With the off-season in full force for some players, training can sometimes become relatively non-existent as well. The fact is, though, that you should be using the off-season to keep your body in shape. A good off-season workout routine prepares you for the upcoming season. Whether you have weeks or months between seasons, you really need to take this time to hone your skills and work on perfecting your moves.
Hockey, by nature, is a rigorous sport that requires agility and stamina since the average hockey player will be on the ice a full 15-20 minutes during a 60-minute game. But simply playing during the season is not enough. Your off-season workout should incorporate cardiovascular training as well as strength and flexibility exercises to help with your endurance during the hockey year. A somewhat short 1 hour game will incorporate short, intense sessions of high-speed skating and aggressive body to body contact that cannot be mastered without continuous training.
Physically demanding sports, like hockey, can lead to serious injury if you are not in proper shape. Cardiovascular fitness during and after the season will help a player meet these stringent demands and will aid in the healing process in the case of injury. To establish good cardiovascular health, start with a 4 day a week workout regimen that concentrates specifically on the lower body for 2 days and the upper body for 1 day. Be sure to focus on strong aerobic exercises that really get your heart rate up. Exercise bikes or treadmills are great when used for at least 20 minutes at a time. Sprints will get your heart rate up to optimal levels while running for distance will increase your endurance.
Strength and Flexibility Training
A well-rounded workout routine also involves strength and flexibility exercises that will help prevent injury on the ice. Flexibility exercises stretch tight muscles and improve joints’ range of motion. Adults can start weight lifting 3 to 4 times a week, but children should only use their own body weight for their strength training (push ups, pull ups, etc). Be sure to take a day off between workouts for muscle recovery and rest.
Other strength and flexibility exercises: squats, jump rope, sprints, stair climbing, fast push-ups and power crunches.
Training for endurance involves intensity and duration, much like that of a long distance runner. Endurance training is about training your body to endure long periods of intense exercise or other physical activity. It is also about training your muscles to continue working even after strenuous exercise. Endurance is key to your success in hockey. The quick bursts of action can quickly tire you out if you have not reached ideal endurance levels. There are three forms of endurance training: aerobic endurance, anaerobic endurance and speed endurance.