Practice makes perfect when it comes to improving in the game of hockey. The time you put in completing drills, working on stickhandling, and shooting the puck, all pay dividends during crunch time in an actual game.
But in addition to running drills, the workouts you do are also crucial to your success. The stronger and more fit you are out there, the better you will often play and the more of an edge you will have over your opponents.
Your level of general fitness and how strong and/or flexible you are can play major dividends in how well you perform in any sport, and hockey is no different. But what types of things should you be doing?
Read on to learn some of the best hockey workouts to ensure you can give it your all every time you skate out on the ice.
1. Workouts to Improve Lower Body Strength
Arguably the most important part of your body for the sport of hockey is your lower body. It helps you generate the power to skate quickly, allows you to be mobile and keeps you agile, so you can quickly change directions if need be.
If you want to be a great hockey player, building up the strength in your quads, hips, calves, and hamstrings needs to be a big part of your routine. Among the best workouts to try are deadlifts, farmer’s walk, and sets of weighted Bulgarian split squats.
Another one worth considering is box jumps. While it might not build muscle as well as some of the other mentioned workouts, it is incredible for explosiveness. It drastically improves your first step and helps you maintain agility while still building a solid and strong base.
In addition to building your strength, many of these will be great for helping you skate faster and with better acceleration.
2. Workouts to Improve Conditioning
Your stamina on the ice is without a doubt one of the most underrated aspects of being a good hockey player. Being fast is no use if you gas out after a few seconds, so you need to be well-conditioned to ensure you can play the entire game at your full potential.
Having great endurance means you can keep going when your opponents are getting tired and wearing out. Any kind of cardiovascular activity that gets your heart pumping can be a good way to build up better conditioning.
You can go for a ride on a bike, go for a swim, or even run. If you do run, be sure to mix in both sprinting and longer more endurance-focused runs. Your cardio and conditioning won’t improve overnight, but the results can certainly be quick if you remain committed.
If you don’t like running, biking, or other common cardio workouts, you can consider using something like a rowing machine. They allow for not only a good cardio workout, but can also give your entire body some exercise.
3. Workouts to Improve Balance and Stability
Because hockey is played on skates on a slippery sheet of ice, being able to maintain your balance and remain stable is very important. If your balance is poor, you will have a hard time staying up and won’t be very effective on the offensive or defensive side of the puck.
You will have to deal with contact and even imperfect ice in some situations, so you want to ensure you are stable. One of the best workouts to improve your balance is to use a balance trainer. This is a platform with a wheel or ball under it.
Your goal will be to stand steady on the platform for as long as possible, to maintain your balance. Once this becomes too easy for you, you can try to squat while on the platform, or even try to catch medicine balls to make it harder.
If that isn’t your style, you can do several other exercises like balancing on one leg, doing one-legged squats, and even doing traditional weight-lifting like presses or curls, while standing on one leg.
4. Workouts to Improve Upper Body and Back Strength
While lower body strength is likely more important, you want to keep your upper body strength such as arms, shoulders, core and back in mind, as well. This helps with everything from getting more power in your shots, to be a more physical player and better injury prevention.
For your arms, the right workout depends on what you want to work. You can do tricep extensions, bicep curls, hammer curls, dips, and plenty of others. Working your chest can be done through dumbbell flyes, bench presses, incline/decline dumbbell presses, and push-ups.
If you want to work on your back and core, exercises like pull-ups or chin-ups are a good idea. They engage a ton of different muscle groups and don’t take a lot of time or equipment to do. You may only be able to do a few, but over time you will build up the strength to handle more.
In addition to your strength, you also want to improve your grip. The stronger your grip is, the harder you can rip your shots and the better control you will have over your stick. Pull-ups and chin-ups are also great for your grip as well, thankfully.
Any of these workouts are sure to improve your play on the ice. Of course, these are far from the only workouts that can improve your hockey skills, so be sure to let me know some of the others you feel are a good idea to add to a workout routine.About Kale