There are a lot of different opinions on what makes a great hockey workout. This is because there are so many different aspects of hockey, that there are few exercises that won’t help your game. However, for the best results on the ice, there are three aspects that it is absolutely critical you focus on when it comes to your off-ice training and workouts.
1) Core strength – the common factor in all sports.
Core strength is the one area of strength that is absolutely common to all sports or at least all the major sports. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, power is channelled through your core. If you swing a baseball bat, kick a soccer ball, throw a football, whatever, your power is channelled through your midsection. This is especially true in hockey. Your core also acts as a stabilizer for your entire body. This is especially important on skates.
2) Power – a defining characteristic of hockey.
Power is required for almost every action a hockey player is required to perform. Shooting requires power, checking requires power, fighting off a check requires power, even passing which is more of a finesse aspect of the game, requires power. Remember though that power and strength are not the same thing. Power is explosive, and needs to be trained as such. Lift fewer reps of more weight, and push through them explosively.
3) Cardiovascular endurance – meet the demands of a long shift.
People who don’t play hockey sometimes wonder what’s so difficult about a sport where you go out for a 45 second shift and then sit down for 2 minutes. Anyone who plays the game knows better. For the time you’re on the ice, hockey requires you to be able to operate at absolute maximum output, and the time you get on the bench to recharge isn’t much. This isn’t the same endurance that a long-distance runner has it, but it is still endurance because you have to be able to do it consistently for 60 minutes with only short rests in between work. Focus on interval training that approximates shift times. Hit the treadmill or bike and do 45 seconds to a minute at high output, close to your max, and then bring it down for 1.5 to 2 minutes.
Hockey is a complex sport, and so is its training. There are a lot of areas that need to be covered to ensure a player is at their peak fitness level for the game, but focusing on these three areas will always bring good results on the ice. For a complete plan though, it is highly recommended that players either consult a trainer or pick up a pre-planned fitness and nutrition system designed for hockey.