Off-Season Hockey Strength Program: Phase 3
Note: I wrote this article back in 2015.
While I still use many of the same methods and principles explained below with my hockey players, the workout plan feels outdated to me.
I'm always tweaking and testing my strength program to give better results to athletes. That's why workouts from a few years back won't be as effective as what I'm doing today.
Access my latest, updated off-ice training programs here:
It has been an exciting summer to say the least.
Between designing training programs for and coaching hockey players in the gym, I had my first article published on STACK – a US website providing training and nutrition information to high school, collegiate and pro athletes. If you haven’t already, check it out here:
Right now we’re already in pre-season mode with practice games filling up our schedule and the start of the regular season is only a few weeks away.
I wanted to post this article a while back when we finished the third phase of our off-season hockey training program, but things got a bit hectic and it got delayed. But I’ve got some good content coming up in the near future, which will more than make up for it.
Here are some summer training highlights, courtesy of our U17 team:
And here’s the training program we followed in Phase 3…
I was surprised to find out that it’s customary for hockey players in Finland to take 4-6 weeks off from scheduled training when they train on their own during the summer. Having spent last summer in the US learning how the pros go about off-season training, this struck me as archaic and didn’t sit well with me.
Knowing that teenagers being in charge of designing their own strength training program would effectively halt any forward momentum we had built in our off-ice training thus far, I offered to conduct training sessions for those players who were not traveling out of town over the summer holidays.
Fortunately, the players welcomed this idea and we had a good number of guys sign up for voluntary workouts, while those who were not around for the summer did the program I had designed on their own.
Another deviation from the norm concerned our training environment. The county gym we previously used was closed over the summer, so we trained at a different facility that also featured an upgrade in available equipment – we finally had the chance to incorporate some sled work into our sessions, which is invaluable for building the hip musculature and overall conditioning.
We alternated between Day 1 and Day 2 three times per week on a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule, which allowed us to do each workout six times over the course of four weeks.
Every training session began with an explosive Olympic lift variation followed by two prehab exercises before we moved on to our basic strength exercises – squats, chins, block deadlifts and DB bench presses – and finished things up with conditioning work.
I was especially happy to see several of the guys hitting weighted chin-ups on rings with 10-15 kg for sets of five. Considering that when we started three months ago no-one had ever done chins with external load even on a fixed bar, it’s safe to say progress has been made.
The modified strongman day (Day 3) took place each Thursday and instantly became a hit among the guys. There’s something about pushing and dragging a heavy sled that brings out the competitive nature in athletes – everybody wants to claim the title as the dude moving the most weight.
We’re already well into late off-season mode with Phase 4 underway. It will be posted in a few weeks.
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