What do most hockey players do when they injure their wrist, leg, or shoulder?
Ride the stationary bike for six to eight weeks before they're cleared to return on the ice.
Or mindlessly bang away on the leg press and leg extension machines.
Even when you hurt an arm or leg, you still have got three healthy, functioning limbs left. And if you stop training them, you'll not only lose strength and muscle in the injured limb, but all over the rest of your body as well.
Then people wonder why it takes them forever to get back into shape after a layoff.
I once trained a college hockey player who injured his shoulder during the playoffs and had to have surgery.
For the first eight weeks of off-season training, he couldn't hold anything resembling a heavy weight with his injured arm. Barbell work - including squatting and deadlifting - was out of the picture. As was the case with dumbbell lifts (apart from any light rehab exercises) on the damaged side.
I had to get creative and find ways to load him to achieve a proper training effect. So we would do a ton of unilateral movements.
Single-leg squat variations with different tempos holding a heavy dumbbell in his healthy hand, using weight vests for additional resistance. Single-leg Romanians. Heavy single-arm upper body pushing and pulling on his healthy side. Challenging core exercises.
So what happened?
The athlete added 45 pounds to his front squat max that summer. Without barbell squatting at all.
Hit a 450-pound trap bar deadlift for the first time in his life.
PR'd at power cleans.
And left for pre-season camp in the strongest physical shape of his young career.
All because this player refused to buy into the silly dogma that you can't train hard coming back from surgery.
Taking time off from strength training while injured is the dumbest thing you can do. Yet that's what 99% of hockey players do.
If you want greater success as an athlete...
Don't be one of them.
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