into the app. Man, it's something else to see how fast these kids can run, although I grimaced a few times when they came a little too close to the shoes! What I found out using this app is that this white girl can't jump. At all. But that's okay. While I got low scores on that, I got really great scores on my lateral movements, go figure! Now I that know my strengths and weakness, it was time to get a program.
With a touch of a finger, and about five seconds wait time, I got a fully customized training program. Over the course of twenty weeks, I'll be focusing on improving a different stat each week. The first two weeks - at least my first two weeks - cover "Anatomical Adaptation". After a session, I have to admit, I felt a lot better. As an idea, my first session had 29 exercises! Some of these were stretches, extensions, squats, heel walking, jumps, bridges. Most of the items on the list can be done with little to no "extra" tools or supplies. I had the items , or substitution - à la shoes - for all the items lying around the house. For those who are looking for an app that has a been more depth to it, especially those athletically inclined: this is a fantastic app. Those who want a workout that will continually push them to improve will love SimpliFlow. A feature that I haven't mentioned yet is the ability to add friends. This comes in handy because you can publish your stats and compete with your friends. For some people, like me, this added little bit of competition It pushes me to push myself a little harder.
Vic started the event early, since the kids were running late, he decided to join them on the ice and lead them in some warmup activities. You know that seeing NHL'ers spend time with kids warms my little Ice Queen heart into a gooey mess, so hearing that Vic was interested in this I had to ask him about it.
SG: How was the warmup?
VH: It was good, it was good. It's hot outside. But it was good, and now we're ready for the workout.
SG: Perfect. How do you like working with youth hockey?
VH: It's unbelievable. I mean, I remember growing up, that was my dream. When some guys came down. It's not much. You just have to be there. It's a simple thing. They're trying to prove themselves, and hopefully they show their best. They want to improve as hockey players. They're going to do a good job here. Good structure, so it's going to be a lot of fun for these guys.
SG: As a kid did you have the chance to meet and skate with an NHL player, or a Swedish Elite Player?
VH: Yeah, absolutely! Got to skate with those guys. Got to try and prove yourself. Then It was a lot of fun.
SG: How did you become involved with SimpliFlow?
VH: Me, Gabe and a few of the other guys... talked about our performance and came up with this app. It's all about the performance. It's a great application. That's how I became involved. It's the same that I've been doing in the summer.
SG: Do you use the app? I know you use the training techniques,
VH: Yeah I train with that, these are the exercises I've been doing for a long time. So after awhile I to know the ins and the outs of the workout so I can put it in my pocket and do the workout.
SG: Did your training start changing once you started using the app?
VH: No, not really. I mean, that's the type of training I've been doing.
SG: What is your favorite feature of the app?
VH: Competing against each other, they can compete against themselves. They can play against each other. It's hard to pick one thing, but if I had to I'd pick it's how they compete against each other.
SG: It kinda helps push them.
VH: Exactly. Pushes yourself to the limit, push yourself to the max. Become a better athlete, then you'll become a better hockey player too.
SG: We're talking youth hockey, and they are going to try to get where you are at. So what have been some of the defining moments for you?
VH: Well I think it was when I was the age of the guys here, high school, I started to get called in the National teams and I played against guys that were older, and I thought I could play well at that level. That was a defining moment for me. It kinda took off from there. I mean, it's not a walk in the park. You have to work hard. You have to work your back off at night, in the summer, to stay healthy and stay focused on your task your goals. To win a Stanley Cup in Tampa. That's a goal for everyone, and a big goal for me.
SG: In 2008 and 2009 your represented Sweden in the World Junior Championships, you got Silvers.
SG: What did you take away from the experiences?
VH: Oh, it was awesome playing against Canada. In their home. It was a good atmosphere for us. We lost, I think 4-1 or 5-1. But, it was just a great experience for us. We really wanted to win, but Canada wanted to win. We competed against each other trying to do whatever it took to win.
SG: What have been doing this offseason - which appears as though it's going to get longer - to stay in shape and be ready for the season - whenever that may be?
VH: I'm just gonna work hard. Some guys are going overseas, but for now I'm going to lay low. Stay healthy, and stay focused to be ready for the season whenever it starts.
SG: I know a lot of teams, or rather the players, have started to "unofficially" train together. Has Tampa started that? Is that something that the Lightning players are going to do?
VH: No, not really. I mean, we want to stay in shape, obviously. Whatever you need to do to stay in shape your going to do it. If you are not in shape there is an issue.
SG: What are your hopes for the upcoming season?
VH: Just to play hockey. Go deep, I'm really excited about our team, how we re-built with adding a couple key pieces to the team. I'm excited to play with those guys. Looking forward to a great season.
SG: In general, it seems that the popular belief that for the most part fans are behind the players, but at the same time they really want a hockey season. What do you want to say to the fans?
VH: Yeah, we want to play, obviously. And we aren't doing this to mess with our fans, we feel so bad for them that they don't get a season, that they don't get something to root for. But, this is how things work... we have to figure things out before things are fixed. I'd just want to ask our fans to be patient, and that when we come back we'll give them a good show. We'll give them everything back that they are going to miss. Just be patient. Things are going to work out. Sooner or later we're going to start playing again.