Hockey sometimes gets overlooked in comparison to other professional sports like football, basketball and baseball. But what many sports fans don’t know is that hockey players are some of the fittest athletes in the world.
Explosive speed, aerobic power, anaerobic endurance and core strength are foundational elements of a hockey workout. Hockey is also an intense physical contact sport, which puts players at an increased risk of injury. The better conditioned the athlete, the less chance there is of injury.
Hockey players often use plyometric training to build explosive power and improve vertical jumps, speed and strength. Weighted medicine balls can be used to build strength in the arms, shoulders, chest and abs.
Train like your favorite hockey player and try some of these moves during your next workout.
Plyo pushup: Do a pushup, exploding up from the bottom of the pushup position until your hands leave the ground. Cushion your landing with elbows slightly bent and repeat.
Box jumps: Using a box that comes up to about knee height, jump up with your knees tucked, landing softly on the box. Begin the jump from the squat position to “load” for the movement. Step off the box (do not jump down) and repeat.
Two-leg bound: Starting in the squat position, use your arms to propel yourself forward, jumping as far and high as you can. Land back in the squat position to cushion your landing. Repeat for 10 jumps, immediately taking off into the next jump as you land.
Lateral lunge: Start with your feet further than shoulder-width apart, toes pointed straight ahead. Push your hips back and lean to the right into a side lunge, with the left leg straight and the right leg in squat position with the hip, knee and toe aligned. Push back into standing position and repeat on the opposite side.
Overhead slam: Hold a weighted medicine ball over your head and slam it to the ground as hard as you can. Catch the ball and repeat.
Russian twist: Sit on the ground with knees bent and heels on the floor. Lean back to a 45-degree angle. Holding a dumbbell or kettlebell in your hands, twist your core from side to side. Repeat three sets of 15 reps.
Pushup to side plank: Get into the pushup position with your toes on the ground. Perform a pushup and as you come up, shift your weight to the left and twist your body into the side plank position with your right hand in the air. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
40-yard sprint test: Speed on the ice is one of the most important elements of hockey. To improve maximum speed and acceleration, begin from a standstill position, exploding off the starting line into an all out 40-yard skating sprint. This can also be performed on land, with a split time at five and 10 yards.
Ankle band walk: Wrap a resistance band around your ankles and stand on the tips of your toes. Keeping your torso upright, kick out at a 45-degree angle with your right leg. Take a small step and kick at a 45-degree angle on the left leg. Repeat.
It takes years for a professional hockey player to condition his body for the sport, but with these exercises, you can build your explosive power and cardio strength to improve your overall fitness and physique.
Note: Always consult your physician before beginning a new exercise program.