When it comes to demanding sports and training-conditioned athletes, most people think of the NFL, UFC, or NASL. However, all of those sports take a backseat to the NHL as the most-conditioned athletes in the sporting world. The game of hockey requires agility and speed and requires firm control over parts of the body that most people don’t even think to train.
Hockey workouts are filled with intense, tight intervals interrupted by resting and recovery. Training requires a balance between working and resting as the game itself involves a lot of explosive plays and resting on the bench. Don’t be fooled by the smaller training sessions; explosive training methods will increase power and offer an effective cardio workout. Take the routine to the next level by combining explosive intervals with traditional exercises to stimulate muscle fibers in various ways. However, it is imperative that the form is prioritized.
Due to the size of hockey rings, athletes in the game never reach full acceleration; this means training has a lot of focus on the athlete’s first-step quickness. Quickness training exercises include short five- to ten-yard sprints, running shuttles, and suicides. Athletes should incorporate as many diagonal movements as possible, as players push off skates in a diagonal motion rather than pushing straight back like a runner.
Hockey players should also focus on core strength and movement. Not only does this invigorate athlete strength, but it also provides base stability to generate torque, create power, and release velocity. For example, when a player performs a slap shot, they need enough movement in their core to hit the puck with torque, power, and velocity.
Situps and crunches are always the first start for athletes training for strong abs and core; however, for hockey players, traditional methods might not be the best option. Hockey athletes should focus on standing core exercises that help loosen hip flexors and increase acceleration at take off, such as standing twists and overhead squats.
Different sports require different training and exercises; therefore, athletes looking to play hockey should train like a hockey player with exercises focused on speed, agility, and core strength.