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5 In Season Off Ice Training Tips To Stay Healthy and Strong

by Scott Ward

off ice training tipsYou’ve worked extremely hard all summer long, watched what you ate, missed that major party that ended up being epic, and got up at the crack of dawn to get your work out in before your morning shift at Rona.Job well done, you’ve reaped the unbelievable benefits that an off season conditioning program  has to offer, and you nailed it.

You were able to transform yourself into a lean mean hockey machine.

Now summer’s over and hockey season’s about to start.  What?  You think your training is done, now you can say good bye to the gym until next summer?

Wrong!!

Don’t let all those hard earned gains go to waste by not continuing with a training program.  If you do, before Halloween hits you will have began losing strength and conditioning. By mid season you might actually be back to where you started last spring.

Don’t let this be you.

Utilize these 5 off ice training tips to help feel as strong and powerful heading into playoffs as you did at training camp.

Lets start by looking at the actual goal of in season off ice training.  There are misconceptions by many coaches that believe there is no need for in season training  because the players are getting enough work on the ice.

Yes, players are getting worked on the ice however, not all areas of conditioning are being utilized.

The main goals of an in season off ice training program should be to:

A) Maintain/improve the physical qualities developed in the off season eg. speed, strength, and power.

B) Reduce the risk of postural/overuse injuries.

C) Aid in the recovery process.

The idea that all the physical qualities a hockey player needs to excel are being met with on ice practices leads us into the first tip.

1. You work on your energy systems, shooting, passing, agility, etc. however, what the usual hockey practice is missing is strength and explosive power. Continually working on strength and power in season is what will help you maintain your on ice speed though out the season.

2. To keep you healthy and on the ice all season and avoid over use injuries, you must think of performing movements that are the opposite of what takes place on the ice. Work on hip mobility and soft tissue quality (adductors, glutes, hip flexors). These areas take a lot of abuse during a season.

3. Go easy on the energy system training off the ice. Most coaches will include plenty of on ice conditioning. Doubling up is a sure fire way to over train and get yourself injured.

4. Make sure you are performing low volume (not too many exercises, sets, and reps) high intensity training. An example might be 2 workouts a week 45 to 60 minutes in length. Consisting of foam rolling, dynamic warm up, resistance training (power, strength) 2-3 sets of 4-6 reps (high intensity), ending with some static stretching (think anti-hockey movements). Get in, get out creating minimal fatigue.

5. Lastly, emphasize recovery. It’s a long season with games, practices, tournaments, school, workouts etc. to be able to perform at your best you must be getting adequate rest. If you have an important game of Friday night maybe Thursday’s workout should be less aggressive.  Concentrating more on stretching and soft tissue work rather then strength and power will assure you have enough in the tank.  If you just finished a 5 game weekend tournament and are due to workout the next day this maybe the perfect time to skip the training and just get some sleep, real food, and plenty of water and recuperate.  You get the picture, you just need to use common sense and read your body.

So there you have it, a few insights on the importance of an in season training program. This will hopefully translate into a successful injury free season and lead you into playoffs fully charged and championship hungry.

 

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