Here is a Guest post from Kevin at Officehockeytraining.com
Training for hockey is a lot different than training for building muscle. A lot of young hockey players who are looking to start working out and training with weights for hockey make the mistake of grabbing a copy of the latest men’s fitness magazine or do a search online for workout programs and start with their workouts.
If you want to get better at hockey you will need to focus on training specifically for hockey, and not worry about how bodybuilders train. Although size is somewhat important for hockey players, it is more important that you work on your strength, speed, quickness and agility.
Only about 50% of a hockey players workout should consist of lifting weights. A lot of the time your hockey training will be field work outside of the gym to work on your speed, quickness and agility, which will directly result in improved skill on the ice.
With that said, your time in the gym lifting weights will also be a lot different than your typical dude at the gym who is lifting to get big and look good for the beach (You will be able to look good from your hockey specific workouts, but the focus is on getting better on the ice).
When lifting weights you want to focus on functional strength. Take your focus away from single body part movements like the bicep curl or tricep extension and bring your focus on big compound lifts such as squats, deadlifts, and pull-ups for upper body strength. You will also want to be performing single leg exercises to imitate the skating stride (lunges are a good example).
A main focus for hockey players should be core work. Core can be hit directly with exercises like bosu ball rotations and planks, but are also worked from exercises such as squats, deadlifts, and single leg lunges. Try swapping out your normal barbell bench press for exercises such as dumbbell presses on a stability ball to get some extra core work in.
Lower body (and core) strength is a lot more important than upper body strength for hockey players. Alternating lower and upper body workouts is a good way to split up your hockey workout program. Never get yourself into a bodybuilding type split program where you are working out your upper body two, three or even four times as much as your lower body!
OK I’ve covered most of the important details for the weight lifting side of things for your hockey specific workouts. Lets get into field training…
A common misconception for hockey players is to train like a long distance runner. A lot of hockey teams will test the 2 mile run, which doesn’t directly relate to a hockey player. Hockey is a fast paced game with shifts on average of 45 seconds. It is more a sprint than a jog and you will want to train like that. If your team is testing your 2 mile run time you should get a little bit of training in for that, but focus on what will make you better in a game situation.
Performing sprint intervals is great for hockey players. Try doing 30 second sprints followed by about 2 minutes of resting, and repeat that. Work your way up to 20 minutes or 30 minutes.
To work on agility hockey players should be performing some change of direction sprinting drills. Buy some cones (or just use things like water bottles) and perform sprinting drills that require a change in direction. My favorite agility drills for hockey players include the “T drill” and the “Z drill”.
You will also want to incorporate “quick feet” drills to improve on your foot speed on the ice. A quick feet ladder is ideal for this, but if you don’t want to invest in one you have other options. You can use tape for doing drills indoors or use a skipping rope if you are on grass. Perform a variety of different quick feet drills at least twice a week to improve your on ice speed.
As you can see, training for hockey is completely different than training for size or looks. Instead of using the workout program in the latest fitness magazine jot down these tips and start training to improve your on ice performance.