At-Home Hockey Training
Hockey is in a tough spot right now. The COVID-19 epidemic has forced a lot of hockey leagues to shut down and there’s no real indication on when they’ll reopen. Some are open, but with heavy restrictions on the number of players allowed in the facility and certain procedures in place to help prevent the spread of the virus.
Eventually, though, you will get back to the rink. And if you want to make it through your first shift or open skate, you’ll need some hockey home exercises to keep your legs and lungs — and everything else — in shape while the world is on lockdown.
Fortunately, hockey at home — or at least home hockey training — isn’t tough to pull off. You can do a lot to tune your body for the rigors of the game with several simple hockey home workouts.
Throw Your Weight Around
Bodyweight training — literally using nothing more than the weight of your body — is great for anyone who can’t get to the gym. Picking wisely from exercise options in this category when undertaking off-ice hockey training can do great things for a player’s speed and overall conditioning.
A couple of “basic” exercises come with plenty of variations that can be mixed and matched, circuit-training style.
Squats: Hockey training has to hit a lot of legs. Squats can work your glutes, hamstrings and quads, along with your core and lower back. Split squats (with one leg forward and the other back) have the added benefit of opening your hips. Prisoner squats (fingers laced behind your head, elbows out) keep your weight from going too far forward while opening your shoulders. Pistol squats (moving to a crouch on one leg while keeping your arms and the other leg stretched forward) engage stabilizing muscles and improve your balance.
Pushups: Diamond pushups hit your triceps harder. Wide pushups better engage the shoulders. Plyo pushups (clapping in the middle) improve power and explosiveness. One-legged pushups blast your core. Spider-Man pushups (alternating bringing your knees to your elbows on an outside arc) are good for the core and hip mobility.
There are other moves you may remember from grammar school gym class: burpees, walking lunges, planks, mountain climbers, V-ups, bicycle crunches. They all have value, as do core-killers such as bird dogs (on hands and knees, extend one arm forward and the opposite leg back, pausing at the top, return and switch) and Supermans (lie on your stomach as if “flying,” your arms and legs an inch or two off the ground, hold for a second, repeat 20 or so times).
Putting It Together
A simple circuit workout can hit all your hockey muscles in 15 minutes. After a warmup (for example, 30 jumping jacks and a “knee hug” walk for 20 steps), pair six or seven exercises, 10 to 15 reps each. Go three rounds, resting for 90 seconds between each round. Here’s a circuit to get you started:
Don’t Be Afraid to Blade
Some coaches scare players away from rollerblades because “it’ll screw up your skating.”
While it’s true there are differences, and there will be some acclimation required when you get back on ice, there are benefits to blading. Firing a street hockey ball or puck around an empty tennis court can keep the rust off your shooting mechanics and setup; ’blading on bike paths can allow you to work on creating a longer, more powerful stride and improve your conditioning.
And, blades will get you outside. These days, that might be the best benefit of all.
Above all, remember to keep moving and pay attention to what you’re eating. When you finally can get back with your team, you’re going to want to go hard. If you’re body isn’t ready to take you where your mind wants to go, you’ll end up right where you are now — benched.