RALEIGH — Proving they're adaptable to change, and immune to any playful razzing from teammates, Carolina Hurricanes goaltenders Cam Ward and Justin Peters have added interesting twists to their off-ice exercise routines.
Ward has turned to Pilates.
Peters is into yoga.
Hot yoga, that is. Very, very hot yoga.
Goaltenders can be a little different and at times very stubborn about all their routines. But Ward and Peters, who both come off as sensible - read "normal" - types, insist they have found benefits in adding something new to previous all-too-predictable offseason workouts.
"I think it's always good to try new things and have an open mindset and a good attitude about it, because it is easy to get stuck into an old routine," Ward said this week. "If you've been doing something for so long, your body gets used to it. You've always got to change it up and work every muscle."
In Ward's case, he wants to keep his back limber and loose. Some back issues have flared up the past few years, and severe lower-back pain knocked Ward out of the Hurricanes' lineup for 18 games late last season.
Ward, 26, avoided surgery and says the back feels fine. He will maintain an exercise plan that he said now includes about an hour of Pilates twice a week at the Athletic Performance Center in North Raleigh.
"It's something that stabilizes my core," he said. "I was introduced to it last year and found it to be a very hard workout. I started to pick it up more and more this summer so I can hopefully get myself in the best shape possible."
A typical Pilates workout focuses on the "powerhouse" muscles near the center of the body, including those in the lower back, with the goal of transferring energy from the "powerhouse" outward to other parts of the body. It combines proper alignment of the body and well-defined breathing techniques for an optimal workout, and is said to help those recovering from injuries.
But for rough-and-tumble hockey players? There is one Pilates exercise called the "Ballerina Arms."
"It's one of those things that may look like it's not the hardest thing to do but it definitely is a hard workout," Ward said. "It also helps on your stretching.
"Obviously I've got to be a lot more limber and flexible than these other guys. So far it's been a big help for me."
Peters, 24, said he was a little hesitant about taking up yoga a couple of years ago when it was mentioned to him by a trainer in his hometown of Blyth, Ontario.
"At first I was like, 'Whoa, that's a little weird,' " he said, smiling. "But it grows on you. For me, I'm always open to trying new things to help myself."
Hot yoga, or Bikram Yoga, is practiced in a heated environment, which is said to be conducive to better stretching while also reducing stress.
"About 43 degrees Celsius," Peters said.
That's about 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
"It's pretty warm in there, so you get a sweat going and when your muscles are nice and loose like that you can really stretch out and feel fresh when you leave," Peters said. "It really helps with your flexibility and realigning your body in the summer when your body is aching and sore.
"The stretching and strong poses strengthens your legs and strengthens your core and at the same time loosens your muscles up."
Peters, who should back up Ward this year for the Canes, said he will end the hot yoga sessions in training camp and during the season. With all the practices and the games, he said, there could be a problem with dehydration.
But he may not give up yoga altogether. He still may strike a few strong poses.
As for Ward, he said he once tried hot yoga in Canada but prefers Pilates.
"I figure if I want hot yoga I can just go out in my backyard and roll around," he said, laughing.
firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-829-8945