Maintaining your conditioning level throughout the long hockey season is crucial. All the time, I see athletes work hard to build their strength, speed, agility and conditioning in the off-season, but neglect them as the season goes on. This increases your chance of injury and significantly decreases your skill level.
During the season, I do conditioning work off the ice, because if you’re on the ice, you should be working on technical skills. Also, you don’t need to be doing tons of heavy endurance stuff, because you’ve built your base during the offseason, which your games help maintain.
One way we condition during the season is with a high intensity bike circuit. The circuit, which we perform once a week, consists of 15 seconds on, 15 seconds off; 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off; 45 seconds on, 45 seconds off. After resting from the 45-second rep, work your way back down, beginning with another 45 second rep. You need to pedal as fast as you can to get the most from the circuit.
Biking is a great conditioning activity because it’s high intensity with low impact. You also have to apply force to the pedals, which is like applying force to the ice with skates. It’s important that you make that movement, instead of a treadmill making the movement for you.
Crashley is the president and director of athletic development for Crash Conditioning [Calgary, Alberta]; hockey Clients include NHL players Mike Green, Duncan Keith and Thomas Hickey.