When setting up your on- and off-ice training regimen, strengthening your calves probably isn't the first thing you think about. But if you want to glide by the competition this season, you'd better build them up during your weekly workouts.
According to Cal Dietz, the University of Minnesota's head Olympic strength and conditioning coach, consistently working your calves helps prevent injury and improves power output on the ice. "In hockey it's so important that [players'] calves are strong, because they do get up on their blades a little bit to skate," Dietz says. "If they have weak flexion, they'll actually lose some power output."
To strengthen his Golden Gophers' calf muscles, Dietz prescribes Standing Calf Raises, which his athletes perform five days a week during the off-season.
Standing Calf Raise
• Assume position on Standing Calf Raise machine
• With feet close together, rise onto toes
• Slowly lower to start position
• Repeat for specified reps
Sets/Reps/Rest: 3-4/10-15/60-90 seconds
Dietz's Keys: Make sure to go through a full range of motion // Perform movement in slow, controlled motion // Maintain a slight bend in knee and hips // Keep head up and back straight throughout movement
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