Summer’s over and you may not have had the hockey training off season of champions. There may have been travelling, a full-time job, laying on the beach, etc. keeping you from participating in a consistent off ice conditioning program. Maybe procrastination set in and you just never seemed to get started for no good reason. However now the try outs are in full swing or the teams have already been picked. If you were fortunate enough to make the cut, now what do you do? Should you go no holds barred right into an in season hockey training program? Are you hoping to catch up to some of your team mates that may have worked out consistently over the summer?
On the other hand, you may have worked extremely hard all summer long, watched what you ate, missed that major party that ended up being epic, and got up at the crack of dawn to get your work out in before your morning shift at Rona.
Job well done, you’ve reaped the unbelievable benefits that an off season conditioning program has to offer, and you nailed it.
You were able to transform yourself into a lean mean hockey machine.
Now summer’s over and hockey season’s about to start. What? You think your training is done, now you can say good bye to the gym until next summer?
Don’t let all those hard earned gains go to waste by not continuing with an in season off ice hockey training program. If you do, before Halloween hits you will have began losing strength and conditioning. By mid season you might actually be back to where you started last spring. Let’s get you gains that last right through playoffs!
Don’t let this be you.
In either case, you definitely want to begin an in season program after training camp is over and you’re on a regular hockey schedule for the year.
In Season Hockey Training
Let’s discuss a few points that will help you and hopefully improve your conditioning without running the risk of injuring yourself from over training. This can all be accomplished with the right in season hockey training program.
First off, you need to start with the basics. When you head in to the the gym for your twice per week workouts concentrate on learning correct movement patterns such as a proper squat, hip hinge, and neutral spine. Get in the habit of foam rolling, static stretching, and warming up with dynamic movement before you hit the weights.
Dialling in your nutrition can go a long way in giving you a good base for recovery. Consume real food and stay away from processed packaged goods that have no nutritional value.
Make sure you are getting minimum 8-10 hours of sleep at night. This is when the body rebuilds itself.
Lastly take in 8 glasses of water throughout the day to help replenish your system after practices and games and aid in flushing out waste products created by intense activity.
The 3 Main Goals of an In Season Hockey Training Program
Lets start by looking at the actual goals of in season off ice hockey training. There are misconceptions by many coaches that believe there is no need for in season training because the players are getting enough work on the ice.
Yes, players are getting worked on the ice however, not all areas of conditioning are being utilized.
- Maintain/improve the physical qualities developed in the off season eg. speed, strength, and power.
- Reduce the risk of postural/overuse injuries.
- Aid in the recovery process.
The idea that all the physical qualities a hockey player needs to excel are being met with on ice practices leads us into the first tip.
5 Tips to Stay Strong All Season Long
- You work on your energy systems, shooting, passing, agility, etc. however, what the usual hockey practice is missing is strength and explosive power. Continually working on strength and power in season is what will help you maintain your on ice speed though out the season.
- To keep you healthy and on the ice all season and avoid over use injuries, you must think of performing movements that are the opposite of what takes place on the ice. Work on hip mobility and soft tissue quality (adductors, glutes, hip flexors). These areas take a lot of abuse during a season.
- Go easy on the energy system training off the ice. Most coaches will include plenty of on ice conditioning. Doubling up is a sure fire way to over train and get yourself injured.
- Make sure you are performing low volume (not too many exercises, sets, and reps) high intensity training. An example might be 2 workouts a week 45 to 60 minutes in length. Consisting of foam rolling, dynamic warm up, resistance training (power, strength) 2-3 sets of 4-6 reps (high intensity), ending with some static stretching (think anti-hockey movements). Get in, get out creating minimal fatigue.
- Lastly, emphasize recovery. It’s a long season with games, practices, tournaments, school, workouts etc. To be able to perform at your best you must be getting adequate rest. If you have an important game of Friday night maybe Thursday’s workout should be less aggressive. Concentrating more on stretching and soft tissue work rather then strength and power will assure you have enough in the tank. If you just finished a 5 game weekend tournament and are due to workout the next day this maybe the perfect time to skip the training. Instead just get some sleep, real food, and plenty of water and recuperate. You get the picture, you just need to use common sense and read your body.
Managing your stress levels is a key consideration when dealing with in season hockey training. Whether it be physical, emotional, or psychological. If you are not getting the proper recovery these stresses can take over and wreak havoc on your performance. Final exams, boy/girlfriend issues, lack of sleep etc. can have a bigger impact then you may think.
Performing some form of in season hockey training is better then nothing. Starting out by working on a foundation should be your first step.
So there you have it, a few insights on the importance of an in season off ice hockey training program. This will hopefully translate into a successful injury free season and lead you into playoffs fully charged and championship hungry.
In Season Hockey Training Program PDF
I’ve also thought you might make use of a sample in season program, so I’ve attached a pdf file of a great workout you can get started on right away. Another great option is Hockey Strong’s Workout Monthly which consists on two workouts sent directly to your inbox each month! Can’t get much easier than that.