As a strength coach that has trained many athletes and hockey players, including working with over 150+ hockey players in an Under Armour “Combine 360? in Burlington, Ontario it AMAZES ME how much room most hockey players have for physical improvement that will directly impact their on-ice performance.
Long gone are the days that hockey players can just show up to training camps, tryouts, or games after a summer of relaxing and playing a bit of summer hockey.
The best hockey players in the world will take a few weeks off to give their bodies a bit of a rest, and then it is right into the weight room or track 5-6 days per week to train their bodies to be able to perform at top levels.
For example, Steven Stamkos (arguably a top 5 forward in the world) was eliminated from the NHL playoffs on April 22nd and he is starting his 5 day per week training schedule in May. That will be bumped up to 6 days per week of training in July.
I realize you probably aren’t training to play in the NHL, but whether it be Junior Hockey, AAA, College Hockey or even just the Men’s Leagues, we all have the same goal – to be a better hockey player.
While training during the hockey season is beneficial, the off-season is the best time to focus 100% on your training off the ice in order to improve your performance on the ice.
If you don’t have an off-season hockey specific training program created by a professional to follow you will be miles behind your compe ion when the season comes along.
And while getting into the gym and working out helps, you need to ensure you are training like a hockey player – not a bodybuilder, not a soccer player – specifically like a hockey player.
I’ve seen the mistake of some hockey players who will buy a Men’s Fitness magazine and follow the beach body workouts in the back of the magazine, or the hockey players who print of the free workouts online that are designed to give you some muscles, but NOT make you a better hockey player.
Do yourself a favor and train like a hockey player if your goal is to become a quicker, faster, and all around better hockey player!
When constructing an off-season training prescription it’s important to incorporate five phases within the workout in the correct order. Whether it is a pro athlete being taken through an off-season training system or an up and comer, this is the optimal regime for a well rounded in-season training system.
1. Priming the body and mind for the training session. 2. Positive interaction with training partner’s and team mates during partner isted balance exercises. 3. Training balance in a non-fatigued state. 4. Balance training has been shown in research to increase the neuro-muscular connection between the brain and the skeletal muscles, or what many people know as the “Mind-Muscle Connection”. Doing balance training before a workout to enhance neuro-muscular efficiency will lead to greater performance in the sport specific and weight training movements. 5. Greater mind-muscle connection results in more overall co-ordination and control of all movements. Leading to greater adaptations from exercise but also less risk of injury.
1. Train movement and flexibility. 2. Psyche the athlete up for the training session. 3. Increase body temperature leading to an overall increase in performance and decrease risk of injury. 4. Allow synovial fluid to lubricate the joints. 5. Do a much better job overall as a warm up protocol then your standard jog.
Sport specific movements are trained prior to the main compound weight lifting movements to enhance overall performance at a faster rate. We are training to become better athletes on and off the ice, not training to look like bodybuilders. That’s not to say strength / size doesn’t play a role in hockey, because it does. But when it comes to prioritizing your training schedule, sport specific movements come first. This is why:
1. Sport specific movements make you a better athlete, period. 2. Positively benefit speed, agility, quickness, high velocity direction change and deceleration. 3. They have the most “Carry Over” effect from the gym floor to the ice. 4. It makes much more sense to train sport specific movements before heavy weight lifting movements because sport specific movements will not tire you out before weight training, but weight training will tire you out before sport specific movements. 5. Weight training based training sessions are better utilized in the off-season to add m and strength when it is your main priority. In-season your main priority should be performance and staying…