I had a coach come to the gym the other day. He was inquiring about some off ice hockey training for his players for this upcoming season. The first thing he mentioned is that he was interested in upper body workouts for hockey players. He felt his team will be getting plenty of lower body strengthening on the ice.
I told the coach that upper body strength is definitely something we can work on and improve. However, later that day I sat down at my desk and thought about the coaches inquiry.
Hockey Upper Body Workout
When you’re setting up a workout program for the upper body, you want to consider both pushing and pulling movements. What you don’t want to do is split the upper body up into muscle groups like a bodybuilder. Think more functional and try not to isolate muscles.
An example of pushing muscles of your upper body would be your chest, triceps, and front shoulder muscles. Pulling muscles of your upper body would be upper back, biceps, and the back shoulder muscles.
One of the most popular upper body movements would definitely be a push up. Push ups work all your pushing muscles mentioned above as well as bonus points for working your core.
A great upper body pulling movement would be a rowing exercise, which there are a ton to choose from.
If you are having trouble deciding on which upper body exercises to perform or are struggling with how to go about organizing them is a workout format, I’ve got you covered. I’ve made up an upper body program that will work on both your pulling and pushing muscles of your upper body. It also takes into consideration power and mobility as well. You can check that out here.
Continue reading if you want to know how upper body training should be worked into a hockey training program to get the best results and improvements in your hockey performance.
Hockey Players Should Focus on Upper and Lower Body Exercises
The coach I was talking about at the beginning of this article was right in thinking that his players would benefit from some upper body strengthening. However, you most definitely should not omit the lower body from a training program. A lot of hockey players in general lack upper body strength. This weakness is not just in arm strength, it comes in the form of a weaker core and pulling /pushing muscles of the upper body as well. By increasing the upper body stability from the inside out – core – upper back – chest – shoulders – arms you will see a huge difference in battling for the puck along the boards.
What About Leg Workouts For Hockey Players?
Now as far as which is more important in a well rounded hockey training program, I would have to lean towards lower body strength development. Hockey is performed on skates, and I believe speed wins games. The stronger and more powerful your legs are the faster you will be on the ice. It’s that simple. Your on ice practice does not actually develop any lower body strength or explosive power. Those qualities must be developed off the ice.
In reality even though I said lower body strengthening is more important than upper body, I feel both areas should be taken care of as well as core training. So don’t play favourites when it comes to your off ice training. Give ample time to your body as a whole and reap the benefits on the ice.
If an overall bodyweight training program for hockey is what’s you’re after, check out Hockey Strong’s Workout Monthly, two workouts sent directly to your inbox every month!
Photo Credit: Flickr – DiddyOh