It is common for ice-hockey players to work in the gym during the summer season, but when the playoffs begin, few focus on strength training. Off-ice training is crucial for players because it offers many benefits. Without it, a player can:
• Lose strength, i.e., weaker
• Lose power, i.e., slower
• Fatigue earlier
The three factors combine to lower performance. Moreover, it maintains lean muscle mass, which is crucial for preventing injury. Keep in mind small, and weak players tend to injure faster in contact situations. With this in mind, here are two tips for maintaining strength.
• Lift heavy and challenging weights during season time. One set should have 3 to 8 repetitions. The moves to aim are:
o basic barbell
o bodyweight movements.
Do not be content with the gain made during the off-season. For pro athletes, who don’t have the luxury to spend time in the gym during play season, it is understandable. For others, if the schedule allows it, train harder during season time.
• Aim to complete all your exercises within 45 to 60 minutes. This will not only shorten the time spent in the gym but also maximise the progress. Take a couple of minutes of rest between sets that tax the body heavily, such as:
o Front Squats
o Trap Bar Deadlifts
o Weighted Chin-Ups
o Bench Presses
For other sets that require assistance work, the break can be very short, and speed increased. Some examples are:
o Glute Ham Raises
o Inverted Rows
o Back Extensions
o abdominal exercises
These quick and intense workouts stimulate the body to gain muscular strength and not rely on recovery deficit.
The importance of off-ice training once the season begins can’t be emphasised enough. Every player should do it!