Hockey is a game of speed and power, and players are known to be some of the best conditioned athletes around. Wondering what exercises these athlete do to get ready for the season? NEBH Athletic Trainers in the Sports Performance Center explain that an ideal strength and conditioning program for hockey players should combine strength training exercises, flexibility training and cardiovascular conditioning. Here, they recommend three essential exercises for hockey players.
Exercise 1: Strength Training
Side Lunges are excellent exercises that work your glutes, hips, thighs and core-all essential body parts for hockey players.
- Stand with your feet together
- Step directly out to the side about 2-3 feet with your right foot
- Shift your weight on to the right leg as you bend at the hips and lean slightly forward
- Your weight should be centered through your ankle and be on the inside edge of your foot
- Bend your right knee allowing your weight to shift through your heels-think like you are sitting down on a chair
- Your left leg should be straight, or a slight bend to it
- Your spine should be straight, not rounded at the shoulders
- Go only as low as you feel safe and pain free
- To come up, push off of the right foot and use your quadriceps, buttocks, and adductors to return to a standing position
- Repeat 10 times on each leg.
Exercise 2: Flexibility Training
Some of the most common injuries in hockey players are muscle strains in the hip/groin area. To prevent these injuries, it is essential for hockey players to do flexibility exercises that focus on the hip rotators and hip flexors.
Hip Flexors Stretch
- Kneel on your right knee and put your left foot in front of you
- Put your hand on your right hip
- Lean forward and push your right hip forward. You should feel this stretch in the front of your right hip
- Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds, repeat 2 to 4 times and then perform this stretch on the other side
- To stretch the adductor (groin) muscles simply rotate your foot in towards your opposite leg and repeat the hip flexor stretch steps
Exercise 3: Cardiovascular Conditioning
Hockey players should avoid steady, long duration activities such as constant jogging or stationary bike programs. These activities are good for endurance sports, but for hockey, you need anaerobic conditioning that helps to develop your acceleration and speed.
- Set up markers (cones, blocks, a line drawn in pavement, etc.) 25 yards apart
- Sprint from one marker to the other and back. That’s one repetition
- Do 6 repetitions as fast as you can—that’s 300 yards
- Time your result for the entire 6 repetitions
- Rest 5 minutes
- Repeat the drill
- If you do not have room for shuttle runs, you can do interval training on a stationary bike or treadmill
- Start with a 5 minute warmup
- Then begin bouts of 85-100% max effort for 30 -60 seconds
- After the high intensity interval, walk/ jog/ peddle for 3-4 minutes at 40-50 max effort
- Repeat this interval pattern for 5-10 cycles
- End your workout with a 5-7 minute col down
If you have any health concerns, consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise routine.