You might not be on the ice during the off-season, but that doesn’t mean you can simply sit around. You must dedicate yourself to training so that you are bigger, faster and stronger when the next season starts.
Follow these six guidelines to make this your best hockey off-season yet.
1. Rest and Recover
The first thing on your off-season to-do list is to recover from the rigors of the previous season—especially if your team had a long playoff run. Take a rest from all hockey-related activity for one to three weeks. You may not being doing much during this time, but it will set the stage for high quality workouts when you start your training.
2. Test Key Performance Variables
Before starting training, test your performance to establish a baseline. Focus on the vertical jump test, a five-rep max Bench Press test and the T Test. If you notice that your numbers are down from your previous results, you may need more rest.
3. Get Stronger
The initial focus of your off-season program should be strength training. Increasing strength will allow you to improve other areas of your performance, including speed, agility and even endurance.
Dedicate one day per week to a max-effort upper-body workout, and a second day to a max-effort lower-body workout. Choose compound exercises that work multiple muscle groups, such as the Bench Press, Squat, Deadlift and Pull-Ups. Work up to three-, four-, five- and six-rep maxes.
4. Undo Imbalances With Mobility Drills
Hockey players develop imbalances over the course of a season. Their ankles are always secured in skates, their hips are flexed and they are hunched over when skating. To eliminate these imbalances, perform mobility exercises that focus on the hip flexors, t-spine, quads and ankles.
Also, hockey predominantly uses the muscles on the front side of the body. It’s important to counteract this by training your posterior chain with exercises such as Deadlifts, Rows and Pull-Ups.
5. Build Linear and Lateral Speed
During the season, your practices and games are sufficient for building speed. But in the off-season, you need to get faster by working in the gym.
Perform Weighted Sled Pulls, Pushes and Lateral Pulls. Start with distances of 10 to 15 yards and focus on performing each rep at max speed.
Watch Mike Green perform Sled Pushes.
6. Do Sport-Specific Conditioning
Most of the hockey off-season is about getting bigger, stronger and faster. However, in the last month, you should focus on preparing for the season by getting into game shape. Now is the time to perform interval training that simulates the demands of a hockey shift. For example, sprint at 85 to 90% of your max for about 45 seconds, with two-minute breaks between sprints.
Check out Pro Hockey Training for a hockey-specific training program for the off-season.