Part of the enjoyment of hockey is being able to play with intensity at a fast pace. Time for hockey fitness training should be included into your weekly routine both during and off season. Your fitness commitment will of course depend on your level of play and your own desire. You can choose to work out twice a day or two to three times a week.
Following are five tips to hockey fitness training:
1. All of the essential skills in hockey require strong legs. Skating, shooting, passing, explosive starts and crunching checks all start with powerful legs. To increase your leg strength stand to the right of a 12″ square box and jump over it sideways and then jump back from the left side. Do 4 sets (eight jumps) in succession as fast as you can. Work your way up to 10 sets (20 jumps) alternating between side jumps and front and back jumps.
2. To prepare yourself for 45 seconds to over a minute of flat out action you need to build endurance. Start at the goal line and race to the near blue line and back again. Turn and race to the red line and back again, then to the far blue line and back and finally the full length of the ice to the opposite goal line. Rest for 2 minutes and then repeat. This whole drill is performed at top speed.
3. As part of your fitness routine it is important to build your strength. Including some weight training will help you get stronger and enable you to win those battles for the puck. More weight and fewer repetitions builds strength while more repetitions with less weight will improve endurance.
4.High intensity interval training (HIIT) is great for hockey. This can be done ice skating, in-line skating, running or biking. Begin with a 5 minute warm-up then do 6 sets of 40 second sprints with a 120 second rest.
5. To increase your core strength and balance, incorporate training with a medicine ball once or twice a week into your routine. Choose a ball that is not too heavy but still gives resistance. Stand with your legs shoulder wide and hold the ball in front of your belly. With both hands pull the ball over your head then throw it directly to the floor in front of you. Bend forward to catch it on the bounce. Repeat 8 – 10 times. Do six sets.
All of these training techniques can be alternated on different days. You can choose some for on-ice training and some for off-ice. There are no hard and fast rules except to keep it fun and enjoyable. The best weapon to playing at your best is your hockey fitness training.