Ice hockey seasons are now in full swing and the regular seasons are getting competitive. When the New Year is upon us, the competition will get even more heated and making sure your body is battle ready to handle each opponent with the same intensity is important to not just yourself, but also your team. Not only should your training be intense during the off-season, but training during the season is equally important to give your body the best opportunity to perform at its maximum level and to avoid injury.
This ice hockey training plan will lay out the basics of how you can train to prevent injury during the regular season, keep strength, improve muscular endurance and hone in some skate speed/quickness to beat your opponent in every aspect of the game.
Weight Room Chronicles
When people think about hockey players, the assumption is that it’s just a bunch of guys that aren’t necessarily athletic, but know how to skate and knock people down. If they only knew the hours of bench pressing, squatting and cleaning that goes on in each athlete’s regime! Just like with any other sport, if you’re not putting in the time in the weight room, you simply won’t be successful. Sports today, especially contact sports, require physical strength, speed and power to excel and compete at any level.
Since the goal of any athlete is to become bigger, stronger and faster simultaneously, the lifting will look maybe a little different than the conventional lifts for the average gym goer. For the upper body, the goal is to keep the core strong while becoming more explosive through the chest/shoulders to shoot quicker and faster as well as check opponents and fight them off.
Keeping everything balanced, in this training plan you will work the upper body two times a week – one will be more of a power/strength focused day with heavy compound lifts and throwing in a few accessory lifts to keep the body in line. The other day of upper body work will be more geared towards plyometric and explosive movements to work speed and explosiveness (type 2 muscle fibers). By working the muscle fibers at different times allows the body to rest, recover and grow rather than trying to fit everything in on the same day. Here’s what a sample weeks worth of upper body work will look like:
Monday: Upper Body – Power/Strength
1A. Barbell Bench Press w/Chains- 4 x 5
1B. Dumbbell Y/T/W’s- 4 x 8 each way
2A. Weighted Chin-Ups- 4 x 6
2B. Dumbbell 1-arm Snatch- 4 x 3
3A. Barbell Shoulder Push Press- 4 x 6
3B. Barbell Curls- 4 x 8
3C. Triceps Skullcrushers- 4 x 8
Thursday: Upper Body- Hypertrophy/Plyometric
1A. Banded Bench Press w/ 33% of 1RM- 4 x 3
1B. Banded Face Pulls- 4 x 15
2A. Pendlay Rows- 4 x 6-8
2B. Hang Clean & Press 66% of 1RM- 4 x 6-8
3A. Plyometric Push-Ups- 3 x 10
3B. Jammer Press Rotational Presses- 3 x 8 each side
3C. Strict Pull-ups- 3 x AMRAP
4A. Dumbbell Hammer Curls- 4 x 12-15
4B. Triceps Dips- 4 x 12-15
5A. Battle Rope Slams- 2 x 30 seconds
As you can see the volume varies between the two days and the workouts are spread out enough to fully allow for recovery. This is so you’re fully refreshed for the next session to bring even more intensity. These workouts will be taxing, but should take about the same amount of time to complete given the rest periods will be higher on Monday than on Thursday.
Legs are probably the most important body part to train when it comes to ice hockey because skating for an hour is a given when playing a game. Throw in jumping, cutting and starting/stopping, and it becomes obvious your legs need to be able to handle a heavy load. Both heavy compound movements like squats and lunges will help to build a great foundation of overall lower body strength and then throwing in complimentary lifts like different types of leg hops and jumps will help to grow different muscle fibers contributing to faster skate speed, leg drive and quickness on the ice. Legs will also be hit twice a week on this plan and be split up pretty similar to the upper body and some ab core work will be thrown in on these days as well.
Tuesday: Lower Body- Power/Strength
1A. Front Squat w/Chains- 4 x 6
1B. Single Leg Dumbbell RDL’s- 4 x 5 each leg
2A. DB Walking Lunges- 4 x 8 each leg
2B. Leg Press- 4 x 10
3A. Kettle bell Bulgarian Split Squats- 3 x 8 each leg
3B. Barbell Hip Thrusts- 3 x 5
3C. Standing Calf Raises- 3 x 15-20
4A. Rope Crunches- 4 x 25
4B. Front/Side Planks- 4 x 25 seconds each way
Friday: Lower Body- Dynamic/Plyometric
1A. Hockey Side Lunges w/ 33% of 1RM – 4 x 5 each leg (bring leg back to 45 degree angle rather than directly behind front foot)
1B. Box Jumps- 4 x 3
2A. Banded Deadlifts w/ 50% of 1RM- 4 x 8
2B. Skate Jumps- 4 x 8 each leg (do 2 sets for height and 2 for distance)
2C. Cone Hops- 4 x 5 (2 for height and 2 for quickness)
3A. Furniture Sliders- Forward Lunges
3B. Furniture Sliders- Side Lunges
3C. Furniture Sliders- Pistol Squats
4A. Decline Sit-ups- 4 x 15
4B. Mountain Climbers- 4 x 30 seconds
Speed & Agility that Translates to the Ice
Cardio isn’t exactly going to be any athlete’s favorite word, but getting faster and being able to jump higher is something that perks up everyone’s ears. Hitting some conditioning a few days a week when off from the gym will help build big time speed, crazy lateral quickness and cutting ability that’s unmatched. Although these are technically “rest days” from the weights, this should not be taken lightly and requires the same attention and focus of any other day of lifting.
Wednesday: HIIT Conditioning
☐ 3 x 100 yd.
☐ 3 x 200 yd.
☐ 3 x 300 yd.
2A. Shuffle Sprints
☐ Shuffle 10 yd. – Sprint 50 yards x 3
☐ Shuffle 15 yd. – Sprint 50 yards x 3
☐ Shuffle 20 yd. – Sprint 50 yards x 3
3A. Box Jumps- 3 x 10
3B. Lunge Jumps- 3 x 10 each leg
Saturday: HIIT Conditioning/Cardio
1A. Bear Crawls- 4 x 25 yd.
1B. High Skips- 4 x 15 yd.
1C. Cycle Jumps- 4 x 6 each leg
2A. Footwork T Drill- 3 x 30 sec each way
2B. Speed Ladder Drills- 3 x 60 sec
3A. 30 minutes on stair climber
Take Home Message
Training for ice hockey takes a detailed plan, eating right and supplementing to help you see results quicker and safer. Whether you’re in mid-season swing or just days before your first game, ensuring your body is well on its way to building (and retaining) new found muscle and strength is key to get you through a long, grueling season in which you will take a beating!