Most hockey players have finished up their seasons or will in the next couple weeks. It has been a long year for most of these athletes since they typically start in the late summer on the ice.
Athletes that want to be successful must get a head start on their off season training. Being proactive in this approach will always be more important than reactive. Deciding to train early prevents the “oh crap I haven’t done anything all summer” attitude.
It does not make sense to jump right into the wrong exercises at the beginning of the offseason. The first few weeks are designed to reverse the effects of a long season.
Hockey players typically lose mobility and posterior chain strength. They will also display overuse in the low back and quads. Addressing these areas would be important in the off season. We might as well get an early jump.
Conditioning is also an important idea to manage. Hockey players do not need short, high intensity intervals in May. That is the absolute wrong time of the year for that kind of training. A more appropriate time of year for that type of training would be in July.
We should start the offseason developing an aerobic base by either lifting weights in a long circuit or performing some kind of cardio a couple times a week. Building this endurance early on will allow other fitness qualities to build on top of it.
Let’s just say that the offseason begins on April 1st, since this is when most seasons are over or are finishing up.
The first two weeks postseason should be a time for the athlete to do anything but play hockey. Playing recreational games with friends is helpful here.
The next four weeks should be dedicated to strength work, focused on building up the hamstrings, groins, and other non-dominant musculature. Energy system work should be minimal during this time and aerobic in nature. Speed training should focus on deceleration training at a low level.
The mid June to mid July should focus on continuing to develop balanced strength and beginning to introduce some more running. Using resisted means of running is a good idea here because the impact will be lower, requiring less stress on the lower half. Energy system development can ramp up a little.
Mid July- September is the time where training takes a focus from the strength end of things towards the power end. Sprint training and more change of direction work is needed during this time. Energy system training should be moving more towards the specific demands of hockey while maintaining the aerobic base.
|Time||Weight Room||Speed||Energy System||Notes|
|April to Mid April||Minimal||None||Minimal, aerobic||Play games, have fun|
|Mid April to Mid May||Strength focus||Light deceleration and agility||Aerobic||30 minutes on bike|
|Mid May to Mid June||Strength focus||Resisted running||Aerobic, some intervals||Bike sprints|
|Mid June to Mid July||Strength focus, power intro||Resisted running, free agility and decel||Move more towards intervals||Bike sprints, Slideboard intervals|
|Mid July to Mid September||Shift to Power Focus w/ strength maintenance||Sprint and agility training||Specific ESD for hockey, maintain aerobic base||Sprints, slideboard, bike work|
|September to End of March||Strength maintenance||On Ice practice||Maintain aerobic, on ice work||20 minute rides.|
As we get closer to the season we shift towards a focus on power development and specific means for hockey. Too often athletes will want to train this way early on and it is too far away from the season to develop those qualities.
It will also cause an unnecessary stress on the body.
The keys to the hockey offseason:
- Do not smash the body in May
- Develop strength in the areas that need it most
- Get started early to build strength, mobility, and endurance
- Do not leave training until July, your opponents have already started