In this article we’re going to discuss the importance of off-season training, and how to structure your summer training program. With the hockey season wrapping up and summer just around the corner, you need to start planning for the months to come so you can optimize your training to build strength and size, while improving your speed, agility, flexibility, and staying injury free.
The days of athletes playing golf, sitting on the dock at the cottage, and “taking it easy” are long gone. Coaches expect their players to show up to camp in shape, and ready to perform from day one. Not only will you be a better athlete, but coaches will notice the work you put in, which will build their trust from the very start.
DON’T JUST SHOW UP – STAND OUT!
Lets break it down.
Most hockey leagues and teams start at the end of August / early September and tend to finish around late April or May. This means about 8 months of being on the ice anywhere from 4-7 times per week, and 3-4 months for off-season training. As we know, hockey is an “interval sport” meaning the athlete will perform for roughly 30-50 seconds, then come off and rest for 1 – 1.5 minutes. This is basically “High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)”.
Because of the cardiovascular and aerobic demands of the sport – athletes can burn upwards of 500-600 calories per hour, which leads to a slow weight loss over the 8 month season – as well as a loss of muscle mass and strength (which can be minimized through in-season training sessions).
The goals of your off-season program should include:
- Rehabilitate injuries and muscular imbalances developed over the season
- Gain back weight, strength, size
- Increase speed/agility
- Maintain endurance
- Improve individual weaknesses (examples: wrists, hips, upper back, shoulders, hamstrings..etc)
3 phases of training:
- In the first 4 weeks of your program you should be focusing on gaining back any weight lost, gaining strength, and building muscle.
- In weeks 5-8 the focus should shift to include cross-training and athletic movements through the use of kettlebells, medicine balls, sleds, ropes, tires..etc
- The final 4 weeks of your program should prepare you to get back on the ice and ready to perform at 100%. You should enter training camp bigger, stronger, faster, and injury free.
When designing your program schedule – It’s important to understand that our bodies need rest in order to repair, recover, and build tissue. We typically start the off-season program in mid May – which gives our athletes a few weeks to rest after their season finishes where they can work with an athletic therapist on any injuries, and as well to give their body and mind some much needed down time.
From here (lets use May 16th for example) a 12 week program (3 months) would take us until August 13.
Phase 1 – Strength/Power/Size (May 16-June 11)
Phase 2 – Cross-training/Strength (June 13-July 9)
Phase 3 – Endurance/Cross-training (July 11-August 13)
Most teams will start holding pre-season skates and training camps from mid-august till the start of the season in September. By finishing the off-season program in mid august – we allow the athletes to start to focus on hockey skills and movement (on-ice), while enjoying the last few weeks of summer with family and friends. We encourage athletes to continue in the gym once per week during this time.
Regardless of where you train this summer, or who you do it with – your program should be structured, specific, and have your goals/ expectations outlined from the very start.
TORQUE Hockey is going into it’s 4th year and this year we’ve worked with Dr. Pat Graham (former NHL player and chiropractor for the Toronto Blue Jays), to develop our best program yet. We’re including boxing, athlete yoga, on-ice workouts, and hill/track days, as well as a full nutrition and supplement program.
For more information on TORQUE Hockey or to join our program – visit www.torquebarbell.com/hockey, or email Dan Petkovsek – firstname.lastname@example.org. The early bird pricing is still available until May 7th.
If you found this article helpful – please send it to your teammates, friends, and coaches.