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In-Season Training for Hockey: 10-Minute Intervals

By Maria Mountain

The amount of off ice hockey training you will need during the season depends on how much ice time you earned in the off-season.  If you get 20 – 25 minutes per game and your team plays 3 games per week and your coach runs a fairly intense practice 2-3 times per week, then you should be maintaining your fitness pretty well.  On the other hand, if you tend to play lower minutes or maybe your coach spends little more time on skills in practice rather than scrimmage and hard skating, then you need to do some extra work on your stamina if you are going to be the go to player in the third period.

In addition to the number of minutes you play and the intensity of your practice. I can’t tell you how many athletes still say “Well I didn’t do my workout on Sunday because we had a game,” my response, “What time was your game?” “Ten in the morning.” Okay, so by the time the game was over, you had shower, went home and ate lunch, it was probably 1:00 o’clock and so what happened to the rest of the day?  ”Well, I played a game!”  When you dig a little deeper you learn that they played 12-minutes.  Not really a tough outing.  Immediately after a game is almost the ideal time train, because it’s the furthest you will ever be from your next game, which means you are maximizing your recovery time.  I know that when Peter Twist was strength and conditioning coach for the Vancouver Canucks – they did their strength training immediately after a game.

When we think about stamina training for hockey players; think high intensity, short, repeated burst of exercise. I don’t want you going out and jogging for 30 minutes or sitting on a bike plodding along for 60-minutes and think that that’s going to help you be a better hockey player.  You can certainly do a light 10-minute flush ride after the game if you feel it helps your legs. But that’s not stamina training or energy system training for hockey that is active recovery.

 10-Minute Intervals:

#1 – for this workout you can use any piece of equipment you wish; a stationary bike, a skipping rope, an agility ladder, or even just stair stepping.  Here is how it works.

– Perform a nice dynamic warm up including stretches for the quadriceps, hamstrings, hips flexors and torso.
– Perform a 15-20 second full out sprint on the equipment of your choice. I like the agility ladder because it allows you to work your legs in multidirectional patterns when you are fatiguing. If you do choose the agility ladder, select a fairly basic pattern so you can maintain your speed and intensity.
– Recover for 40-45 seconds – I will often do my core bridging holds during the rest interval.
– Repeat this 15-20s on: 40-45s off pattern ten times. That’s it!
– Make sure you are maintaining the intensity and quality of your movement throughout the workout. If you are getting so fatigued that your movements become sloppy, then increase your rest.

#2 – metabolic strength training is a different form of energy system training.  Rather than performing a traditional mode of cardiovascular training such as the bike, running, jumping rope, you will perform strength training movements.

– Find a space where you can see a clock with a second hand or set the countdown timer on your watch.
– Pick three to six exercises and you will to complete those exercises for 20 seconds with 20 seconds of rest in between stations
– During the time that you’re exercising, go as hard as you can, provided that you maintain perfect technique.
o Sample exercises might include: dumbbell squat, push ups with hands on stability ball, chin ups, squat jumps, single leg squat and bungee or pulley squat and row.
– It will only take about 4-minutes to get through that cycle. You will then rest for 1 to 2 minutes and repeat the cycle again. This sounds pretty easy, doesn’t sound like that much work, but your heart will be pumping by the end, you’re muscles will be screaming, it’s actually kind of like the feeling you get when you’re playing short-handed for 4 minutes.
– You can track the number of repetitions you get in the 20 second interval to monitor your progress.

Before I wrap this up, let me be clear that the goal of metabolic strength training is to build stamina or for energy system development, the goal is not building strength.  Part three of this series covered in-season strength training for hockey.  For the technique described above the athlete will select a much lighter weight.  You muscles will be burning by the end of each working set, but you can still maintain perfect form over the 15+ reps.

Push yourself and enjoy the workouts!


Posted in Health, Training
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